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MC(f): Mr. Jens Holm of Sweden, former Member of the European Parliament, is another climate change expert. He has sent us his greeting in a message via video. Let's hear from him now.

Jens Holm(m): My name is Jens Holm. I was a member of the European Parliament between 2006 and 2009. I'd like to greet all the participants of this very important climate conference. Here in Sweden and in Europe, we're getting prepared for the big climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. So it's very handy that you organize a conference about climate change So you in the U.S. also can get prepared for action for the climate. Because we all know that the situation is very, very crucial. It's not only a matter of putting pressure on the politicians; it's also a matter of what you and I can do, and I think there is a lot we can do. We all know about driving less cars, stop flying with the airplanes, taking the train instead, and so on.

But I think also we can change the climate by stop eating meat. The meat production is actually responsible for more than all the emissions together from the world's entire transport sector. That means that meat production emits more gases than the cars, than the trucks, than the airplanes and the boats together. So,by stopping eating meat you can save the planet and you can save the climate. So,please,become a part of the solution: stop eating meat. My vision is that by 2012, all countries in the world have adopted ambitious targets for cutting the emissions of climate gases and that all of us, we are not any longer a part of the problem. We are a part of the solution.

MC(m): Thank you,Mr. Jens Holm. The effects of climate change are certainly being felt in the United States. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina smashed through New Orleans, leaving over 80% of the city flooded. Last year,Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought in California. And temperatures are still on the rise. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the combined global land and ocean surface temperature in September was the second warmest on record.

MC(f): Climate change is having devastating effects on other nations. Our next address is from Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, the former Minister of Environment and Forests for India. She has been a Member of the Indian Parliament continuously since 1989. Mrs. Gandhi has received many awards for her environmental work, including the prestigious A.S.G. Jayakar Award for creating awareness about climate change, animal welfare, and deforestation. Please listen to Mrs. Maneka Gandhi.

Maneka Gandhi(f): I would like to say my namaskar (greetings) to Supreme Master Ching Hai and to all of you in the audience. I wish I could have been with you today but,unfortunately, I have parliament. For many years now we have been experiencing the problems of climate change. In my own constituency there was a terrible drought this year. And just when the government had come to grips with it, it turned into an unseasonal flood. The farmers lost everything. The lentils I eat,regarded as a staple in India, are now so expensive that they have become a luxury. We have no rain,no water, increasing heat,drying rivers,and dying people.

Do you feel powerless as an individual to stop the world from dying? Let me explain how you and I can turn this around immediately. Methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases,which means that their presence in the air traps heat and affects the Earth's temperature and climate, making the planet warmer. As it warms, the climate changes and the glaciers melt. When the glaciers melt, the rivers first flood and then dry up. Let's take methane. It's an easy problem to deal with. It's produced from four sources: livestock (livestock manure), rice farming, coal mining,and landfills.

The time has come for both the developed and developing world to recognize that reducing methane is the quickest way to stop global warming, while we wrestle with the problems of technology changes for reducing carbon dioxide. What makes methane so lethal? It may be less than carbon dioxide,but it is 23 times more efficient in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. And methane has a large effect for a brief period. In fact,it lasts in the air for a net lifetime of about 8.4 years, whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period. What does that mean? It means that if we stop generating methane today, we will see the effect almost immediately. In developed countries, the eating of meat has risen from 65 kilos to 100 kilos per year. One hundred kilos means over 300 animals are killed by one person every year.

Meat eating, why is it a problem? Because it increases both carbon dioxide and methane. Producing one steak in your supermarket takes roughly 60,000 calories of energy. Keeping cattle or pigs, growing food for them, feeding them, transporting them, killing them,cleaning and packaging the meat, sending it by air-conditioned vehicles to the supermarkets which keep it in freezers, then you buy it,then it's in fridges at home, and then you cook it because you can't eat it raw. This is all carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide will increase because forests are cut by the minute in places like Brazil,China, Indonesia,India,just so that we can graze the cattle,the pigs,the hens, the goats,the sheep. These forests absorb carbon dioxide. So when we cut down the forests,we cut down the carbon sinks and we exchange them for meat. Now comes methane and its relationship to meat:

Livestock produces 23% of all methane,because of the fermentation in their intestines, which produces gas in these animals. It is produced in their manure, in the wastewater that they produce. A single dairy cow produces between 550 to 700 liters of methane a day. The world's top destroyer of the atmosphere is not the car,nor the factory - it is the meat-eating human being. There is a 400-page United Nations report, which has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate,forests, wildlife and the continuation of the Earth.

