Only one PRAGMATIC way to stop climate change!

According to the late Dr. Robert Goodland, World Bank Climate Specialist

Jeff Anhang, environmental specialist and research officer. He advises on managing environmental and social risks and opportunities in investments by the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Jeff Anhang, environmental specialist and research officer. He advises on managing environmental and social risks and opportunities in investments by the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

My friend Jeff Anhang of the World Bank Group was Dr. Goodland’s co-author for most of his work on climate change; he was kind enough to share this recently “edited” version of his last public presentation before his untimely death in December of 2013.

I have provided the complete document below, complete with all the links, but wanted to start out by stating a few compelling bits of information relating to the piece:

  • Since the Kyoto Protocol (to stop climate change) was drafted in 1990, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen 61%.
  • It may be too late already. The CO2 levels in our atmosphere have risen well above the safe level of 350 ppm—passing the 400 ppm level in April of 2014.
  • Since Kyoto, the UN’s International Panel on Climate (IPCC) has held it’s annual Conference of the Parties in different cities around the world. Lots of political rhetoric, but not nearly enough action and ZERO positive results.
  • Running out of time; Dr. Goodland reported, ” The International Energy Agency has warned that major action by 2017 may be the last real chance to reverse climate change before it’s too late.”
  • The problem is that there has been ZERO international emphasis on altering the way we eat—and that’s the only major contributor to GHG in our atmosphere that can be changed quickly, easily and inexpensively.
  • As you can see below, Goodland and Anhang have estimated that the raising of livestock causes more human-induced GHG than ALL other causes combined.
  • There’s no way you can solve ANY problem without addressing the #1 cause.
  • In the article below, Dr. Goodland outlines what he calls the ONLY pragmatic way to stop climate change.
Dr. Robert Goodland. During his time there, he was frequently described as the "conscience" of the World Bank

Dr. Robert Goodland. During his time there, he was frequently described as the “conscience” of the World Bank

Pragmatic. dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.—Webster

The key words in the above definition are sensibly and realistically—not the kinds of descriptors typically associated with political leaders–or corporate leaders who stand to lose money by doing the right thing for the future of humanity.J. Morris Hicks

Please share Dr. Goodland’s concise paper below with everyone who might be able to make a difference. Sooner or later, our world leaders have got to start getting serious about what’s important.

How to Reverse Climate Change Before It’s Too Late

by Robert Goodland (1939-2013) —- World Bank Climate Specialist

Dr. Robert Goodland (1939 to 2013)---climate specialist with World Bank for 23 years.

Dr. Robert Goodland (1939 to 2013)—climate specialist with World Bank for 23 years.

September 4, 2014, published in full at (excerpted and edited from the last public presentation made by Dr. Goodland in September 2013)

Climatic change is fearsome.  The National Academy of Sciences published a study in 2013 explaining how 1,700 American cities -– including New York, Boston, and Miami –- will become locked into some amount of submersion from rising sea levels unless expensive new dykes and levees can hold back the rising waters.  In fact, the International Energy Agency has warned that major action by 2017 may be the last real chance to reverse climate change before it’s too late.

Elsewhere, the last chance for major action is said to be 2020.  Even with that more generous timeframe, it’s too late to reverse climate change by replacing fossil fuel infrastructure with renewable energy infrastructure.  That’s because doing so is estimated to require at least 20 years to implement at the necessary scale.  Indeed, large-scale implementation of renewable energy infrastructure was the general basis for the Kyoto Protocol when it was drafted in 1990.  But the Kyoto Protocol did not yield a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as intended;  to the contrary, global greenhouse gas emissions have risen shockingly by 61% from 1990 to 2013.

Now, there seems to be only one remaining pragmatic way to reverse climate change before it’s too late -– and that’s by taking quick and large-scale actions in food, agriculture, and forestry.  When Jeff Anhang and I estimated in 2009 that at least 51% of human-induced greenhouse gas is attributable to livestock, we calculated that replacing 25% of today’s livestock products with better alternatives could almost fully achieve the objective of the Kyoto Protocol.

However, as greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric carbon have continued to rise, now almost 50% of today’s livestock products must be replaced with better alternatives by 2020 at the latest in order to achieve the objective of the Kyoto Protocol and avert catastrophic climate change.  No other pragmatic worldwide action to reverse climate change has been proposed by anyone…

In fact, the average global concentration of atmospheric carbon continues to increase after it recently rose above 400 parts per million, far above the safe level of 350 parts per million.  The only known way to draw down atmospheric carbon on a large scale in a relatively short timeframe is by growing more trees, which is uniquely possible through our recommendations.  That’s because replacing a substantial amount of today’s livestock products with better alternatives will free up a vast amount of land to permit large-scale reforestation and greenhouse gas sequestration –- at the same time as it will massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions attributable to livestock production.

The dual benefits of reducing emissions and absorbing atmospheric carbon on a large scale at the same time are the key aspect of what makes our recommendations the only pragmatic way to reverse climate change before it’s too late.

To be clear about what we mean by “better alternatives” to livestock products:  We mean everything from grain-based meats to soy milk, nut butters, as well as whole grains and legumes.  This is because any food that comes directly from a plant rather than from livestock will generally be responsible for a much lower level of greenhouse gas emissions than are livestock products…

There is surely no more compelling motivation to act than the knowledge that replacing livestock products with better alternatives may be the only pragmatic way to stop catastrophic climate change from imperiling much of life on earth.


J. Morris Hicks, promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

J. Morris Hicks, promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Related blogs from J. Morris Hicks:

The following five books and one DVD can be purchased on Amazon for a grand total of less than $60—and will enable you to understand the overwhelming challenges we face—along with the single most-powerful solution of all.

Six-Pack from Hicks—for health, hope & harmony on planet Earth

  1. Healthy Eating, Healthy WorldThe “big picture” about food (our book)
  2. A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD 
  3. An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; the primary book that influenced Bill Clinton to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet.
  4. What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
  5. A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
  6. Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unawareby Richard Oppenlander.

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes 2 or 3 minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, visit our 4Leaf page and also enjoy some great recipes from Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Climate Change, Sustainability and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Only one PRAGMATIC way to stop climate change!

  1. Leo S. says:

    We may be able to reduce pollution by the food we eat and the cars we drive. Most people are not aware of the Supercharging stations that are being built around the world.

    Electric Transportation in Our Future
    Is the future of transportation electric? On September 13, the first of 10 worldwide EV races will take place in Beijing, a city which is experiencing a great amount of pollution.

    The following link shows the progress Tesla has made in building Supercharging stations all over the world which will provide free charging for Tesla Model S vehicles. Little mention is made in the media about the number of jobs that are created when building these Superchargers. It reminds us of the effort the US put forth in WWII to build what we needed to preserve our way of life. The future can and should get better, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    The Tesla Model X should be a reality next year and the Model 3 about 2017 at around $35,000. Something to look forward to.

    See #38 in the play list of 57 (above) where cleaner air is finally mentioned as a positive point but does not mention the raising of animal food which causes more pollution than all of transportation combined.

  2. My post on my Facebook site:
    “How to Reverse Climate Change Before It’s Too Late — greatly reduce raising animals for EATING! You can help.
    I did a [one-week] tune-up to make my Vegan Nutrition WFPB diet even better! Keep learning —
    Great services and INEXPENSIVE!!!! Dr. Michael Klaper was my doctor there.
    Official Website for Doctor Michael Klaper
    I am Dr. Michael Klaper, a practicing physician with 40+ years of experience in general practice and acute care medicine. I have a deep respect and passion for …”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s