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back to article 'Go veggie to save the planet' UN, EU plans debunked

Yet more United Nations analysis of the measures necessary to combat climate change has come under fire from scientists. This time, rather than the (in)famous 2007 assessment report from the UN's International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the criticism is levelled at a 2006 report called Livestock's Long Shadow issued by the …

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Paris Hilton

save ourselves by saving the planet, yes, but....

all these claims and counter claims, accusations, and finger pointing are making people give up. yes we all want to help and do our bit, but one side "massages" their numbers a bit to put them in a positive light, the other side cry "foul" and then counter claim, then the counter counter claim... etc...

what is real? what is not? the public on the whole just want to be told what to do in plain and simple terms.

hence why recycling works. it's simple. plastic in this box, paper in this box, glass in this box, garden waste in this box, kitchen waste in this last one for the foxes/badgers/cats to knock over and spread up the road overnight. the fact it all goes into the same furnace as "bio fuel" is neither here nor there...

anyway, this bullcrap has got to stop for anything environmentally friendly to actually happen on the scale it needs to.

effing 'tards. if he wants to reduce his carbon footprint, why doesn't he just kill himself?

Paris, Cos "Duh!"

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Happy

@Ralph5

When you said "assuage our guilt" did you mean "sausage our guilt" ? Easy mistaka to maka.

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Morons

I love how El Reg dismisses the work and consensus opinion of thousands of climate scientists, yet one dingleberry from UC Davis writes a report and it is taken as proof that scientists (except this one) are corrupt and trying to hoodwink the world.

You should apply the same skepticism to Mitloehner's work. UC Davis is best known as a Vet Med school. Is there any chance that Mitloehner is getting money from the beef-growing overlords? Or perhaps is just so steeped in cattle rearing (hey, I don't mean it the dirty way) that he is defensive about any accusation that his life's work is causing harm to the planet?

As others have said, it makes NO sense to say that the world's hungry are better served by taking 10 kg of grain and turning it into 1 kg of beef.

Second, dunderheads, the greenhouse problem isn't just the CO2 chain (growing the grain, the massive deforestation in south america), but CH4 (methane) -- it has 8x the greenhouse effect compared to CO2 by volume, and even more by weight.

Me, I'm a chickoterian (TM) -- I eat grains, vegetables and chicken, not much else.

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Joke

Soylent Green mmmmmmmmmmm

Cannot we kill two birds with one stone here. Too many veggies not enough beefsteaks. I suggest we militant carnivores just eat all the veggies. They can be properly marketed and packaged as Soylent this n that. Kentucky Fried Soylent. etc.

At the very least if it doesn't save the planet it will at least make the place a lot quieter and happier.

As my mum said...Eat all your Veggies!

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Anonymous Coward

As a veggie

I can safely say that my lifestyle choice is no better for the environment than eating meat since I consume dairy and for the most part wear leather shoes.

As for Paul McCartney he has no right to force his views on others since he owns a larger property than most, thereby increasing carbon consumption. Plus the food his dead wife peddled tastes terrible and is known for causing the squits.

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Go

Easy solution:

Eat vegetarians. That's what us carnivores do.

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WTF?

Wait, what?

"A better plan, he argues, would be to encourage more efficient animal farming techniques as developed in the rich world."

So, what, the Reg is championing battery farming to save the planet from the carbon emissions that aren't really a problem anyway (thanks, Orlowski)?

Just color me confused.

(A better reason not to eat meat, btw, is the extreme pressure livestock farming puts on land and water resources in marginal agricultural areas. Of course, the first thing to do in that direction might be to stop Dubai making fucking artificial islands for stupidly rich people to live on. There's plenty of blame to go around...)

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Coffee/keyboard

Maybe it's humans....

That are the cause of all of this?

And in order to be able to tell if this is the case I propose a simple experiment. If you are convinced absolutely that humans are the sole cause of climate change we need you to do the following test.

Take a measurement of the CO2 levels in your immediate surroundings.