Your ham sandwich is killing me. Your ham sandwich is killing the Earth. Livestock produces more than 100 other polluting gases,including two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia. Ammonia creates acid rain. Acid rain destroys forests. And over-grazing has turned pastures and mountain ranges,like my Aravalli Range,which used to protect Delhi and no longer does so because it has become a desert.

Cows soak up vast amounts of water. It takes a staggering 990 liters of water to produce one liter of milk. Wastes from feed lots and fertilizers,used to grow their feed,all wash down to the sea. It kills the coral reefs and it creates dead zones. There are over 200 dead zones in the ocean now - thousands of kilometers wide - including near India, including off Washington, which have no life.

Diet change would make far more of a difference than trading in, for instance,your car. Many people think that if they trade in a standard car for a more efficient hybrid car, this will save the Earth; but it doesn't. It reduces annual greenhouse emissions by just 1 ton a year, and then you create 1.5 tons by eating meat. All 1.5 billion cows in the world,you created them. They don't want to be killed,but you kill them to eat. In the process, you kill not just them, you kill the planet.

Now what can we do? The costs of reducing carbon dioxide are much larger because it needs technology. The cost of reducing methane is zero - simply stop eating meat. We can remove methane in one day starting with today's dinner. If you stop eating meat today,you will stop my Ganges glacier from melting, and 23% of my people will survive,because the magnificent and holy Ganges will stop turning into a stream. And how will this impact you? My people will not become refugees and storm your gates to enter your country. So,not only will you save the world yourself, stopping eating meat will also stop so much poverty on the planet. It brings you better health. It eliminates most cancers. It frees up masses of land for vegetables and grains and really good eating. It allows water for the poor.

For instance,do you know that one slaughterhouse in my city uses 16 million liters a day,and one family gets one liter? Take the power into your own hands. You can become an Earth-saver. You don't need machines. You don't need governments. You don't even need treaties like the Copenhagen treaty; you can stop it today by yourself. Maybe this is the ultimate lesson that nature is trying to teach us: Good gets good. Don't kill and don't be killed. Thank you.

MC(f): Thank you,Mrs. Gandhi. Your desire to protect all life is an inspiration to all. We wish you much success in your noble political service.

MC(m): And now,for a dramatic change of pace. According to TIME magazine, Albert Einstein was the quintessential genius of the 20th century. Often,when Einstein was faced with a problem, he would pick up his violin and play until a solution entered his consciousness. Music was the source of his inspiration.

MC(f): Our next performer is definitely a source of inspiration! Ms. Jee-Youn Kim graduated from the Yonsei University, and has performed extensively in Korea. She plays the electric violin,often creating upbeat versions of classical compositions. This afternoon she will share her lively rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Jee-Youn Kim.

MC(m): Thank you very much, Ms. Jee-Youn Kim, for uplifting our spirits and sharing your heartfelt enthusiasm for music.

MC(f): Yes, that was truly inspiring! Now,let's return to our topic of climate change. Our next speaker, Dr. Noam Mohr, is a graduate from both Yale and Pennsylvania State Universities. He is currently an adjunct professor of physics at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Mohr will explain the importance of short-lived greenhouse gases. Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Noam Mohr.

Mr. Noam Mohr (m): Thanks, I'm happy to be here. Global warming is one of the biggest environmental threats ever faced by humanity for the sheer scale of the problem. The emissions we emit today are ones that will continue warming the Earth for centuries to come. And with the threats, the risks that temperature increases pose- the rising sea levels, the melting glaciers, the increase in extreme weather phenomena like droughts and hurricanes- people are coming to the point where they realize inaction is impossible.

