UN Urges: Eat Less Meat to Fight Warming

Cattle 'emissions' equal effect of 33 million automobiles
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted Sep 7, 2008 7:20 AM CDT
The top UN climate change expert is encouraging meat-eaters to go vegetarian at least one day a week to help combat the meat industry's effect on global warming.   ((c) Wouter de Bruijn)
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(Newser) – Meat-eaters who want to help fight global warming can do so by going vegetarian at least one day a week, a top UN official tells the Guardian. The meat industry accounts for an estimated one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, released during feed production and as methane by flatulent livestock. Meat consumption has gone up fivefold since 1950, and is predicted to double by 2050.

Methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, making cow emissions more dangerous than car pollution. “The methane that cattle and their manure produce has a global warming effect equal to that of 33 million automobiles,” reports one environmentalist group. Feeding cattle is also less nutritionally efficient than using the crops they consume to feed people instead, and contributes to soil erosion, water pollution and deforestation.