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ChrisGraley (30.25)

I can fix health care and global warming without costing most of you a penny.

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December 13, 2009 – Comments (24)

Ok, I'm not advocating this plan, I'm just trying to show what is possible when you put actual thought behind a problem without a politician in the room.

I'm going propose one change that will lower your healthcare costs and reduce global warming and it won't cost most of you a thing.

How would we do it? Create a global law to make it illegal to eat meat. Well it's pretty obvious how this would help lower health care costs, but how would it help global warming? The simple answer is methane.

Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2 and while CO2 emmisions have risen 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Global meat consumption has increased 500% in the last 50 years and 85% of animal produced methane being released into the atmosphere is through the digestive processes of livestock. The other 15% is due to animal waste being stored in lagoons. Methane produced by livestock is the #1 source of Methane and far more than the Methane produced by mining, or by landfills.

Since Methane only has an 8 year cycle in the atmosphere we would show a much quicker climate response.

We would also be much healthier!

We would reduce carbon emmisions because we would need to plant more crops that would soak up more CO2.

We don't have to shell out a couple of trillion dollars for each program to find out that it doesn't work either.

The only losers I can see in this are the ranchers and fast food companies. Since ranchers have fertile land in most cases, they should be able to switch to farming easily.

I might actually even be able to take being forced to give up cheeseburgers. At least it's less likely to kill me than the other 2 ideas they are trying to force on me.

If I could think of this one idea, how many do you think that the world's brightest could come up with if the politicians weren't involved?

24 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 13, 2009 at 1:16 AM, Option1307 (29.90) wrote:

how many do you think that the world's brightest could come up with if the politicians weren't involved?

And take all the fun out of it, no way! Ha.

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#2) On December 13, 2009 at 2:25 AM, ikkyu2 (99.38) wrote:

Can you prove that stopping meat eating would lower health care costs?  Show your work.

I don't think you can even prove that meat eating is unhealthy, which is a much less difficult question.

"Actual thought," as you put it, requires that you understand your assumptions.  In this case you have assumed that meat eating is unhealthy and that non-meat-eaters incur lower health care costs.  I don't believe you'll find data to support either. 

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#3) On December 13, 2009 at 3:04 AM, MarginCallMcW (< 20) wrote:

I like your plan, it would probably be very effective although there is obviously no way people would agree to stop eating meat.

@ikkyu2:

Eating meat is not unhealthy, but eating red meat in the quantities americans do is very unhealthy. Ask any cardiologist. After heart surgery patients are told to never eat red meat again. If they ate it in moderation before they would probably not have to have had the surgery in the first place.

If you don't believe he would find the data, you believe wrong. A quick pubmed search proves his point. There is no link to the full article for that one but another recent study can be found here

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#4) On December 13, 2009 at 6:08 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

MarginCallMcW

I thing cardiologist are slowly changing their thinking along with the heart association to reducing or eliminating refined carbs. 

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#5) On December 13, 2009 at 7:22 AM, devoish (99.07) wrote:

ChrisGraley,

Warned by scientists of dire consequences from excessive CO2 waste, after careful thought, lobbyists voice their solution, reduce Methane!

That was hysterical.

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#6) On December 13, 2009 at 7:42 AM, tkell31 (< 20) wrote:

Easy -1 Rec on this one.  Unless it was meant as a joke, but then again wasn't very funny so yeah, -1. 

Eating lean red meat is fine as is any meat in moderation.  Studies linked seemed to indicate eating chicken, fish, and pork (the other white meat) actually improved health.  Plus meat/proteins are very important to overall physical health and development of children. 

CO2 omissions have risen a lot more then 31% since pre-industrial times...well at least I assume it has since it has increased 29% in the last nine years alone.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-Issues/2009/1118/p06s01-wogi.html

Now, if you wanted there to be a weight limit or overall body fat percentage limit on people that would have a huge impact on healthcare.  I'm continually amazed by the number for fat people in this country.  Being obese results in significantly increased health problems that are starting at a younger and younger age.  I think we need to mandate an hour of excercise in our work day (at the end or anytime if the participants have access to shower facilities).

