Bad news for Butchers

Rajendra Pachauri is the Chairman of the IPCC — the deeply compromised UN climate change body that is presented as a scientific consensus, but is starting to look more and more like a political campaign.  Mr. Pachauri is a vegetarian.  And he has just suggested that we should all eat less meat, in an attempt to limit climate change.  It seems that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agriculture sector exceed those from the transport sector, and much of these emissions come from cattle.  Both ends, apparently.
 
One starts to wonder if there is any limit to the hubris and moral superiority of these high priests of the new global warming religion, or any limit to the right they arrogate to themselves to tell the rest of us how to live.  Mr. Pachauri seems to lack any historical context.  The oceans have been teeming with life for three billion years, and the land for hundreds of millions of years.  Zillions of animals producing all kinds of emissions.  A hundred million years ago we had a world of dinosaurs.  Most were herbivorous, and you can bet that one large herbivorous dinosaur would emit more GHGs than a truckload of cattle.  More recently, when the first Europeans found their way to the Great Plains of North America, the landscape was described as “black with bison”.  Ditto the plains of Africa before fire-arms arrived.  The world has coped very well over millennia with large numbers of animals.
 
We need to get CO2 emissions in proportion.  Yes, CO2 is a GHG, but a relatively minor one compared with water vapour — about which we can do nothing at all.  And man-made CO2 emissions are a tiny fraction — a few percent — of the vast exchange of CO2 between volcanoes, oceans, atmosphere and the bio-sphere.  In any case, the “climate forcing” (greenhouse) effect of CO2 is governed by a logarithmic relationship.  It is a law of diminishing returns.  At current atmospheric CO2 levels (about 380 parts per million), CO2 is doing just about all the warming it is capable of, and further CO2 increases will have a trivial effect.
 
The IPCC knows this, so it tries to sustain the alarmist scenario by postulating positive feed-back effects between CO2 and water vapour.  But it impossible to demonstrate these feed-back effects, and some scientists argue that any feedback that exists could be negative.  In any case, the relationships between CO2, ocean currents and oscillations, water vapour, clouds at various levels, cloud formation, the earth’s albedo (reflectivity), and the effects of solar radiation in the upper atmosphere are so complex and little understood that the computer model projections on which climate alarmism is based are not worth the paper they are written on.
 
We plan to waste crippling sums of money on policies designed to reduce CO2 emissions, but we are barking up the wrong tree.  And Rajendra Pachauri is just plain barking.  Meantime I am planning to have locally-made butcher’s sausages for my dinner, and nothing the IPCC says will change my mind.

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2 Responses to Bad news for Butchers

  1. Iain Climie says:

    To be fair, many ecologists feel there are are too many livestock and the UN FAO’s Report “Libestock’s Long Shadow” flags many concerns. Any vegan or dairy farmer, however, can point out the moral flaw in vegetarianism and any farmer can point out what reducing livestock would mean in practice – it would actually cause a short-term increase in meat production from livestock, then a longer-term fall.

    Yet the UN FAO report (perhaps surprsiingly) identifies many changes which can cause dramatic improvements (e.g. silvaculture, game ranching, feed changes to cut waste and emissions) before concluding: ” With these changes, undertaken with an appropriate sense of urgency, the (livestock) sector can make a very significant contribution to reducing and reversing environmental damage.” Of course there is the question of funding, but see also the following on methane reductions:

    http://digg.com/environment/I_ve_found_a_way_to_save_the_world_from_flatulent_cows

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4582174.stm

    As final thoughts, grain-fed beef is clearly wasteful but so is brewing unless the spent grain is fed to livestock while many animals killed as pests are edible. True, the “Multiple McLocust” may not be a big seller (although they are apparently edible) byt Myxomatosis is surely unforgivable in terms of cruelty and waste.

    Given threats to food supplies like the new variant of black stem rust, which could cause massive wheat losses, perhaps we should ask whose job it it to ensure food security? Conventional economic policies are notoriously bad at coping with gluts – the relevant concepts are that demand for food as a whole is price inelastic, and that this can trigger the amusingly named “unstable cobweb”. Unfortunately this model predicts increasingly erratic food supplies and proce fluctuations, a situation worsened by farmers being told to diversify away from food production.

    While I suspect mainstream theory is correct on climate change, there are plenty of other potential threats to food e.g. a rerun of the Tambora eruption in 1815 which caused global cooling and massive crop losses. If the worst happens, should we eat anyone who claims at present that secure food supplies matter or that agriculture is just another industry?

  2. John Morton says:

    We should stop playing nice with these people are start kicking their asses out of their positions before they collapse our economies and standards of living back to the dark ages.

    I am tired of hearing that these “experts” are simply deluded, or just trying to help. They are DANGEROUS, and should be treated as such.

    http://www.ukcolumn.org/2008/09/11/global-warming-fanatics-on-the-rampage/

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