Hold your breath continuously for 15 minutes, no sneaky breathing in the meantime.

Take a second measurement of the CO2 in your immediate surroundings. If the CO2 has significantly dropped then you have a case. If it doesn't, then not.

Just a thought...

Maybe Politicians using the green adgenda to divert people from their own fuck ups could join you in this experiment?

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Specialized Tarmac owner

The production costs of a bicycle itself are roughly _inversely_ proportional to the weight of the bicycle. There, corrected that for you.

Bikes are not green, just greener than a car. Rubber, steel, oil, plastic, leather, drop forging, turning braising. Its just less of everything and the damn things tend to last longer as well being simple machines. The only 100% guaranteed green form of transport is to just go walk barefoot (see? I did not forget about shoes!).

If cars drop from the picture as far as a moderately cheap and convenient form of transport then just watch the bastards in power try to tax and MOT the bikes (including Paris of course, she needs a good going over now and again).

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Joke

Re: Specialised Tarmac Owner

Just FYI, the damge caused to roads by vehicles is propotional to the 4th power of wheel axle loading, i.e if the wheel axle loading ratio for two vehicles is 10:1, the damage ratio is 10,000:1. Just remember that the next time you are stuck behind some lumbering large truck . They are most certainly not paying 10,000 times what you pay to use the road. So not only are you stuck behind them, you are subsisdisiing their costs as well. Happy Motoring!

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J 3
WTF?

Can I have the TRUTH, please?

I eat meat AND dairy everyday, and hate vegetables. But I don't buy this Prof.'s conclusions just because they are convenient to my beloved lifestyle.

Can't we have really unbiased studies, PLEASE, to at least know as best as we can what is actually going on, in a fair way?

It's either the ecowarriors preaching doom and gloom and that, whatever we do, we will undoubtedly destroy the world in a few decades, or the industry-shill, everything-is-well-forever-so-keep-consuming, scientist-are-all-corrupt (unless it's a scientist we like, of course, just see El Reg lately) pundits saying we can go on doing whatever we want regardless, because those hippies can't possibly be right and nothing I do can possibly be bad.

I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between, and in different places for different issues. I just would like to know what the reality is! It does not mean I will turn vegan anyway, but I'm not one of those who need to justify my choices to feel less guilty.

OK, so the UN numbers were "dodgy", for whatever reason. Maybe yes, maybe no. Now, has El Reg bothered to check who finances the Prof.'s work, or collaborates with him, for example? Of course not. And what does his just "three percent" of the GHG figure include in the calculations? Just animal farts? Everything but transportation? What? Without that simple info, that was happily supplied about the 2006 report to "debunk" the UN's numbers, it is hard to have an idea whether the Prof's numbers are not equally flawed. If I have to go read and analyze the original reports to get that balanced comparison, then why would I be wasting time reading "journalism"? I would just go directly to the primary sources every time. And no one has the time to do that for everything.

I didn't dig deep at all, just a quick search because I don't have the time now (I thought this "investigating" thing was something journalists should do, but apparently they only do it when they don't like the target or the conclusions). But Frank Mitloehner’s Facebook page (the publicly visible part, and at least for now) says he's a "fan of" the California Beef Council. Hm... OK, another guy under suspicion. Specially since he advocates sending the "Western-style farming practices", you know, quite likely the ones the CBC recommends, to the poor countries. Does not mean he's wrong, but does not bode well.

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Unhappy

title

"Can't we have really unbiased studies, PLEASE, to at least know as best as we can what is actually going on, in a fair way?"

Empirical evidence, in all politicised debates reported on by the media, suggests not. Sorry.

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Evidence

Can't give you any evidence about meat v veg apart from the observation that us humans appear to have evolved to be capable of being omnivorous and culturally and historically have been observed to have very diverse diets.

I am not even sure I believe in Global Warming.. However...

Now I can give you something more tangible though, and this is food for thought.

Wherever man has gone and set up shop, by and large we have managed to fuck up said place. (besides more native primitive folk and even that can be a subject for debate with those that practice slash and burn type farming).

imho there are probably more humans than there should be on this planet, given our level of wisdom.. which I don't expect to change very much at all.

