Nature notes: Cows cooking up the planet

Plus: Nine out of 10 Canadians say they support pledging new action to reduce the nation's greenhouse gases


As international climate talks heated up in Peru this week, a report out of the UK drew attention to a subject often overlooked in these negotiations: livestock.

According to international affairs think tank Chatham House, greenhouse gases associated with meat and dairy livestock account for more carbon emissions than all the world’s cars, trains, ships and planes combined – some 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gases, in fact. That’s also “considerably more” than the emissions produced by the world’s largest economy, the United States.

Livestock production is the biggest global source of two particularly potent greenhouse gases: methane and nitrous oxide, so it’s definitely very bad news that meat and dairy consumption are on the rise around the world.

Despite the scale and trajectory of these emissions, the report stops short of recommending we all become vegans. But it does make clear that it’s time to put the livestock industry and our food choices on the table at the next round of climate talks. “Crucially, dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2° Celsius – the stated objective of the international community.”


Feds flunk climate ranking as Canadians call for action

A new poll by Environics reveals that most Canadians support climate action but are pretty oblivious to Canada’s international rep as a climate villain. 

Nine out of 10 Canadians say they support pledging new action to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gases. Indeed, more than half of those surveyed support a BC-style carbon tax for their province. Seventy-eight per cent are concerned about what climate change may mean for children or future generations.

Yet most Canadians seem unaware that other nations view the Harper government as a rogue, foot-dragging climate saboteur – or the fact that year after year Canada has ranked at the back of the global pack on climate action. (The latest climate ranking by Germanwatch lumped Canada with Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.) According to Environics, most Canadians believe we are doing as well or better than other countries in tackling the issue.

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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