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Topics - Lynn Shwadchuck

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Policy and solutions / Is a carbon tax dead in the water?
« on: July 02, 2014, 05:44:03 PM »
I've just watched Dr. Natalia Shakhova's long interview this month, following the winter expedition to the ESAS. The results are scarier than ever. She is candid about geoengineering being just plain silly. AMEG appears to have wiped any references to geoengineering from their site – I suspect on her advice. Two of their members, John Nissen and David Wasdell question the Government and IPCC panel in Westminster London 2014 in a rough cell phone video. It's on  the AMEG Facebook page, so I can't link to the video here. They question the IPCC work group's failure to highlight the urgency of the condition of the Arctic sea ice. The panel's answer is essentially 'risk management': 'Economic sensitivity' and low-income populations' potential social unrest from carbon pricing is a scarier risk to the governments of the world than climate sensitivity.

The Shakhova videos are linked on the AMEG Facebook page and also in Vergent's topic here, "This is not good".,484.0.html

Jame's Hansen's latest post winds up with his request:

How can we make the next President understand what is needed before he or she is elected? We must get the concept of a carbon fee with 100% of the funds going to the public into the political conversation. The dividend can be described as a rebate or clean energy credit. Citizens Climate Lobby, which I have written about earlier, is growing rapidly, but needs to get bigger and more visible. Consider joining or starting a local chapter.The immediate ask is that you call your local Congress person on 23 June to express support for climate solutions and specifically for the simple honest fee - and - dividend approach.
The next day several hundred CCL members will be visiting Congress people at their offices in Washington. Calls from constituents on the preceding day could make their visits more effective.
Information to help you make the call is available at
Jim Hansen

From the Citizens Climate Lobby site after this event:
'“When people like former Treasury secretaries Hank Paulson and George Shultz, both Republicans, start talking about the extreme risk of taking no action on global warming, it increases the pressure on Congress to come up with solutions,” said Mark Reynolds, CCL executive director. “Members of Congress and their staff were listening to our proposal in a way they hadn’t before, and the Risky Business report certainly helped to pique their interest.'

Policy and solutions / Klaus Lackner's carbon capture from air
« on: April 12, 2013, 11:18:34 PM »
This is news to me and very promising.

Walking the walk / Meat Consumption and Global Warming
« on: March 06, 2013, 08:51:09 PM »
Here are a few key points gleaned from Vaclav Smil on this topic. The whole chapter from his book Population and Development Review is available here:

Animal foods provided generally less than 15 percent of all dietary protein, and saturated animal fats supplied just around 10 percent of all food energy for preindustrial populations.

In 1900 just over 10 percent of the world’s grain harvest was fed to animals, most of it going to energize the field work of draft horses, mules, cattle, and water buffaloes rather than to produce meat. By 1950 the global share of cereals used for feeding reached 20 percent, and it surpassed 40 percent during the late 1990s (USDA 2001a). National shares of grain fed to animals now range from just over 60 percent in the United States to less than 5 percent in India.

In macronutrient terms, meat now supplies 10 percent of all food energy and more than 25 percent of all protein in rich countries, while the corresponding shares are, respectively, merely 6 percent and 13 percent for the poor world.

Grain harvests in highly carnivorous countries, or in countries producing feeds for export, must be multiples of those needed for direct human consumption, and the food demand of a modern urbanite has to be a multiple of the area claimed by an overwhelmingly (or entirely) vegetarian subsistence peasant.

At least 80 percent and as much as 96 percent of all protein in cereal and leguminous grains fed to animals are not converted to edible protein.

An overwhelmingly vegetarian diet produced by modern high-intensity cropping needs no more than 800 m2 of arable land per capita. A fairly balanced Chinese diet of the late 1990s, containing less than 20 kg of meat, was produced from an average of 1,100 m2/ capita; the typical Western diet now claims up to 4,000 m2/capita.

Adequate water supply is now widely seen as one of the key concerns of the twenty-first century. Few economic endeavors are as waterintensive
as meat production in general and cattle feeding in particular.

The modern separation of large-scale livestock production from field agriculture makes it impossible to recycle the large volume of wastes produced by thousands of animals concentrated in huge feedlots or sties.

Meat production is also a significant source of greenhouse gases. Enteric fermentation in bovines is a major source of methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas whose global warming potential (GWP, over a period of 100 years) is 23 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the first 20 years of its atmospheric residence (CDIAC 2001). And denitrification of nitrates in synthetic fertilizers and in animal manures releases nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas with a GWP nearly 300 times that of CO2 (CDIAC 2001). But because meat production requires heavy inputs of agrochemicals and inputs of fuel and electricity for manufacturing and operating field and barn machinery, its most important impact on global warming is, nevertheless, due to CO2 generated from the combustion of fossil fuels used to make these additional inputs. CO2 is also released from the burning of tropical forests that are being converted to pastures.

.... end of clipped quotes....

Only a globally implemented carbon tax that reflects the true cost of this food will change deeply embedded eating habits, I believe. However, it does help to set an example of an alternate way of feeding ourselves. This has been my little soapbox for about three years now.

A more enjoyable read on this topic is Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma.

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