And the question is: What can we best do about it? Traditionally, the pole focus has been on sources of carbon dioxide: burning gasoline in our gas tanks; burning fossil fuels in our power plants; and, of course,very important to address those sources. But it turns out when you look at the data, especially when you focus on the near-term, arguably the best place to focus our efforts is on animal agriculture. This is really surprising.

People don't usually think of the things that they sit down to eat at dinner could be affecting the climate of the entire planet. So,it's really interesting information,and really powerful information, because it means we can start doing something about it and get a lot of bang for our buck. The UN has said that the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every scale, from local to global. That means every major environmental problem has animal agriculture at the top of the list of causes.

I mean,it's amazing to think that one industry, especially this industry of raising animals for food could be so powerful. But when you realize that it is,it really makes sense that this is also having such a big effect on climate change,and that it is a rich source of opportunity to do something about it. So,first,let's see why this is such a big influence.

The UN has estimated that 18% of our emissions causing global warming today are due to animal agriculture. For a comparison, as Mr. Holm pointed out, all the cars,and trucks and SUVs and planes and trains and other modes of transportation in the world together amount to about 12%. So,animal agriculture alone is a far bigger chunk of the problem than all those sources, important sources as they are,put together.

The University of Chicago did a study which they measured for the average American. If the average American switched their diet to a vegetarian diet, how much global warming would that save? And they found it was about 40% more than if they switched their car in for a hybrid Toyota Prius, which is a big focus of environmentalists' efforts to improve our emissions. Definitely it's a big positive step to switch your car for a Prius, but it's really telling that we can make an even bigger difference by reducing our consumption of animal products.

These are big numbers as they are. And I'll talk about why they're such big numbers, and then talk about why these numbers are truly underestimates of the scope of the problem. And it's hard to imagine when you look at one cow in a field, how could this cow be changing the climate for the entire world? If you look at a chicken hatching from its egg, it just doesn't seem like the chicken could be doing much for the entire world.

But when you look at the vast numbers of animals involved, it's really staggering. You start to realize the scope of the problem. When you look at the vast numbers involved, it really becomes quite obvious the scope of what we're talking about. In the US alone in 2008, just to feed Americans, 80 billion animals were killed. The numbers are just hard to get your head around. If you look at the entire animal biomass of the Earth,all the animals in the world, you'll find one-fifth of those are animals we're raising for food - one in every five! So,the numbers are just staggering.

If you look at the surface of the Earth,30% of the ice-free land surface of the Earth is being used to raise animals for food, for pasture land, or to grow feed for those animals. So,this is a huge part of our economy,a huge part of our human efforts, and so it makes sense that it would be a huge part of our environmental problems. And if you think about it in your own life, how much money you spend on food, how big a part of your life is food?

You go outside and see restaurants and supermarkets and so on… the food we eat is a big part of what humans do and it only makes sense that it's a huge part of the problem. As bad as it is today, as bad as the emissions are from this sector,think about what will happen if we don't do anything. Meat consumption has increased 5 times in the past 50 years, and it's on schedule to double again in the next decade or two. So,as bad as things are now,they're only getting worse if we do nothing, and these kinds of increases threaten to swamp improvements we make in emissions in other areas. So,we absolutely cannot neglect this important area.

Why do these animals and their production emit so much global warming gases? Well,people often look at carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide is a big part of the problem. And animal agriculture contributes a great deal to carbon dioxide. To produce one calorie of animal protein takes 11 times as much energy input as one calorie of plant protein production takes. So it's very energy intensive. It takes lots of power.

Maneka Gandhi talked about all the different things you have to do to get animals to your plate, from growing far more plants than you would need if you ate them directly in order to feed to the animals, grow the animals, slaughter them, at different locations, transport them to your stores and then finally to your homes, refrigerate them- all that is very energy intensive. And among all the species that we eat, fish is probably the worst in this regard, very energy intensive, on average. Deforestation is also a big source of these emissions.

