According to the late Dr. Robert Goodland, World Bank Climate Specialist
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.
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
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.
Related blogs from J. Morris Hicks:
- Food Choices. The primary cause of global warming? Dedicated to the memory of the great climate specialist Dr. Robert Goodland. 2-4-14.
- The ONLY viable pathway to SUSTAINABILITY It will be impossible for us to EVER live in harmony with nature—without radically changing our food choices. 8-4-14.
- They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burned…Most humans think that life has never been better on this planet. Reminds me of Easter Island. 4-19-14.
- My blog of 11-5-13. DIRE news re climate change CAN be a good thing…
- My blog of 9-6-2012. Are “ANY” prominent leaders taking global warming seriously?
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
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- A life changer for millions, including James Cameron. Forks Over Knives DVD
- 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.
- What have we done to our planet? Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester Brown
- A horrifying wake-up call for leaders. TEN BILLION by Dr. Stephen Emmott
- Food choices are the primary cause of our environmental problems, yet our world leaders, scientists & experts are Comfortably Unaware, by Richard Oppenlander.
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
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