Tag Archives: methane

Vegetarianism and Global Warming – what Next?

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Francis Moore Lappe’s daughter Anna has written her own book – “Diet for a Hot Planet”.  Her mother wrote “Diet for a Small Planet”, promoting a vegetarian lifestyle, back in 1971.  Now her daughter is doing her own thing and playing off the title of her mother’s book.  And she is pitching her update of her mother’s original ideas as a measure to combat global warming.

This Anna Lappe is a sad case of one of my pet peeves – someone who degrades what could be a real environmental message by climbing on the global warming bandwagon.  Inevitably, AGW will be exposed for what it is – the biggest scientific scam since Piltdown Man.  The perpetrators of the Piltdown hoax sought to discredit the theory of evolution. While they were misguided creationists, at least they had the saving grace of humour.  AGW is far more sinister – it is a con of biblical proportions that will make its promoters extremely rich, and is intended to provide the religious power base of the UN.

Along comes Anna Lappe, preaching sustainable agriculture.  Nothing wrong with that – factory farming over time destroys the land, sooner or later.  The California dustbowl, land slips in hillsides stripped of trees and over-grazed by sheep and cattle, pollution of streams and rivers with run-off from farms, decline in bird populations, increasing reliance on pesticides that destroy not only the pests but also their natural predators.  And so on.  But climate?

“We hear little about how food affects climate,” she said.  No surprise – because it does not significantly affect global climate (although it clearly can affect local climate – for example, deforestation and excess draw-off from rivers both powerfully affect local climate).

Every human being has a religious standpoint, and vegetarianism, like atheism, monotheism, polytheism, agnosticism, animism, communism, capitalism or any other ism (or AGWarmism), is a form of religion.  Anna Lappe has every right to believe in vegetarianism – and every right to talk about it.  But to claim that meat-eaters contribute to global warming is twaddle.  Even Realclimate says that methane is not a threat to the planet.  And it is becoming more and more evident that CO2 is not the pollutant that the AGW believers say it is.

All the CO2 and methane from farming or any other source has a negligible effect globally.  And contrary to Lappe’s beliefs, livestock rotated through cropping fields enhance the fertility and sustainability of the land with their manure.  Want to destroy land?  Just crop it year after year.  Want to sustain it?  Put everything you don’t eat back into the land as compost.  Plant it in grass every so often, then graze it with cattle or sheep, then let the pigs in, and then the chickens.  Then crop it again.  Small-holding real organic farmers have known that for centuries.

The pity is, when the world backlash rejects AGW, it may also reject all environmental and conservationist theories and initiatives, even the ones that are soundly scientifically based.  They will be tainted by association.

Reference: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/03/AR2010030302065.html

Methane Alarm (Please fund my Research)

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Scientific American reports a study of Methane bubbling up from the sea floor off the coast of Siberia.  The study was conducted by a team of scientists from the United States, Russia and Sweden, who published their findings in the Science journal on March 4 2010.  The study is titled Extensive Methane Venting to the Atmosphere from Sediments of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf

This is the very first sentence of the abstract of the paper in Science:  “Remobilization to the atmosphere of only a small fraction of the methane held in East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) sediments could trigger abrupt climate warming.”

Not bad as an attention-getter.  They go on to say that the methane leaking into the atmosphere from the East Siberian Arctic shelf is on par with previous estimates of methane venting from the entire world ocean.  They estimate that the region is producing 8 to ten million tons of methane into the atmosphere every year, because warming ocean water is thawing permafrost, allowing methane trapped underneath to escape.

The Scientific American article notes that “Methane is regarded as 20 to 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”  It also points out that it’s “a relatively small slice of the 440 million metric tons of methane emitted worldwide each year from a combination of human activities and natural sources like rotting plants in wetlands, termites and wildfires.”

The lead author of the study, Natalia Shakhova of the University of Alaska, says that scientists had not thought subsea permafrost would begin to thaw and release the gas. She said more research is needed to figure out whether the methane leaking from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is an ongoing, steady phenomenon, or whether it suggests a new source of the gas is emerging as seafloor permafrost thaws.  It seems that every piece of climate related research carries a recommendation for more research.

Here’s what neither the article nor the study tell us about the atmospheric content of greenhouse gases:

  • Water Vapour, 40,000 parts per million.  Water vapour is the most powerful greenhouse gas.
  • CO2,  360 parts per million
  • Methane, 1.7 parts per million.

Yes, that’s right.  1.7 parts per million!

But then, why would they point that out?  They want to do more research, and for that they need funding.  The billions available from the IPCC and its affiliates can best be assured by showing that your work supports Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

References:

Scientific American Article:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=methane-siberia-climate-change

Science Publication: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5970/1246

Table of Atmospheric Gases:  http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7a.html