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Climate Change – Blog Action Day 2009

Will someone please sort out the facts from the BS. If climate change is occurring – whether warming or cooling, it is not an issues reserved for international politicians to discuss, the media to sensationalize, scientists to hypothesize about, or business to find a solution to. All of these are good and useful things if the effort is pointing in a common direction at a known goal. Until that is adequately and definitively defined there will always be cross purposes in every decision made and article published on the matter.

I’m not looking for the official statement from the President, cause despite his Nobel Peace Prize, he seems to be facing the same information/directional issues on the matter as the rest of us. Rather than arguing whether or not it might be cooling or warming, there are some simple suggestions that are conveniently being ignored.

Fossil Fuels reserves are limited. We will not run out today or in the next couple of years, but at some point in the future it will be more difficult, energy intensive and costly to extract this energy. A global plan to reduce reliance on fossil fuels would go a long way to solving many of the problems we face from pollution in cities, the carbon intensity of our transportation system, to the technological challenges we face in trying to replace these fuels.

The precautionary principle is often held as an ideal, but rarely used in political decision making. The might be a good place to test it out. Likewise, ideas such as the Natural Step can inform and direct policy and systemic change at all levels of government and corporations.

It is time to stop talking about whether or not global warming is happening and start acting on the best information we have available today. If that changes in a couple of years time, we change the plan. I learnt long ago that the best laid plans go to crap in the first minute of battle. But it doesn’t stop you planning – or going to battle.

Posted for Blog Action Day – October 15, 2009

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

2 thoughts on “Climate Change – Blog Action Day 2009

  1. The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennium, according to a number of climate studies. And the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.

  2. In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, it is vital the following information be disseminated to the public as well as to our political leaders.

    A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock’s Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to livestock….however recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of “Livestock and Climate Change” in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!

    http://www.51percent.org

    The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are: (1) Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock. (2) Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2 (3) Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world. (4) Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

    Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

    Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say “This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.”

    The fact is that we are being informed of the dangerous path we are on by depending greatly on animal flesh for human consumption. We still have the opportunity to make the most effective steps in saving ourselves and this planet. By simply choosing a plant based diet we can reduce our carbon foot print by a huge amount.

    We are gambling with our lives and with those of our future generations to come. It’s madness to know we are fully aware of the possible consequences but yet are failing to act.

    Promoting a plant based diet to the public is would be the most effective way to curb deforestation, we hope this will be adopted as a significant measure to save the rainforests and protect the delicate ecology.

    Thank you for your consideration.

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