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#7) On December 13, 2009 at 10:29 AM, soycapital (< 20) wrote:

"Now, if you wanted there to be a weight limit or overall body fat percentage limit on people that would have a huge impact on healthcare.  I'm continually amazed by the number for fat people in this country.  Being obese results in significantly increased health problems that are starting at a younger and younger age.  I think we need to mandate an hour of excercise in our work day (at the end or anytime if the participants have access to shower facilities)."

So many people in society today are for the most part helpless to take care of themselves. It is sad thay a person holds so little regard for themselves than to destroy their bodies with fat, smoke, drugs, alcohol. Don't think that "fat laws" are the answer since it is a spiritual issue.

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#8) On December 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM, HarryCarysGhost (99.76) wrote:

Ever meet a vegitarion

They don't look so good

I always offer a sandwich

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#9) On December 13, 2009 at 11:09 AM, tkell31 (< 20) wrote:

Hey, I'm not outlawing being fat, just saying any health problems related to it shouldnt be covered by a federal/state or local health coverage plan.  Likewise I think any unemployment or welfare type benefit should come with the requirement to either take classes or clean highways...dont do either and you get cut off.  There is no reason people should be able to collect either and sit home watching reruns of Oprah.

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#10) On December 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Hey Chris,

LOL! Nice man, I can always count on you to stir up a good discussion :)

I am going to add some thoughts. Some will address your original thought, but I am going to give you fair warning, I am going to wander off-topic quite a bit before I return to your original point :)

First, I am not a vegetarian. I have no moral objection to eating meat. But I eat meat infrequently. Partly as a health choice but mostly as an environmental choice. And it has *nothing* to do with global warming.

I wrote a blog post about a year and a half ago. I discuss the huge resource inefficiency (energy, land and water) in raising livestock, and using it to support a population on a high-meat diet. Please check it out, I think it is a great post (if I do say so myself :) ). I make no policy statements, or anything too politically ideological, just a bunch of scientific and anecdotal observations: Food, Water, Energy Shortages / Where Does Our Food Come From? – The End of Food - http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/ViewPost.aspx?bpid=70460

But I do think Americans eat far too much meat. And it is largely because meat is much cheaper than it should otherwise be (Americans don't pay the true market value of the meat, we pay the subsidized value). No I am not going to get into an argument whether this is right or wrong, it simply is what it is as a product of our history.

Food subsidies 100 years ago were critical to the survival our our country. There were always booms/bust and feasts / literally famines. So it is unquestionable that food subsidies have had a historically significant benefit.

But now? The arugment isn't so clear. We have superior technology in place to raise crops that the subsidies are not necessarily needed to grow, our overabundance of corn for human consumption. ... However it is necessary to support the cattle industry. The cattle industry gets access to a cheap susidized feed stock, which is why beef is so cheap. (I am not going to talk about why this is such a bad thing, that cows were *never* meant to eat corn, and why this is such a bad and growing problem, I discuss it in my link above in a little more detail).

.... Okay, sorry. That was way off the page. Let me bring it back to your original point

Which is that politicians are basically idiots and will come up with the absolute worst way to "solve" a problem.

**WARNING** I AM NOT ARGUING FOR THIS! JUST MAKING A HYPOTHETICAL CASE, DO NOT TAKE OUT OF CONTEXT!! -- To address the problem of global warming (and I already threw my $0.02 in here in your last post about this , and I claim that no side can claim is does/does not exist definitively), politicans have decided on some very significant policy changes. Yet if global warming is man made, and Methane is a huge greenhouse gas (which it is), and the cattle population is artificically increased due to man (which it is), and the livestock population is much larger than it needs to be for mans survival and well being (which it is).... then the much more logical and efficient conclusion would be to remove the subsidies on agriculture which enable the cattle population from being so artifically large -- **WARNING** I AM NOT ARGUING FOR THIS! JUST MAKING A HYPOTHETICAL CASE, DO NOT TAKE OUT OF CONTEXT!!.

So I am not saying that we should or should not take action on the above scenario.

But what I am saying is that if the reasons really actually were what they said they were for the climate change summit, then a much more effective approach to dealing with greenhouse gas emssions, such as the scenario I lay out and the one you orginially laid out.

But it is because politicans cannot take away anything. We cannot take away superflous agricultural subsidies (we don't need as much monoculture corn grown as we produce and that is an easily proveable fact), because that would deprive a valuable constiutency (political loss), both corn growers and cattle raisers which have a big lobby. So instead the approach is to add more regulation.