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Close down farms

Yes farming (that thing they used to do in the countryside) is NOT GREEN. Yep lets all live in cities and get our food flown in from somewhere else because we dont want UK farmers to contribute to climate change.

We can tarmac over the farms and build affordable houses as we want to help the homeless people too. Now wheres my folding bike.

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Thumb Up

Bad taste

Your cow with the flaming flatulence was in extremely bad taste indeed.

Good show, keep it up.

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Joke

Don't eat meat

Eat vegetarians.

It's Sensible. It's sustainable. And with the right cooking it's delicious*

After all they love the ickle wickle cuddly animals. I'm sure many would be happy to make the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs.

*Although I have no personal experience of this.

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Newsnight

I have to report.

About eighteen months ago Newsnight had three environmentalists explaining how environmentally dreadful was meat eating. Paxman listened carefully and very naturally suggested "So we should all become vegetarians". In unison the planetary champions turned on him. No they said, not necessary at all.

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Flame

If God hadn't intended us to eat beef...

If God hadn't intended us to eat beef, He wouldn't have made it so damn yummy.

A few days ago I had a 8.4-oz steak (yes, they measure to the tenth of an oz, probably Troy...) that cost $50. Just for the meat, but it included a free potato side. Nice.

Anyway...

Whispered: "Concrete." This is the ultimate low hanging fruit. Capture the CO2 from the concrete plants. Point sources. Right beside rail tracks. Multiplied ratio, since lime gives off yet more CO2. It's the ultimate "duh!" Take "Concrete Steps for Climate Change".

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i wonder

what would happen to the level of greenhouse gasses emitted by humans if we all went veggie?

has that been factored in?

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FAIL

Hmmm

So basically El Reg digs up a report from a scientist that states on his Facebook page that he's a "fan of" the California Beef Council. Hmmm, yeah, he certainly sounds independent (props to J 3 for that, btw). But we know the normally sensible Reg puts on it's tinfoil hat and screams "CONSPIRACY!!!" when it comes to carbon emissions and climate change, and doesn't mind a bit of tabloid style reporting when it suits this agenda.

So the UN's figures are too low when it comes to emissions from transport, so you say the whole idea that reducing meat production to reduce carbon pollution is "debunked"? Don't think so, because any carbon pollution reduction is better than no carbon pollution reduction. Less meat still = less heat, so getting people in the wealthy west to sensibly reduce, but maybe not give up their consumption of meat is not a bad thing (it's ok for their health, too).

The Daily Express would be proud of this article. I'm hoping for some Diana conspiracy theory stories from The Register soon.

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if we didn't have canines.....

...then we would have a valid reason to not eat meat, this is something the vegetarians/vegans cannot argue against.

Yet we do, canines have ONE purpose, tearing and slashing MEAT.

Now vegetarians (my kid included), get over it. We're omnivores, not herbivores.

Bloody environmentalists....

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If We Don't Have Wings...

...then we have a valid reason not to fly.

If you want to base all your decisions on the shape of your body alone, that is.

As it stands, I don't think the problem is that we eat meat, it's how much meat we're eating.

Meat has gone from being a luxury item to being part of almost every meal we eat, and there's no historical precedent for that which I'm aware of, certainly not for the general population.

The industrialisation of meat production, and consumption, is neither time-honoured nor a natural state of being. It's making us fat, it's a disease risk and it's not 1/10th as energy efficient as plant farming.

Also, our guts, being long and convoluted, and in discernible stages, are closer to cows than wolves. That's why too much meat makes us constipated, for example.

If you're going to commit the natural fallacy, do it for the whole body, not just the teeth.

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...a title is unesscary...

we developed canines by process of evolution because our ancestors ate meat. We did not just appear on earth with a body near perfect for chewing meat.

