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BEEF MAGAZINE NET NEWS

Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it


TAFC ClipBoard: The most obvious question to me when considering that fourteen percent of methane gas on the planet comes from burping cows, is what are they eating to make them burp and pass gas so much? I know they’re large animals, but the food they’re eating and the drugs they’re taking must have something to do with it.

I thought for a long time that animal rights organizations blaming the burps of cows for global warming was not a good strategy for reducing the human consumption of cows.

What if cows weren’t slaughtered for food or hides? Would animal rights people advocate killing them because they were causing global warming? Wipe out all the cows, and maybe all the other animals who pass gas that contains methane? Humans too? To keep the globe from warming up?

The mass procreation of animals for exploitation is producing abnormally high rates of methane, so sure stop raising cows for exploitation purposes. Don’t raise them at all.

I just don’t think that the warming of the planet should be blamed on the amount of gas animals expel.

The article makes the point that we don’t want to get rid of the wetlands because they contribute the most methane gas. I agree.

The conclusion would then be that we shouldn’t get rid of the cows either. I agree.

But we do get rid of the cows, we eat them – year after year.

Stop raising cows for slaughter regardless of the methane issue.

Next stop will be humans and exploring what groups, races, ethnicities pass more gas than others. sldt


BEGIN ARTICLE:

Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it There’s been a lot of suspect science thrown around this election season. It’s time for beef producers to set things straight.

Burt Rutherford | Sep 16, 2020

Among the political talking points that has been spouted during this presidential campaign is that “science is real.” And it is—or at least real science is real. However, “science” advocated by activists and politicians is suspect, and its true objective is in pushing an agenda, not in seeking the truth.

That’s the battle we face as beef producers and that’s why it’s time to step up and make our voices heard.

BEEF Daily Editor Amanda Radke has been beating that drum for years and for BEEF Daily readers, you know that she has beaten that drum loudly the past two weeks. Here’s a little extra ammo to add to your talking points.

Among the many myths about cattle production that has been dethroned by real science is methane. A recent article published by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University provides some real science that sheds light on the issue.

READ: Log it, graze it or watch it burn

The article, titled “Cows are not the primary cause of recent increase in methane,” notes that atmospheric methane concentration increased 8 parts per billion (ppb) per year during the 1980s, 6 ppb per year in the 1990s, then remained static from 2000 to 2007. However, methane concentration has been increasing at 9 parts per million per year since then.

Ruminant animals certainly produce methane, but facts are facts—estimated enteric methane emissions have increased since 2000, but the global cattle population has remained constant.

So much for the “cows are the cause” argument.

Contribution to global methane emissions by various sources.

methane pie chart.png

Source: Beef Cattle Institute at K-State. Adapted from the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

Based on the change in radio isotope ratio of atmospheric methane, the increase in methane emissions is likely from microbial sources. So where’s it coming from? “Wetlands are the largest natural source of methane emissions and methane emissions from wetlands have also been increasing since 2000,” the article notes.

READ: Mitloehner clears the air on fossil fuels, cattle and climate change

Global temperatures are rising. Are humans the main reason? That’s a discussion for another time. But the article notes that the largest methane growth rates occurred in the tropics and subtropics from 2014 to 2017, which had an average temperature increase of 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) warmer than the 1880-1909 baseline.

“Methane emissions from wetlands increase with increasing temperatures because of increased microbial activity, but the microbes in the rumen of cattle are at a constant 38 degrees C, (100.4 F) such that global temperature would not be affecting microbial activity in the rumen,” the article notes.

Here’s the bottom line: “Wetlands are the largest global source of methane emissions and are a major driver in atmospheric methane, especially with increasing global temperatures,” the article says.

Related: Beef producers must drive the conversation on cattle and climate change

Does that mean we should drain the wetlands? Absolutely not.

Here’s why: Wetlands are a vital part of a robust environment and provide habitat for a wide range of critters. They are an important part of your conservation efforts and should be encouraged and protected. Wetlands and ruminants have been producing methane for eons and the earth has a wonderful methane cycle that provides a self-cleaning mechanism for naturally produced methane.

So the next time you hear that cows are the cause of increased methane emissions, feel free to step up and make your voice and the facts known.

Source: Is climate science really real? Depends on who’s behind it







Categories
NET NEWS

New UN warming report sees hungry future that can be avoided

New UN warming report sees hungry future that can be avoided

CNAP QUESTTION: Just say humans can slow the process of planet-warming, can it reverse the warming, or once on a track of warming is it inevitable that in the not too distant future we’ll all be living in the desert?


BY SETH BORENSTEIN

A report by the United Nations released on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 says that human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the planet’s land, while the way people use the Earth is making global warming worse. The vicious cycle is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious, as well as cutting the number of species on Earth, according to a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

WASHINGTON (AP) — On the ground, climate change is hitting us where it counts: the stomach — not to mention the forests, plants and animals.

A new United Nations scientific report examines how global warming and land interact in a vicious cycle. Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the land, while the way people use the land is making global warming worse.

Thursday’s science-laden report says the combination is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious.

“The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.”

But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said.

Earth’s land masses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings.

“The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.

”The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to other forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth.

“Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it.And the future could be worse.

“The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said.

In the worst case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now. Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops.

For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6 to 13% less protein, 4 to 7% less zinc and 5 to 8% less iron, she said.

But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer application — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said.

Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016 global food waste accounted for 8 to 10% of heat-trapping emissions.

“Currently 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land.

With just another 0.9 degrees of warming (0.5 degrees Celsius), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said.

At another 1.8 degrees of warming from now (1 degree Celsius), which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.

”Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid to late 20th century,” the report noted.

Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said.

But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air.

From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out.

“This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot , a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continued to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy…”

Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said.

Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report, said the bottom line is “we ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it.”

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Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Source: New UN warming report sees hungry future that can be avoided