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Coalition of the Willing

April 30, 2012 - A report in a recent issue of World Watch magazine maintains that livestock herds have grown to the point that their emissions are a primary driver of global warming.  The report's authors, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, in analyzing data regarding herds of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry, find the livestock responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions.   Goodland, a former World Bank environmental adviser, and Anhang, an environmental specialist for the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation, believe meat substitutes offer the least painful way of decreasing people's consumption of meat.  In their report, they clarify the need for such action:

                     "Today, tens of billions more livestock are exhaling CO2 than in preindustrial days,
                      while Earth's photosynthetic capacity (its capacity to keep carbon out of the atmos-
                      phere by absorbing it in plant mass) has declined sharply as forest has been cleared.
                      (Meanwhile, of course, we add more carbon to the air by burning fossil fuels, further
                      overwhelming the carbon-absorption system.)"

Substitutes for dairy products are constantly being developed, though I for one would be interested in knowing their carbon footprint.  Goodland and Anhang maintain "Meat and dairy analog projects will not only slow climate change but also help ease the global food crisis ...".  Sounds like the beginnings of a move, not just in the direction of vegetarianism, but for some, veganism.  Lots of changes in the offing, there can be no doubt!

Last week I wrote about the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), formed with the intention of decreasing the amount of short-lived pollutants in the atmosphere.  Today I read that Colombia, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, the European Commission, and the World Bank have all become members of the CCAC.  Five other countries - Australia, Denmark, Finalnd, South Korea, and England - attended the Coalition's first meeting last week as observers, along with delegates from the private sector.  The meeting coincided with Stockholm+40, a conference celebrating 40 years of environmental activism that began in 1972, at the UN Conference on the Human Environment.

Colombia's and Nigeria's membership in the CCAC is of particular significance, since they will each play a pivotal leadership role in encouraging other South American and African countries to join.  Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, was quoted as saying, "This is the most important decade for action on climate change ... but with a global treaty that will speed the curbing of carbon dioxide many years off, the climate and clean air coalition puts a practical new deal on the table - one that helps slow global warming while reducing the soot and smog that is damaging food crops and health worldwide, undermining growth and development."

It was announced at the organization's first meeting that a Trust Fund has been set up to lend financial support to the CCAC's numerous plans and goals.  Initial pledges amount to $16.7 million, with considerably more anticipated during the next 12 months.  For more information about the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, visit http://www.unep.org/ccac/.

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