A Global Warming Report from Down Under
Diet and the Atmosphere by Bruce Poon, Melbourne, Australia
Download the Full Report (.pdf)
The world is now full of advice about how to cut your greenhouse emissions. Most of it is grossly misleading.
Re-examining the data published by the Australian Greenhouse Office and CSIRO, it can be seen that energy generation contributes a large amount to our emissions. But what do we do with that Energy? If you take a deeper look at the uses of that energy, it emerges that over 30% of our emissions are caused by animal industries!
Without any other expensive changes to our infrastructure, by the simple expedient of becoming vegetarian, we could reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. What is more, with the land freed up being returned to native forest, we could extract carbon from the atmosphere equal to the other 70%!
That is a 100% reduction with no financial cost.
Even more importantly, recent evidence is that it is Methane, not Carbon, that is responsible for a lot of the warming currently happening. And Methane is up to 63 times more damaging than CO2 over a 20 year period, by which time Methane will be dispersed.
Australia's cattle and sheep produce about 3 megatonnes of methane per annum. 3 megatonnes times 62 is 186. Hence the 3 megatonnes of methane is equivalent to 186 megatonnes of carbon dioxide which shows that our cattle and sheep will have a bigger impact on climate during the next 20 years than all our coal fired power stations which together produce only about 180 megatonnes of carbon dioxide.
None of which means we don't have to worry about CO2, we must reduce CO2 emissions, but while this is happening we must reduce methane to stabilise temperature while we wait for the effects of any reductions to kick in.
Changing diet is easy and can be done by a person every day, unlike major changes such as buying a new efficient car or better electrical appliances.
The bottom line is that there is a simple and financially affordable mechanism for Australia to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 100%. While global climate change is an impending environmental catastrophe, its worst effects could be reduced or stopped by a simple change in diet.
For an individual that wishes to minimise their greenhouse gas footprint, and prevent global climate change, the most important, urgent and first step should be to reduce their consumption of animal products, preferably adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.