System Change Not CLimate Change: OUR TWO DEMANDS- (a)Beyond Kyoto- 90% reduction in greenhouse gas (b)Frequent and fare free public transport now. PLEASE HELP US AND DONATE TO CLIMACTION- KIWIBANK a/c number 389005 094861900. Contact us at 021 186 1450

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holy Cow

Climaction plans to spotlight New Zealand’s biggest greenhouse gas, the methane from meat agriculture, by targeting multi billion dollar corporation Fonterra, in early March. Methane accounts for over half of New Zealand’s emissions, as opposed to over a quarter for carbon.

The next Climaction Carnival will see a 30 foot high Trojan Cow, belching stinky green gas, being pulled on rope by hundreds of student ‘slaves’ from Auckland Uni’s Quad, down Princes Street to Fonterra’s HQ. Call it a mass Moovement if you like. We need as much creative, material and financial help as possible (any good carpenters, prop builders or designers out there?) and will be going hard building student groups in the weeks beforehand on all major campuses! If you can help please contact Joe at 021 186 1450 or email

By Geoffrey Lean
The independent
December 10, 2006

http://news. independent. t/article2062484 .ece

Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the
plane, or even George Bush: it is the cow.

A United Nations report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of
cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they
are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the
introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones
in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral

The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled
Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens,
pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are
most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse
gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms
of transport put together.

Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to
transport it -- and clearing vegetation for grazing -- produces 9 per cent
of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And
their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another,
methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more
than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes
of acid rain.

Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide,
and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert.
Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of
water to produce one litre of milk.

Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish
water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides,
antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and
endanger human health.

The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead
zones" devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where
much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi.

The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive
damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat


Carbon neutral blah blah blah, Methane neutral- over my dead body

Prime Minister Helen Clark and a farming leader in New Zealand, one of the world's biggest agricultural producers, rejected on Monday a United Nations' claim that cattle and other livestock were a bigger threat than cars to the global environment. Clark said at a news conference that claims in a report by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization that livestock was responsible for more greenhouse gases than cars, planes and all other forms of transport was "scarcely fair."

And Charlie Pedersen, a dairy farmer and leader of the national Federated Farmers organization, said of the report, "I suspect it was written by a vegan."

"We are not talking about cattle; we are talking about food," he told the New Zealand Herald. "If you take that food off the market, you have to replace it with something else. You still have to eat."

Clark said, "To treat methane emissions from animals in the same way one treats, for example, carbon emissions from coal-fired generation is scarcely fair."

She said it was rather obvious what can be done about carbon emissions from coal but not so obvious about what to do about methane emissions from animals. Both gases have been linked to global warming.

New Zealand has more than 9 million cattle and 40 million sheep, which account for about half its total greenhouse gas emissions - a higher percentage than any other country.

But Clark said New Zealand was leading the world in science and is developing a method to deal with methane emissions. Other countries, including Ireland, where farm animals account for about 28 per cent of greenhouse gases, were following its research with interest, she added.


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