This is not the most coherent argument I have ever made, and I can see many of the flaws in it myself. But I think you can see where I am coming from.

Actual problems can be solved in much more efficent ways than our political system allows for. And even the problems themselves are political, which is a huge conflict of intrest between political power and the good of the population that they serve.

Thanks again for a thought provoking topic Chris! I am sure you will get a lot of flames, but I think your point was to start a good discussion. And you were definitely sucessful :) ..

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#11) On December 13, 2009 at 12:03 PM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Oops, sorry, forgot to include the link to my $0.02 in your last post :) - http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/ViewPost.aspx?bpid=307707#comment308414

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#12) On December 13, 2009 at 12:30 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

Chris I know you are playing devil's advocate but I would like to point out a misconception commonly held by people that do support this view.  They say raising vegetable crops is much more efficient than raising livestock and that the land used for this purpose could be diverted to farming.  This is simply not true in many cases, much ranch land is simply not suited to farming.  My family has a ranch in the southwest, and there is not enough water for farming.  Many ranchers also lease grazing on public land, this obviously couldn't be farmed either.

binve is right that govt subsidies of agriculture are a real mess.  They pay farmers not to farm, and I have seen them buy grain and let it rot just to support prices.  They should scrap the whole system and let the market work it out.

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#13) On December 13, 2009 at 12:42 PM, Teacherman1 (62.19) wrote:

Good post Chris.

I had a much more straight forward and simpler plan for the auto industry that could have benefited all of the employees of the automobile manufactures, the suppliers of the auto industry and their employees, the suppliers to the suppliers of the auto industry and their employees, the local, state, and federal tax revenues, the local banks, the businesses that sell to all of the employees of the above industries and their employees, and at the same time benefited the "green movement" and cost the taxpayers less.

I was going to post it in a blog, but decided that since our government, in its wisdom, had already managed to make the economy crash even further than it had to, it was too late to have any real meaning.

Again, good post. Original thought never goes out of style. It just mostly gets ignored.

Have a good day. 

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#14) On December 13, 2009 at 2:08 PM, ChrisGraley (30.25) wrote:

Ikkyu2 I believe that  Margincall answered your question sufficiently but would like to add that our current diet in the states is also deficient of fruit and vegetables. That would be solved in this scenario.

devoish,

I believe that John Marshall of the IPCC also warned that methane was a bigger problem than CO2 and also wanted to promote vegetarianism, but it was decided that methane political lobbying groups were too strong to pick for the first battle. Also I don't take my orders from the profiteers, so my only mandate is to reduce global warming. I have no orders on CO2. Also a side effect of my plan would be a reduction in CO2 since more vegetation would be needed. And lastly after we spend 2 trillion dollars on your groups plan, we would have to wait 250 years to see marked results, if we go by the estimates of how long your group says CO2 stays into the atmosphere. Again using your teams numbers, Methane will only stay in the atmosphere for 8 years, so we should see quicker results. If we are truly in catastrophie mode, wouldn't it be smarter to impliment this plan first? Especially since you yourself admit that cap and trade won't work and is flawed.

binve you could also add removing red meat from the foodstamp program, and school lunch programs to your plan.

NOTvuffet, you are right, and I shouldn't have implied it would be an easy transistion for ranchers. It would not be. I also agree with everyone on the subsidies. 

Thanks teacherman and I do hope you would post that perhaps in your own thread so it could spurn greater discussion.

And to all reading this, like I said, I'm not advocating this plan. I just simpley wanted to show that there are much simpler alternatives out there than what your government wants to force down your throat. This one would actually work too! Report this comment
#15) On December 13, 2009 at 3:37 PM, Teacherman1 (62.19) wrote:

As a teacher in a middle school, I would like to make one comment about removing red meat from the school lunch program.

Since at our school we get only 30 minutes for lunch, I eat in the cafeteria most days, and teachers at our school get the same offering as the students.

The only red meat I have ever seen there is in the form of ground beef.

If they took that away, the majority of the students would not even notice, since they eat the alternative offering of pepperoni pizza about 100% of the time.

Great program, huh?

I will post it in a blog Chris, but will have to wait until Christmas break. My wife has a number of things she wants me to take care of before that. 