The issue as far as i see it is not weather or not human's should or should not eat meat - It's that there are simply too many humans on earth for us all to sustain the amount of meat we currently eat. I have been travelling through central and south america for 3 months now and i can tell you that they really are cutting down jungle and forrest by visibly horrifying area's of volume in order to increase cattle grazing.

Once these cattle are ripe they kill them, saw them up, freeze them and ship them to the rich folk so that they can be turned into burgers and contribute to obescity or be thrown away.

The deforrestation that results in an increase of 'meat manufacturing' is significant.

There is also a moral issue in that breeding sentiant life purely for food - ending it's life prematurely is not a particulary nice thing to do.

There are too many humans in this world and not enough room to grow meat for food.

This article is bollock's.

P.s - Unitil i came to Central America i was a die hard meat eater, being poisoned time and time again and shitting and puking at the same time for about a month steered me towards veg based food. Not only am i able to pass solid poo, i feel full of energy, healthy andmy weight has dropped to the average, my beer belly has gone and i look great.

I will still eat meat from time to time as i dont see anything wrong with that, but you dont need to eat meat in every meal, you dont need to eat meat every day, once a week is about right., Like our ancestors did when they used to have to hunt for food - back when the earth was in better shape.

And yes, this guy's facebook 'fan' status does cast the article in an almost laughable light

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007

Bias scientist

How can you consider Frank Mitloehner a neutral study or comparable to a UN report when he receive 5% of 5 Million (250000$) and maybe more from beef producers to do his research?

Even his Facebook page shows he supports (or is supported by) the California Beef Council.

Follow this link to see for yourself. (see last paragraph)

http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9336

http://www.facebook.com/frank.mitloehner

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Coat

A scientist is biased

if his work shows bias.

Mine's the one with the Grammar Nazi insignia on the lapels.

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WTF?

Industrial Farming is the problem

No mention made of the fact that Organic farming actually sequesters carbon - it's the Industrial monocultures and farming processes which make heavy use of fossil fuels throughout that are bad for the environment. Meat and animal products grown organically or near organically provide good healthy nutrition and help the environment.

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Badgers

Balance

Neither extreme makes any sense in this world. Plenty of flat space for crops in England, bugger-all here in Wales, which is why we have lots of sheep (mmmmm!) - any spare bit of hill will do for them. So if we go the whole veggie route we won't be able to grow much here.

Badger, because I think you can go too far with animal farming and we are about to wipe out (sorry cull - just the first step) a load of badgers to see if it helps keep the cattle free from TB.

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Something's not right

He has a point that the UN report should have included transport infrastructure development, but that is small in comparison to direct transport emissions - sure it generates a lot of carbon to build a motorway but that pales into insignificance when you consider the amount of fuel burnt to propel vehicles down that motorway.

But here's the kicker that suggests something's awry in this new analysis:

"The prof says that in the United States, the true picture is that transportation accounts for 26 per cent of greenhouse emissions and cattle and pig farming just three per cent."

Apparently (I can't find the actual paper), it only looks at the US. Well the US isn't tearing down primary jungle to create new farmland for animals. Land use change is the cause of the bulk of livestock production GHG emissions.

This study stinks to high heaven though. Would *love* to know what the background to it is. The bit about spreading western farming technology might give a hint.

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FAIL

Bwahahaaha

Thanks to 007 up there ^ for this gem:

"Writing the synthesis was supported by a $26,000 research grant from the Beef Checkoff Program, which funds research and other activities, including promotion and consumer education, through fees on beef producers in the U.S."

http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9336

"The Beef Checkoff Program increases profit opportunities for producers by keeping beef top-of-mind with consumers and purveyors, and by working to ensure a wholesome, quality beef-eating experience every time. Efforts include:

• Promoting high-quality U.S. beef in foreign countries.

• Working to continue growth in beef demand.

• Funding product-enhancement and beef-safety research programs to address safety and quality issues.

• Investing an average of $4 million annually on beef-safety and product-technology research.

• Delivering beef-enjoyment messages to consumers through a checkoff-funded national radio and print advertising campaign.