As we burn forests in order to produce pasture land and farming land to grow feed for animals,we're emitting all the carbon these trees have taken out of the atmosphere during their entire lifetimes, emitting them all at once, that's a huge source of our carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. And if you look at formerly forested Amazon rainforest now converted into land used for growing animals for food, it amounts to 90% of all the Amazon rainforest that's been deforested since 1970 - 90%! So,when you see all this deforestation,we need to think: it's related to what we sit down and eat at meal time.

The deforestation also emits black carbon, which is very efficient at absorbing light. And that adds an extra danger,as this very absorbing material can float through the atmosphere into places like Antarctica, which are very bright and reflect sunlight. Reflecting sunlight is good because it keeps the Earth cooler. But as black carbon floats down to Antarctica, absorbing more sunlight, it presents a danger of increasing melting there.

And melting of Antarctic ice has dramatic potential effects on global sea levels and coastal flooding. So there are a lot of dangers just on the carbon dioxide side. But other gases also pose a big problem. And the other gases are often overlooked in all the focus on carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is produced by far in the greatest quantities of all the gases we emit. But it's not the most powerful at warming the Earth,at all. Other gases can be much more powerful at warming the Earth.

Methane,for example, causes 25 times as much warming as carbon dioxide over 100 years. Other gases like nitrous oxide can be about 300 times,cause 300 times more warming over 100 years. Those are numbers that are often taken into account. And as a result, when you look back at historical warming, carbon dioxide is responsible for about half the problem, and other gases,mainly methane,are responsible for the other half. So it's important not to overlook these other gases.

But when you look at near-term warming,the numbers are bigger than are usually calculated. If you look over 20 years, methane is not 25 times more powerful,it's 72 times more powerful. So all the numbers that are calculated by the UN, by the Chicago Study, by lots of studies,which look at the standard of what happens over 100 years,are skewed when you look at the near-term effects. And in the near-term effects, sources of other gases, like sources of methane, have an outsized effect; and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.

So,that's one reason why animal agriculture has a bigger effect than even these large numbers suggest. Another reason why animal agriculture has a bigger cause than most numbers suggest is aerosols. Aerosols are the tiny particles that make up smog. Whenever we burn fossil fuels,they emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide, they also emit aerosols. Aerosols are bad for our health,but they also reflect sunlight,and therefore cool the Earth.

If you look historically at the amount of warming caused by carbon dioxide and the amount of cooling caused by aerosols, it's hard to calculate the effect of aerosols because there's a lot of uncertainty. But roughly,they're on the same scale. So,much of the warming we've been seeing has been caused by these other gases,by the sources of other gases, rather than sources of carbon dioxide because those sources have been emitting carbon dioxide and heat-reflecting aerosols.

That doesn't mean we don't need to worry ourselves about burning fossil fuels, because carbon dioxide lasts in the atmosphere for centuries. Our emissions are ones we're stuck with for hundreds of years, while aerosols only last for a short time and we're getting rid of them from the environment anyway because they're bad for our health. So,it's not a reason not to do anything about power plants and vehicles, but it does mean that in the near-term, sources of other gases,of which animal agriculture is the biggest source,have a truly outsized effect on the warming we're seeing and will be seeing in the near-term.

So,when you look at methane you realize that the biggest source is our meat production - produces about 100 million tons a year, most of it in the form of digestion. These animals can digest things that we can't eat, like grass,and they do it through a special process, through bacteria in their gut that will emit methane. So,the huge numbers of animals we produce end up producing huge amounts of methane. The biggest culprit is dairy production; they produce more methane than any other source.

But,another source is the manure they produce, which tends to be kept in huge manure lagoons, acres and acres of cesspools, all emitting this methane. And when it comes to manure,pig production is the biggest culprit. They all produce methane. Right now the air we're breathing has more than double the methane it did before industrialization. So the effect has been really big,and this methane is very powerful at trapping heat. So,when you look overall,this is a very powerful message, because it means we can have a really big impact on the climate change problem,an impact that most people aren't aware they can have. It's very empowering.