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#16) On December 13, 2009 at 5:36 PM, Duwango (< 20) wrote:

Hi City Slicker Chris,

No you can not take grazing land and turn it into farming land.

Many of these lands are arid, not enough water to grow much. Millions of acres of

national US forests used for summer range for cattle and sheep. Do you

propse clear-cutting our beautiful mountains for farm land? And what

would grow in elevations over 9000' ?

What would cheeseheads do?  I like some goat milk cheeses, but

tend to prefer cheese made from...cow's milk!

I hope the research andefforts to harness some of the bovine methane

come to "pass" in a productive way.

As for my family, we will eat lovely meat so the vegetarians can

get enough leather for their car seat upholstery, shoes, jackets,etc.

(Our schools buy local beef and local organic produce whenever

possible. Also nutrition a priority.)

 

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#17) On December 13, 2009 at 6:52 PM, ChrisGraley (30.25) wrote:

Duwango, I do agree with you and if you see my reply to NOTvuffet, I said as much. I had an uncle who was a rancher in the West Virginia mountains, so I do know what you are talking about.

Also if I find the link again, I read an article where a rancher powered his entire dairy off the methane from his cattle's waste. I'll post it if I can find it.

As I said in the begining, this isn't a plan that I would necessarily advocate. But it would be much simpler and more effective than what the politicians have put out.

I myself love a good cheeseburger from time to time. :)

 

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#18) On December 13, 2009 at 10:48 PM, AbstractMotion (54.15) wrote:

Few things to note here.  A lot of cattle production today is done on feed lots, these are not open ranching lands, but basically gigantic pens where cattles essentially stand around and get fat.  The meat is lower quality and most of what they're fed today in the US isn't grass but corn by-products they shouldn't really be eating anyways.  It has a huge impact on the local environment even if you ignore the emissions it causes, there's literally rivers of excrement involved in a lot of cases.  The previously mentioned corn feeds also are not easily digested, which possibly adds further to the methane problem.  The only advantage of this process is that it's cheap and quick compared to traditional ranching.  Personally I wouldn't have a huge problem with it being outlawed altogether as it's more agribusiness then ranching or farming.  That said any efforts to contain emissions and waste would likely add a high price premium, at any rate I don't think it should be subsidized.

As an addendum to the above, it's worth noting that while we have large grasslands that can be used for ranching and a good amount of food to go around, that's not the case everywhere in the world.  One of the major reasons the rain forest has been cleared away in South America has been for cattle ranching, and in many areas if people can't buy affordable food and they'll go out and get it themselves from sources that might be endangered as is.  It might literally come down to protecting a sea turtle population or using a high carbon food source.

 

In my opinion one of the best ways we could fight healthcare costs without costing the taxpayer a time tax wise is to remove corn subsidies specifically for corn that goes towards HFCS.  The problem with HFCS, is that it's artificially cheap, too cheap in fact.  Because of this since 1970 it's become widely used as a substitute for both natural sugar and as an extra sweetener.  It's a pure carbohydrate with a lot of calories, and is often consumed as a liquid (soft drinks, coffee sweetener), which hides it as caloric intake from most people.  Most of the corn that goes towards it today is genetically altered specifically for the purpose, you literally could not eat it and it tastes horrible.  Still it's subsidized just like any other type of corn.  If we removed these subsidies it wouldn't be economical for farmers to grow it anymore and the problem would correct itself.  The food industry would go back to using the sweeteners and formula it did before the recent rise of the HFCS industry and life would go on.  High carb foods that some people in congress want to tax currently would probably rise in price, but really to reflect their true price.  Farmers could grow normal corn or other crops depending on the market and life would go on.  It's an easy market based solution that wouldn't cost the taxpayer a dime, though the consumer would probably notice an increase in sweetened products.

 

The best alternative in the long term I see is Spirulina.  It'll take a while before alga culture gets to the point where it could be produced in place of beef or chicken, but it should be possible some day.  It would actually take in carbon and wouldn't produce any methane.  It could be grown practically anywhere where water is plentiful as well.  It has fat, but the good omega-3 type.  Worth looking into if you have a long enough investing horizon ahead of you though.

 

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#19) On December 13, 2009 at 11:16 PM, ChrisGraley (30.25) wrote:

Good post AbsractMotion! HFCS should be criminal to begin with! (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

I'm on the Stevia bandwagon as a sweetener.