• Identifying management practices through Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) to strengthen consumer confidence in beef as a wholesome, safe quality product.

• Introducing new products into the marketplace. From 1996 to 2008, more than 2,500 new beef

products addressing consumer preferences reached the market."

http://www.beefboard.org/producer/CBBFinalUnderstandingBrochure.pdf

Beef-enjoyment messages! Mmmm beefy goodness.

Yeah that UN report has been thoroughly debunked.

The Register sinks to a new low.

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Alien

What's the difference?

Study paid for by group that wants my money... or study paid for by other group that wants my money? At least with the beef people I get something out of it. The others: they're just plain sinister.

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Go

The Only Way To Be Sure...

Is for all the eco-imperialists and their doom-friends in politics to end themselves and their personal carbon cycles. Then the rest of us can live without worry of a global meltdown. The results would be instantaneous, a large portion of the dead-weight in society will be gone, tied up funds would be immediately available for more worthwhile things, and developing countries would be able to develop for a change instead of being slapped around by these enviro-fascists.

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flame thrower bottomed cow pic

Quality.

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Anonymous Coward

Tansport to Slaughter

One of the problems in the UK is that once we had lots of local abatoirs, but knee jerk reactions to the likes of CJD and Foot and Mouth have lead to legislation that has closed down many local abatoirs meaning that livestock and carcases have to be transported much further than once was the case. Likewise similar factors have lead to the closure of many local livestock markets.

Supermarkets are told they should stock local produce and we are told we should by local produce all to reduce food miles. However when it comes to meat livestock from a far a couple of miles from the supermarket may have to go on a 100 mile round trip to be slaugtered. Therefore in terms of food miles it would be more environmentally friendly to eat meat from livestock that was farmed near the abatoir. It would however make much more sense, from an environmental point of view to reopen the smaller local abatoirs and meat markets and reduce the food miles required for meat to get to our plates.

Of course that won't happen because it comes dangerously close to joined up thinking and we're never going to get that from our legislators.

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Can one believe anyone?

If you were to ask most people how big a proportion of the countries Co2 is produced by cars they would probably put the figure at around 20-25% as put about by the various politicians. They are careful not to say 25% of what but are give the impression that it is 25% of total Co2 production. They say when questioned that further breakdown of figures is not available. However, a few years back an independant firm was commissioned to break the figures down. The result was that cars produce a mere 0.5% of Britain's total Co2 production. The report was for the Friends of the Earth, I believe and naturally nothing further from it has been heard.

Again, Co2 figures are taken by NASA on top of an extinct volcano, surrounded by active volcanos, in an increasingly active area (Hawaii). The Co2 trend line, while not fitting ( in spite of the fiddles) the earth temperature trend line does in fact mirror the increase in volcanic activity around Hawaii. Any surprises anyone?

Oh and has anyone noticed that the latest report on atmospheric Co2 shows that it stays in the atmosphere weeks and months, not lots of years as claimed.

Dave.

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Heart

We can believe people who's jobs it is...

... to get the numbers right.

What a load of conspiratorial bollocks.

CO2 inventories are quite easy to calculate. It's very well known how energy flows through the economy because government is fond of taxing it and it's very easy to calculate CO2 emissions from that so no, it's not some massive conspiracy and cars don't generate 0.5% of UK CO2. They actually generate about 16% (all road transport generates 25%).

You can see the energy flow chart here:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filepath=statistics/publications/flow/file46984.pdf&filetype=4

And emissions inventory here:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filepath=statistics/climate_change/1_20100319150508_e_@@_2008inventorydatatables.xls&filetype=4

"volcanos..." Again, no: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/#global_data

"Oh and has anyone noticed that the latest report on atmospheric Co2 shows that it stays in the atmosphere weeks and months, not lots of years as claimed."

No I haven't. Please provide a link.

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Thumb Up

How To Find the Posts I'll Like

Some methane-emitting veggie has been going through all the posts and "thumbs downing" ones that make fun of the veggie lifestyle.

How pathetic is that?

