US-based environmental group, Clean Air Task Force (CATF) has been
researching ways to decrease both air pollution and global warming, by
focusing primarily on the so-called “basket” of shorter-lived climate
According to CATF scientist Dr. Ellen Baum, reducing
substances like black carbon, tropospheric ozone, and methane would be
more effective in quickly cooling the planet than prioritizing carbon
dioxide mitigation. Dr. Ellen
Baum – Researcher, Clean Air Task Force, USA; Vegetarian (F):
would get both the air quality benefit and you’d get a much faster
climate response from reductions than you would get by being able to cut
carbon dioxide. And we don’t seem to be cutting carbon dioxide either.
VOICE: In particular, Dr. Baum explained why a focus on
reducing human-caused methane is urgently needed. Whereas carbon dioxide
can take hundreds or even thousands of years to stop heating the
atmosphere, methane dissipates in a small fraction of that time.Dr. Ellen Baum (F):
Methane has a
much shorter lifetime than CO2, and therefore it is something we think
needs immediate attention. It’s also a precursor to tropospheric ozone,
and probably one of the best ways to reduce the part of tropospheric
ozone that has the most climate impact.
VOICE: Among all global
human sources of methane, the livestock industry is by far the largest
at 37%, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization, and even more in certain countries.
Dr. Baum, a
vegetarian herself, explained the implications of removing this major
source of planetary warming.Dr.
Ellen Baum (F):
If we ate no meat, it would have a beneficial
effect on the climate in all sorts of ways. You would have a much
smaller population of ruminant livestock, so you wouldn’t have methane
You wouldn’t have to have the conversion of land to
grazing land so that you would have beef operations. So, I don’t have
any question if the whole population worldwide, 7 billion people stopped
eating meat, it would make a difference.
VOICE: Dr. Baum and
Clean Air Task Force, we appreciate your efforts in calling attention to
these atmospheric agents that account significantly toward global
warming. May we all do our part to curb such harmful effects through the
simple and humane change to meat-free fare.
Supreme Master Ching
Hai has frequently advocated a focus on eliminating short-lived
greenhouse gases like methane, as during an interview published in the
December 16, 2009 edition of The Irish Dog Journal.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: Methane, the
potent, greenhouse gas whose largest human-created source is the
livestock industry, traps a hundred times more heat than carbon dioxide
over a 20-year period. http://www.htap.org/meetings/2009/2009_04/Presentations/Day%202/03%20Wilson/AMAP%20Efforts%20on%20Short-Lived%20Climate%20Forcing%20Agents.pdfhttp://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm
Until now most studies used the fact that
methane is 23 times more heat trapping than CO2, over 100 years, which
gives a less accurate picture about methane in its actual life span.
the powerful methane is actually a greater cause of the warming than
previously estimated. The good news is that methane dissipates from the
atmosphere in approximately 12 years, whereas it takes carbon dioxide
thousands of years to disappear.
So, if we want to make a rapid,
effective difference now, we must stop the methane generation at its
largest, original source: that is, the livestock industry.