If Spirulina and wheatgrass were used as a feedstock for red meat production, red meat might actually be considered part of a healthy diet again. It wouldn't solve the methane problem, but it would definately help the health problem.

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#20) On December 14, 2009 at 3:21 AM, ikkyu2 (99.38) wrote:

Red meat consumption and processed meat consumption are associated with a "modest" increase in mortality.  White meat consumption in this study was associated with a similarly modest decrease in mortality.  The effects cancelled each other:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19307518?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_SingleItemSupl.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=3&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed 

Correlation, however, isn't causation.  These red and processed meat eaters may simply not have been eating enough fruits or vegetables, or perhaps they were chasing their steaks with brandy and cigars, or doing something else that raised their mortality. 

Now let's take the next step, using "actual thought" as requested in the post:

Dead person's future health care costs: $0

Live person's future health care costs: greater than $0

Do the math.  If you're going to claim that meat consumption causes excess mortality, burden's on you to show you're not actually saving health care dollars by killing people off early.

I am a practicing physician with a master's in public health, incidentally, and this is not the first time I've thought about this issue.  Some of the realities of public health aren't particularly intuitive. 

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#21) On December 14, 2009 at 4:28 AM, ozzfan1317 (81.83) wrote:

I like your idea I have always considered going vegatarian and have even eaten some meatless meals. If you think that meat isnt unhealthy and is a nessacary thing i'm sure when I get time I could find you a few studies you might want to read.

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#22) On December 14, 2009 at 8:53 AM, ChrisGraley (30.25) wrote:

Being a doctor ikky2u, you are aware that everyone racks up a hospital before they die. Sometimes they are dead when they arrive in the hospital and they still get a bill from the doctor that pronounced them dead.

The act of dying creates a healthcare burden. Because dead people can't pay their government mandated health insurance. The dying are deadbeats! They create a healthcare bill and don't pay their government mandated insurance! Maybe we should outlaw dying and fine the dead for doing so! That should help balance the books a little for those of us considerate enough not to die.

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#23) On December 14, 2009 at 11:22 AM, eldemonio (98.74) wrote:

The answer to our problems is more cows, not fewer cows.  Trapping and burning methane produced from cows is a cleaner and more efficient energy source than burning fossil fuels.  The government should regulate how many cows each citizen must care for.  The hard work of raising cattle would offset any ill effects from all of the meat we will be eating.  I want to see cows everywhere.

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#24) On December 14, 2009 at 7:05 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@ChrisGraley,
"How would we do it? Create a global law to make it illegal to eat meat. Well it's pretty obvious how this would help lower health care costs, but how would it help global warming? The simple answer is methane."
Your idea is neither new nor entirely correct. Yes, controlling methane emissions would be very helpful but it would only buy us time for the real action: decarbonization of the economy. Also, as NOTvuffett says, livestock raising is often done in marginal land which is unsuitable for other uses.

See:
"People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.
In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”
Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas.
Lord Stern, the author of the influential 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases."
[1]

"People should consider eating less meat as a way of combating global warming, says the UN's top climate scientist.
Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will make the call at a speech in London on Monday evening.
UN figures suggest that meat production puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than transport.
(...)
Dr Pachauri, however, sees it more as an issue of personal choice.
"I'm not in favour of mandating things like this, but if there were a (global) price on carbon perhaps the price of meat would go up and people would eat less," he said.
"But if we're honest, less meat is also good for the health, and would also at the same time reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.""
[2]

"The AgSTAR Program is a voluntary effort jointly sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program encourages the use of methane recovery (biogas) technologies at the confined animal feeding operations that manage manure as liquids or slurries. These technologies reduce methane emissions while achieving other environmental benefits." [3]

