UN report says cows DO cause more global warming that cars?

From the upcoming UN report on global warming - apparently:

“Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.”


Anyone have a link directly to the report itself?

I’d rather have steak and prime rib than a gas powered car.

Ah Methane, the forgotten stepchild of the greenhouse gas debate.

Clearly the solution is to have the world’s biggest bar-b-que. You have to admit, watching peta try and stop anti-global warning groups from carrying out a billion cow cull would be better than Skating with the Stars.

if done right, you can actually channel methane into good uses, like burning it for fuel. Clean energy from farts!

Meat eating sickos have ruined my part of the planet =/

Just because someone eats meat does not mean they all eat cows for one thing, nor support the kind of factory farming that goes on in some parts of the world. Your tofu can be just as bad for the environment as someone’s steak, if it’s grown in a particular way.

There’s a lot of bad that large agribusiness does to the environment. You can see it in every food industry from cows to fisheries to soybeans. The real way to combat it is to support locally grown foods.

Nature abhors a mono-culture is true no matter where you put it on the food chain.

From the article it sounds like the man of the family is still ye olde carbondioxide “Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas”.

I’ve always had the attitude that, as a vegetarian, the sensible thing to do is just eat what I eat and let others eat what they eat. I was a meat-eater for a long time and nothing that anyone said to me about it ever made the least bit of difference to what I believed about it.

Still… reading something like this, I wonder if it mightn’t be appropriate to mention that the decision to eat meat imposes costs on other people as well as on animals… hmm.

Cows would still exist (and produce methane) even if we didn’t eat them. So the only real solution is bovine genocide.


Like I mentioned earlier, just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean the food you eat is any less damaging to the environment than that hamburger is. Being a vegetarian is not some sort of noble calling.

Dude, capture their farts for profit. CRISIS AVERTED!

Not necessarily true. I’m pretty sure that the it takes much more land to ‘grow’ a given amount of beef than to grow the same caloric amount of typical fruits and vegetables. i.e. A lot of land has to be used to grow the corn to feed the cattle.

So a vegetarian’s agricultural ‘footprint’ is likely to be much less than a meat-eater’s, not even counting this issue of methane/greenhouse gases.

That said, I’m not a vegetarian myself…

It is certainly smaller, so I’m not sure what Athryn is getting at. Maybe that a self sustaining farmer has a far smaller footprint than a vegetarian who is eating food from “the grid” (with all it’s fertalizing, shipping, cold storage, etc). Definitely true, but those people are pretty rare.

Vegetarians tend to get disproportinately self righteous about it, too. And I say that as a vegetarian for for 17 years and counting.

I’m starting to think it’s a feature of any ideology/belief/whatever that’s held by 10% of the population or less. Libertarians, hard core evangelicals, you name it.

Anyway, stuff like this report is an indictator that the “stopping global warming would be too expensive!” line is silly. There’s tons of cheap, low hanging fruit.

Assuming the report is true and that cattle contribute ~18% of global warming, how is this cheap, low hanging fruit? People like their meat and dairy products.

Perhaps there is a technological way to reduce methane output per animal, but I’m not aware of it, and would be interested if such a thing exists.

Edit - OK, the article appears to say that about half of the 18% comes from the agricultural side producing the feed, not the animals themselves (directly). But I still see that as hard to reduce, especially as the poorer parts of the world grow in income and want to eat hamburgers, too.

It’s actually a growing trend, albeit more common in California than most of the rest of the country. There are meat producers that use better farming methods, things like grass-fed beef, etc. The upside is of course that this meat actually tastes better than the factory farmed food.

Self righteous vegetarians are silly, because just because you only eat vegetables doesn’t mean it’s any less of an environmental impact.

Again, I’m not a vegetarian, nor terribly fond of vegetarians who are overly self-righteous, but how can you argue against the idea that vegetarians will likely have less environmental impact than meat eaters (on average). Presumably it takes far more farmland to grow feed to produce 3000 calories of beef than to produce 3000 calories of rice or sweet corn…

It’s not even the amount of land that is used but rather the amount of additioanl fresh water that goes into growing 3000 calories of meat when compared to 3000 calories of rice.