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EarthSave Urges Vegetarian Diet as Solution to Global Warming

NEW YORK, New York, August 29, 2005

Global warming can be reduced if more people take meat off their menus and switch to eating vegetables and grains, the environmental group EarthSave International said today.

In a new report, the group said the most significant source of climate change over the next half-century is likely animal agriculture, rather than vehicles and power plants that emit carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuels - the traditional targets of environmentalists.

"This reveals an untapped opportunity to make serious and rapid progress in reducing dangerous global warming trends," said Noam Mohr, author of the report. The report's data analysis shows that methane sources - not carbon dioxide sources - are the biggest cause of global warming today, and will continue to be for the next 50 years.

Livestock is the top human-related source of methane worldwide, the report says. Methane is one of the six greenhouse gases governed by the Kyoto Protocol, an international greenhouse gas emissions reduction treaty in which the United States does not participate. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the EarthSave report states, and methane levels have increased more than carbon dioxide levels.


EarthSave reports that animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year, about 85 percent from livestock digestion and 15 percent from manure lagoons used to store untreated feces. The EarthSave report relies on data published by Dr. James Hansen and others which show that CO2 emissions are not the main cause of observed atmospheric warming. Though this may sound like the work of global warming skeptics, it isn’t," says EarthSave, pointing out that Hansen is director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has been called “a grandfather of the global warming theory.”

While EarthSave acknowledges that human activity produces "vastly more CO2 than all other greenhouse gases put together," but says "this does not mean it is responsible for most of the earth’s warming because the primary sources of these emissions—cars and power plants—also produce aerosols." Aerosols are particles of soot that have a cooling effect on global temperatures, and EarthSave says "the magnitude of this cooling approximately cancels out the warming effect of CO2.

The surprising result is that sources of CO2 emissions are having roughly zero effect on global temperatures in the near-term!" EarthSave says this cancelling effect is not widely known in the environmental community, because of fear that "polluting industries will use it to excuse their greenhouse gas emissions," but says, "This contrarian spin cannot be justified." The group says reducing methane can have a cooling effect on the planet in short order because methane cycles out of the atmosphere in eight years, as compared to carbon dioxide which stays in the atmosphere for decades. 

The report calls on environmental organizations to make vegetarian advocacy a major part of their global warming campaigns. "Anyone who cares about global warming can start making a difference at every meal, simply by leaving meat off their plates," said Mohr. "It turns out that what's good for your health is also good for the planet."

For an online copy of the full report "A New Global Warming Strategy," visit: http://www.earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm

Remember, you can’t eat meat and call yourself an environmentalist.

Funneling crops and water through animals rather than using those resources directly is any country’s top way of wasting water and polluting. Factory farms demand more water than all other users combined and produce 130 times as much waste as the entire human population of any countries. Farming animals also requires more than one-third of all greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels used in a specific country and has destroyed three-fourths of our topsoil, a permanent environmental catastrophe that can’t be corrected.

Approximately more than half of all water used in Malaysia is used to raise animals for food.

A totally vegetarian diet requires 300 gallons of water per day, while a meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. Time magazine reports, "Around the world, as more water is diverted to raising [cattle], pigs, and chickens, instead of producing crops for direct consumption, millions of wells are going dry."


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