"Agricultural food production and agriculturally-related change in land use substantially contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. Four-fifths of agricultural emissions arise from the livestock sector. Although livestock products are a source of some essential nutrients, they provide large amounts of saturated fat, which is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We considered potential strategies for the agricultural sector to meet the target recommended by the UK Committee on Climate Change to reduce UK emissions from the concentrations recorded in 1990 by 80% by 2050, which would require a 50% reduction by 2030. With use of the UK as a case study, we identified that a combination of agricultural technological improvements and a 30% reduction in livestock production would be needed to meet this target; in the absence of good emissions data from Brazil, we assumed for illustrative purposes that the required reductions would be the same for our second case study in São Paulo city. We then used these data to model the potential benefits of reduced consumption of livestock products on the burden of ischaemic heart disease: disease burden would decrease by about 15% in the UK (equivalent to 2850 disability-adjusted life-years [DALYs] per million population in 1 year) and 16% in São Paulo city (equivalent to 2180 DALYs per million population in 1 year). Although likely to yield benefits to health, such a strategy will probably encounter cultural, political, and commercial resistance, and face technical challenges. Coordinated intersectoral action is needed across agricultural, nutritional, public health, and climate change communities worldwide to provide affordable, healthy, low-emission diets for all societies." [4]

"Starting around 2000, BP began introducing methane-catching techniques at 2,300 well sites in New Mexico. At well after well, gas that would have otherwise escaped now flows through meters that field crews affectionately call the “cash register.”
Among other actions, BP engineers have fine-tuned a system for purging fluids that can stop up wells. The process uses the pressure of gas in the well to periodically raise a plunger through the vertical well pipe. This removes the liquids but typically allows gas to escape.
The new computerized process, which BP calls smart automation, tracks well pressure and other conditions to more precisely time the plunger cycles in ways that avoid gas emissions. From 2000 to 2004, emissions from BP wells in the region dropped 50 percent, the company says. By 2007, they had essentially ended.
On average, installing the systems has cost about $11,000 per well, but they have returned three times that investment, said Reid Smith, an environmental adviser for BP working on the project.
“We spend a lot of money to get gas to the surface,” Mr. Smith said. “It makes a huge amount of sense to get all of it through the sales meter.”"
[5]

"Current emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) have already committed the planet to an increase in average surface temperature by the end of the century that may be above the critical threshold for tipping elements of the climate system into abrupt change with potentially irreversible and unmanageable consequences. This would mean that the climate system is close to entering if not already within the zone of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (DAI). Scientific and policy literature refers to the need for “early,” “urgent,” “rapid,” and “fast-action” mitigation to help avoid DAI and abrupt climate changes. We define “fast-action” to include regulatory measures that can begin within 2–3 years, be substantially implemented in 5–10 years, and produce a climate response within decades. We discuss strategies for short-lived non-CO2 GHGs and particles, where existing agreements can be used to accomplish mitigation objectives. Policy makers can amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with high global warming potential. Other fast-action strategies can reduce emissions of black carbon particles and precursor gases that lead to ozone formation in the lower atmosphere, and increase biosequestration, including through biochar. These and other fast-action strategies may reduce the risk of abrupt climate change in the next few decades by complementing cuts in CO2 emissions." [6]

"Much of the contemporary literature on soil carbon relates to its role, or potential, as an atmospheric carbon sink to offset climate change. Despite this emphasis, a much wider range of soil and catchment health aspects are improved as soil carbon is increased. These benefits are difficult to quantify due to the complexity of natural resource systems and the interpretation of what constitutes soil health; nonetheless, several benefits are proposed in the following points:
    * Reduced erosion, sedimentation: increased soil aggregate stability means greater resistance to erosion; mass movement is less likely when soils are able to retain structural strength under greater moisture levels.
    * Greater productivity: healthier and more productive soils can contribute to positive socio-economic circumstances.
    * Cleaner waterways, nutrients and turbidity: nutrients and sediment tend to be retained by the soil rather than leach or wash off, and are so kept from waterways.
    * Water balance: greater soil water holding capacity reduces overland flow and recharge to groundwater; the water saved and held by the soil remains available for use by plants.
    * Climate change: Soils have the ability to retain carbon that may otherwise exist as atmospheric CO2 and contribute to greenhouse warming.
    * Greater biodiversity: soil organic matter contributes to the health of soil flora and accordingly, the natural links with biodiversity in the greater biosphere."
[7]

References:
1- Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet. The Times.
2- Shun meat, says UN climate chief. BBC News.
3- AgSTAR Program. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
4- Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: food and agriculture. The Lancet.
5- Curbing Emissions by Sealing Gas Leaks. The New York Times.
6- Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
7- Soil carbon. Wikipedia.

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