Solve climate change: eat less meat
by David Masters
September 9, 2008
A leading United Nations scientist has suggested a new solution to climate change – eating less meat.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the world’s population must cut back on eating red meat and move towards vegetarianism.
Pachauri suggests that people begin by giving up meat for at least one day per week and then decrease consumption from there.
There are a number of reasons behind Pachauri’s proposals. Flatulence is a key problem – methane, emitted when cows fart, is over 20 times more potent that carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.
More crucially, meat production is associated with every key issue affecting the environment today.
Global warming, habitat destruction, deforestation, air and water pollution, carbon emissions during animal rearing and transportation, loss of biodiversity, social injustice, and water scarcity can all be attributed to the excessive consumption of meat in the western world.
Environmental campaign group, the Worldwatch Institute, recently warned that meat eating contributes to nearly every major category of environmental damage which threatens the future of humanity.
The proposals were met with some resistance.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, told the Daily Telegraph he is so irritated by being told to become a vegetarian that he is almost tempted to eat more meat.
Meanwhile, meat farmers said they felt unfairly targeted and that Pachauri hasn’t properly understood the processes involved in meat production.
Chris Lamb from pig industry group BPEX told the Observer newspaper that climate change is a complex problem that can’t be solved by such simplistic solutions.
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