At least I know which posts I'll like. I just scan down the list, and look for the ones with "One Thumb Down."

Place Thumb Down Here --->

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Climate Change Nutters

I want to hear(see) all the research possible, otherwise you are letting the nutters dictate eco policy. Carbon trading is a joke compared investment in renewable energy.

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It's not a matter of cars vs. cows

If you really care about the environment, you should reduce both your consumption of cows and cars. It's something that most people can do both of.

And regarding starving people... it takes pounds of edible grains to create ounces of edible meat. Think about it, if you were starving, wouldn't you prefer pounds of healthy plant protein (such as soybeans) over a few ounces of steak?

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Coat

Cucumber the real villian

When looking at CO2 emissions one also has to look at the value of the "food"

Cucumbers are an eco-disaster. They are grown using heated greenhouses, transported miles in cooled lorries for ABSOLUTELY NO nutritional value!

Even broccolli comes out no better than meat, in the land-use/energy use stakes. when looking at calories, and there is a lot of protein in meat!

Ban Salads I say

The New Noah

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methane

There's a lot of misinformation here on vegetarians emitting more methane. Generally a high fibre diet will lead to less gas due to regular bowel movements. Trust me, once I went to Hungary for a week and ate little but meat and the gas was unbearable.

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hmmm

"Eating less meat is "as obvious as recycling or hybrid cars"

And that's why climate change is a crock. Believers continue to insist that hybrids are green. Spin and nonsense.

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Bronze badge

Eat Greens.

I think that's a consensus.

Or is it a concensus, I never feel sure which.

I'm pretty sure it's consensus and I've just thought of a way to fix it: think of concensual. Then think of consensual. Which of them sounds the more fun?

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WTF?

Like veggies are the answer

Find a bit of land that has been growing veggies (for human consumption) at anywhere near a commercial level for 200 years and compare that to land that has been growing beef for the same amount of time. I don't know any centuries old areas other than orchards that are still producing nutritious food. Even the California iceberg lettuce growing areas are showing a lack of the merger nutrients compared to just a few decades ago.

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The green sub-text. People have to die on a large scale.

There is a reason Earth supports a more people than it has historically.

Its called organised farming for profit.

I think the poster proposing to tarmac over the UK and import *all* food had his tongue firmly in his cheek.

A lot of the green agenda has a sub text that the Earth cannot support this level of population (despite the fact that it is) and ultimately the population has to be reduced. By a lot. Note that in the UK the average birth rate is already *below* maintenance levels (neglecting immigration).

With the exception of various nomadic tribes in rain forests and desserts Earth is *not* a hunter/gatherer society. Monoculture is energy intensive and other options exist to improve its efficiency.

Having said this the US fondness for beef consumption has a very significant effect on farming practice in Central and South America. Cows may (or may not be) the problem, but the knock on effect of encouraging land clearance (especially in the Amazon) *is* significant.

I like animals. I like people *more*.

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@ Nerdo: Utter Bollocks

A few reasons why meat eating is no more harmful to the environment

Myth 1: 10kg of grain = 1kg of beef.

On the face of it this appears correct as you can produce more calories from vegetables than from meat on arable land. The key here is the words 'arable land' - there is significant land area which is not suitable for crops but which is suitable for grazing livestock

Myth 2: Methane production from livestock is contributing to greenhouse gasses

While livestock do produce methane it pays to bear in mind that the carbon from which this methane is formed comes from grass and other feeds, not fossil fuels. As such is part of the natural carbon cycle. Secondly, techniques such as mob grazing result in MORE carbon being fixed by grasses in their root systems than is emitted in methane. Centuries ago, tens of millions of bovines roamed the grasslands of North America and Africa - our climate didn't collapse then.

Myth 3: Switching to a vegetarian diet will save the planet

If more people switched to vegetarianism then we would be able to support a larger population. Ironically this is the biggest problem of all. Overwhelmingly it is PEOPLE that damage the environment. The surest way of managing environmental damage is to reduce the world's human population. By increasing food supplies you are only increasing the global population.

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