When you look at it, not only is the effect big, but once we try to address the problem through reductions in animal agriculture, we get benefits of quick turnaround. Even if we stopped selling cars that were inefficient and produced lots of carbon dioxide, it would still take years for the cars that are on the road to no longer be driven. And the turnaround time for power plants is much longer,while the turnaround time for farmed animals is really pretty short.

Even the longest lived farmed animals today generally live only up to 2 years. So changes we make today are quickly implemented. They also mean quick results. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries. It's still very important to deal with carbon dioxide for that very reason, but methane is in the atmosphere for only about 12 years. So if we make reductions in methane sources, the biggest one being animal agriculture, we'll quickly see changes in near-term effects.

This is extremely important - to remember the near-term - because we are approaching tipping points in the next few years which could cause irreversible changes, and anything we can do to slow the process of getting to that point is urgent. By addressing through animal agriculture,we can also increase sources of carbon sinks. Right now,70% of the world's agricultural land is being used to raise animals for food.

By having the opportunity to return some of that land to its natural state, we allow to grow the plants that were destroyed before that serve to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Targeting animal agriculture is also a lot cheaper than other sources,because it is easy for anyone to choose one source of food versus another source of food every time they sit down to dinner. It's a lot harder for a person to say,“No, I want to switch from burning fossil fuels to solar or wind power.” That takes an investment and longer-term plan.

One study found that we could reduce the economic burden of reaching our climate targets by 80% if we focused on animal agriculture rather than traditional sources. Finally,it's really empowering to people who see this problem around the world and get frustrated when political leaders don't seem to be doing anything, and they feel helpless; people feel helpless.

Knowing that what people eat every time they sit down to dinner makes a difference for the entire world, means we can each make a difference. Every time we sit down to dinner, simply by switching your hamburger to a veggie burger,you can make a difference for the future of the planet, for the health of the planet. It's a message which people can take with them that's positive and which they can implement in their own lives.

So,this is an unparalleled opportunity to make great progress in addressing global warming, curbing global warming, particularly in the near-term, while reducing the economic burden of doing so, and at the same time, addressing all the other environmental problems that the UN said animal agriculture is also a top contributor to. It's just great news to know that what's good for you,for your health, is also good for the planet. This is not a replacement for all the other important strategies that people talk about, but it is the one that may give us the biggest bang for our buck. Thanks.

MC(m): Many thanks,Dr. Mohr, for sharing your research on the sources and effects of increased atmospheric methane. There is new evidence that livestock raising may actually contribute much more to climate change than previously thought. The Worldwatch Institute has released a new study called "Livestock and Climate Change” which states,and I quote: “…our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 51% of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions."

MC(f): Yes,I read that,too. And the livestock industry not only contributes to climate change,it is also a root cause in many of our infectious diseases. Our next speaker will tell us more.

Mr. Torregiante (m): I've turned into a vegetarian myself, and hopefully a vegan when it's all over with, because I know that it contributes a lot to global warming, the methane gas,from the cows and all the animals. But everybody has to get on board. It's just not me and you and 5,000 other people; it's got to be millions of people who have to join this cause.

Jenny Huang (f): I heard a lot of inspiring talk,and from the speakers as well as Master Ching Hai. The key message from this conference is,well, everybody can do something about it. And also it's really about considering the next generation. The impact is not just for developing countries or some far away problem. It's actually something very much, much closer to us than I think most of the people are aware of. So that's even a more powerful message: that everybody has to do something to be a contributor.

Glen (f): I just am reminded how important it is to be compassionate and I understand about the importance of being vegetarian or vegan. But it's encouraged me to share it with other people. Just hearing all of these incredible speakers today, it's just really opened my eyes. We need to do something now. And that's what's so wonderful about being vegan: it can be a really… almost an immediate change.

Joseph (m): There's definitely a chance that people will take a lot away from this conference. And I know I personally was touched by all the talking about veganism and vegetarianism. I'm considering becoming

vegetarian after this; I think that's a step that a lot of people can take. And I really think that it could help make a difference.

All: Be veg! Go green! Save the planet!
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