Viewpoint - May 22, 2013
Letter: Most scientists agree about climate change
A review of 12,000 papers on climate change, in the May 15 issue of the "Environmental Research Letters," found that 97 percent of scientists attribute climate change to human activities. Although we're unlikely to reverse climate change, we can mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, energy use, and meat consumption.
Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.
Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is generated by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport, and slaughter animals. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
Each of us has the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch meats, hotdogs, veggie burgers and soy and nut-based dairy products, as well as an ample selection of vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts.
Miles Barney, Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park
Posted by Hmmm,
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2013 at 12:59 am
Sure, have that steak. Make it organic, please, raised in as sustainable a manner as possible - you know it tastes better. Maybe DoTheMath & Mr. Sussman can have dinner together? Seriously, we all should eat less meat for our health, not just for the health of the planet. Wait, our health is integrally tied into the health of the planet, although the planet would be healthier without us, most likely.
And 30,000 independent scientists - what does this mean? Are they independently wealthy? Weren't overly attached to their parents growing up, thus showing an independent streak? Are they loners? Or they work independently - & what does THAT mean? How are they funded, where are their labs, who pays them, for what, exactly, & what types of scientists are included in these 30,000. Just kidding. I know what an independent scientist is. DoTheMath, seriously, who funds that many scientists to debunk climate change - now, not 30 years ago? And WHERE are they on record? I'd really like to see this!
Wait, I think I know the document to which you refer that includes 30k "scientists" (the majority are engineers, which are often confused w/real scientists)...This list is a petition from both the 1990s & 2007, which did little to vet the list. To whit:
George Woodwell and John Holdren, two members of the National Academy of Sciences...describing the petition as a "farce" in part because "the signatories are listed without titles or affiliations that would permit an assessment of their credentials." Myanna Lahsen said, "Assuming that all the signatories reported their credentials accurately, credentialed climate experts on the list are very few." The problem is made worse, Lahsen notes, because critics "added bogus names to illustrate the lack of accountability the petition involved". Approved names on the list included fictional characters from the television show M*A*S*H, the movie Star Wars, Spice Girls group member Geri Halliwell, English naturalist Charles Darwin (d. 1882) and prank names such as "I. C. Ewe". When questioned about the pop singer during a telephone interview with Joseph Hubert of the Associated Press, Robinson acknowledged that her endorsement and degree in microbiology was inauthentic, remarking "When we're getting thousands of signatures there's no way of filtering out a fake". A cursory examination by Todd Shelly of the Hawaii Reporter revealed duplicate entries, single names lacking any initial, and even corporate names. "These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided." According to the Petition Project website, the issue of duplication has been resolved. Kevin Grandia offered similar criticism, saying although the Petition Project website provides a breakdown of "areas of expertise", it fails to assort the 0.5% of signatories who claim to have a background in Climatology and Atmospheric Science by name, making independent verification difficult. "This makes an already questionable list seem completely insignificant".
The above is from Wikipedia, which isn't normally my go-to source for verification, but I found it apt in this case! Even if they were verified as accurate, more than half, by my estimation, are involved in industries that would suffer from environmental laws that support preventing more global warming.
Enjoy your steak, DoTheMath.