Policy Problems

Three major concerns spurred me to create this blog.

First is my astonishment that both the US government and the United Nations seem to regard agriculture as having a relatively minor role in Climate Change. In the US Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010 (April 2012) Chapter 6 states that agriculture’s portion of all emissions is 8.1%. The UN says that world agriculture is responsible for 10%. On closer reading these 8-10% measures count only non-CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions are scattered in 3 other chapters. This means, for example, that in the Energy chapter there is no distinction between truck or car emissions on a highway and tractor emissions resulting from plowing a field or spreading fertilizer.
Other responsible observers must be combining non-CO2 and CO2 emissions when they estimate emissions from agricultural sources to be 20-30% of total emissions. An example is the Natural Resources Defense Council which estimates that agriculture contributes 30% of all global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

A second deep concern that spurred creation of this blog is that most analyses of animal agriculture and meat do not distinguish among farming methods. For example, climate scientists do not seem to notice that grain-fed/feedlot beefs create high levels of GHG emissions due: to the production of farm machinery, fertilizers and pesticides used in producing corn and other grains; to the transport of machinery, chemicals, and animals; to the plowing, harvesting and spreading of seed, fertilizers and pesticides; and to the transport and mixing of feed for cattle in feedlots.

Skilled managers of cattle on grass who produce 100% grassfed organic beef require very few of these inputs.

Another example of my concerns: most doctors warn against beef, but do not distinguish between high Omega-6 conventional/feedlot beef and high Omega-3 grassfed beef, which can relieve pain and inflammation and can improve circulation.