[enviro-vlc] Livestock less damaging than UN report claimed [now less than 12% methane]
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 05:12:04 EST 2008
The full report, "Livestock's Long Shadow" may be downloaded here:
The sceptics may say it that does make one wonder how many other
big mistakes pass as science. All of us should be offended to see
poor scholarship - should this news story be accurate.
Livestock less damaging than UN report claimed
By JON MORGAN - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 09 October 2008
A blunder has seen New Zealand blamed for climate change caused by other
countries, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation has acknowledged.
The FAO report, Livestock's Long Shadow, made public last year to world acclaim,
states that livestock contributes 18 per cent of the global warming effect, even
more than transport.
But buried in the report is the information that deforestation - mainly in the
Amazonian rainforest - is included in that figure. Without it, livestock's
contribution falls to less than 12 per cent.
This has been ignored in public statements made since the report's release. The
most controversial was by the chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, who urged people to eat less meat.
But now one of the report's authors, Pierre Gerber, a FAO livestock policy
officer, has acknowledged New Zealand's view that it was unfair to lump all
This is according to New Zealand's biggest meat company, Silver Fern Farms,
whose marketing manager, Glenn Tyrrell, spoke to Dr Gerber recently.
Mr Tyrrell said Dr Gerber was critical of Dr Pachauri and others, saying they
had misused the information in the report.
"But it was the FAO that had put that information out there in the first place,"
Mr Tyrrell said.
"He [Dr Gerber] was very open to revisiting that by publishing
country-by-country greenhouse gas contribution figures."
This would show New Zealand in a good light compared with other meat-producing
countries and allow consumers to make a choice of which country's meat to buy.
New Zealand does not harvest its native forests and the latest survey of
foresters shows they intend to reduce deforestation of exotic trees under the
emissions trading scheme.
Methane and nitrous oxide from livestock make up half of New Zealand's
greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Tyrrell said Dr Gerber had surprised congress delegates when he revealed how
the 18 per cent figure had been arrived at.
"It was frightening to see that New Zealand had effectively been tarred with the
same brush as Brazil, which is burning the Amazon rainforests to provide pasture
Brazilian delegates were confronted with this and asked what they were doing to
prevent it. "They couldn't answer, because they are doing absolutely nothing.
`We should be able to show that there is a clear benefit, and competitive
advantage for New Zealand, as a very much pasture-grass-feeding
livestock-producing nation where we don't burn down rainforests and destroy the
environment in order to graze our livestock," Mr Tyrrell said.
He said Dr Gerber was keen to visit New Zealand to better understand its
pastoral farming system.
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