19 May An Amazing Update on the Climate Healers Position Paper
Dear Climate Healers,
Have you noticed that climate change is in our faces lately? The top three stories on the New York Times web site on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, were
1. Heat Will Likely Soar to Record Levels in Next 5 Years, New Analysis Says
The World Meterological Organization forecast “far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment” with global temperatures likely to exceed 1.5 deg C by 2027.
2. Canada Wildfires Have Been Disrupting Lives. Now, Oil and Gas Take a Hit.
Alberta’s vast oil industry is cutting production as the flames menace wells and pipelines, highlighting the danger.
3. Formula 1 Cancels Grand Prix Amid Deadly Floods in Italy
Formula I canceled this weekend’s Grand Prix after heavy rain and flooding in Italy made it unsafe to proceed with the race.
To paraphrase Glen Merzer, it’s as if Mother Nature is saying, “This beautiful, blue green planet is yours to keep if you can figure out how to take care of all the plant and animal life on it. But if you can’t figure it out, I’ll burn you to a crisp or drown you, take your pick.”
Therefore, let’s figure it out, shall we? The Climate Healers animal agriculture position paper showed that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 87% of greenhouse gas emissions annually when we take into account the opportunity cost of the land used for animal agriculture. This calculation was based on data found in UN reports and peer reviewed scientific papers, valid as of 2019. Since then, the UN IPCC released the Sixth Assessment Report and it had some glaring omissions and some important updates.
One of the glaring omissions is that the biomass flow diagram (Fig. 11.9, Page 836) from Working Group 3, Chapter 11 of the Fifth Assessment Report has disappeared in the Sixth Assessment Report. It’s as if the political process used to compile the UN IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report – a process that let political representatives from a few nations delete the scientific recommendation to adopt a plant-based diet – deemed that is too much information from which pesky systems engineers can conclude that animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change. That biomass flow diagram diagram and the accompanying data is not there anymore. Therefore, we will assume that the relevant data in the Fifth Assessment Report is still valid.
Next, one of the important updates is that the ratio of the CO2 embedded in soil and root systems to the CO2 embedded in above ground vegetation has been revised upward in the Sixth Assessment Report. This means that for every 1 Kg of CO2 stored in above ground vegetation on land, there is now an estimated 3.77 Kgs of CO2 stored in root systems and the soil, not just a little over 2 Kgs as in Working Group 1, Chapter 6, Fig 6.1 of the Fifth Assessment Report. Recall that the opportunity cost of the land used for animal agriculture was calculated to be 34.5 Gigatons of CO2 in the CH position paper, based on tripling the 11.5 Gt CO2 in the above ground vegetation consumed by farmed animals today, to account for the CO2 stored in root systems and the soil. Using the updated Sixth Assessment Report (see Fig. 5.12, page 700) estimates, we can now multiply by 4.77 (= 2150/450) the CO2 embedded in the above ground vegetation consumed by farmed animals, not just triple it, to include CO2 stored in root systems and the soil, which means that the opportunity cost of the land used for animal agriculture is now at least 54.9 Gt CO2, not 34.5 Gt CO2.
When we plug in this updated opportunity cost of the land use, animal agriculture is now responsible for at least 118% of greenhouse gas emissions annually. This estimate is greater than 100% implying that if we all go vegan and transition to a socially just, plant-based, ecosystem restoration economy from our current socially unjust, animal-based, resource extraction economy, then the CO2 levels in the atmosphere will decline and the earth will grow cooler annually, even if all our other consumer demands remain the same as before.
Isn’t that amazing? What are we waiting for?
Thank you for your support.
HELP us every day to
Heal the planet.
It’s that simple.
Thanks again for being a superhero and joining our herd. Please forward this post to all your friends and let’s grow our MOOOvement together.
With much love,
Sailesh on behalf of Vega, Cow and Climate Healer and the Climate Healers core team
(Akhil, Alison, Anne, BJ, Carl, Chip, Debra, Gabriele, Giva, Ilse, Jamen, Kelly, Ken, Kimaya, Krish, Maggie, Marco, Paige, Pareen, Paul, Ray, Sailesh, Sarah, Shankar, Stacey, Suzanne, Tami and Vega, the Cow and Climate Healer).