Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Tag Archive: greenhouse gas

  1. Well-managed grazing and grass-finishing systems in Midwest can reduce carbon footprint of beef, while lowering overall CO2

    Leave a Comment

    Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America

    Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 4 (3) Winter 2016

    Jason E Rowntree Rebecca Ryals +4 more authors  [note that Rebecca Ryals co-authored some of the Marin Carbon Project studies]

    Conclusion: The recent call for improved management of grazing systems as part of an international climate change mitigation strategy is critical, particularly in light of many existing beef LCAs [life cycle assessments] that have concluded that beef cattle produced in grazing systems are a particularly large sources of GHG emissions. To identify the best opportunities to reduce GHG emissions from beef production, a systems approach that considers the potential to increase soil C and reduce ecosystem-level GHG emissions is essential. Using a combination of on-farm collected data, literature values, and IPCC Tier 1 methodology, we generated an LCA that indicates highly-managed grass-finished beef systems in the Upper Midwestern United States can mitigate GHG emissions through SCS while contributing to food provisioning at stocking rates as high as 2.5 AU ha-1. From this data, we conclude that well-managed grazing and grass-finishing systems in environmentally appropriate settings can positively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of beef cattle, while lowering overall atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

  2. US cats and dogs cause 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in this country

    Leave a Comment

    The truth about cats’ and dogs’ environmental impact

    • Researcher finds that feeding pets creates the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year

    Posted: 02 Aug 2017 11:28 AM PDT  UCLA

    US cats and dogs cause 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in this country. The nation’s 163 million cats and dogs eat as much food as all the people in France. People should keep their pets — and keep feeding them meat — but there may be steps pet owners can take to reduce their environmental impact, says a researcher.

    …”A dog doesn’t need to eat steak,” Okin said. “A dog can eat things a human sincerely can’t. So what if we could turn some of that pet food into people chow?”

    A commitment to snout-to-tail consumption, where as much rendered product as possible is produced for human use, could significantly reduce national meat consumption. Okin estimates that if even a quarter of the meat in pet food could be consumed by humans, it would equal the amount of meat consumed by 26 million Americans, nearly the population of Texas…

    Gregory S. Okin. Environmental impacts of food consumption by dogs and cats. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (8): e0181301 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181301

  3. Incremental steps by individuals offer opportunity to reduce GHGs to prevent 2°C of climate warming

    Leave a Comment

    Most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren’t being discussed

    Posted: 11 Jul 2017 06:58 PM PDT

    Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research. The study found that the incremental changes advocated by governments may represent a missed opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beneath the levels needed to prevent 2°C of climate warming. The four actions that most substantially decrease an individual’s carbon footprint are: eating a plant-based diet [Ed. note: avoiding industrial agriculture meat no regeneratively grown], avoiding air travel, living car-free, and having smaller families.

    The research analysed 39 peer reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports to calculate the potential of a range of individual lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This comprehensive analysis identifies the actions individuals could take that will have the greatest impact on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

    Lead author Seth Wynes said: “There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices….. Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact. This research is about helping people make more informed choices.

    Seth Wynes, Kimberly A Nicholas. The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions. Environmental Research Letters, 2017; 12 (7): 074024 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541

  4. 10 Most Important Climate Stories of 2016

    Leave a Comment

    By Brian Kahn Climate Central December 28th, 2016  see full article here

    This year is likely to remembered as a turning point for climate change…Here are the 10 most important climate milestones of the year:

    1. It was the hottest year on record. Again…
    2. The Paris Agreement got real…
    3. Carbon dioxide hit 400 ppm. Permanently…
    4. The world breached the 1.5°C climate threshold…
    5. The Great Barrier Reef was decimated by warm waters…
    6. Divestment and clean energy investments each hit a record…
    7. Arctic sea ice got weird. Really weird..
    8. July was the hottest month ever recorded. Then August tied it…
    9. An extremely potent greenhouse gas is also on its way out (hydrofluorocarbons)…
    10. The world struck an airline carbon pollution deal…
  5. Local Leaders Push Forward as Trump Signals Climate Action Pullback

    Leave a Comment

    see here for full article

    The incoming Trump administration appears determined to reverse much of what President Obama has tried to achieve on climate and environment policy. In position papers, agency questionnaires and the résumés of incoming senior officials, the direction is clear — an about-face from eight years of policies designed to reduce climate-altering emissions and address the effects of a warming planet. The Republican-led Congress appears to welcome many of these changes.

    But mayors and governors — many of them in states that supported President-elect Donald J. Trump — say they are equally determined to continue the policies and plans they have already adopted to address climate change and related environmental damage, regardless of what they see from Washington.

    “With a federal government that’s hostile to climate action, more and faster climate action work from cities, states and businesses will be required to stay anywhere near on track with our carbon pollution goals,” said Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, Ore., and current director of the World Resources Institute United States…

    Republican mayors also govern some cities that are especially vulnerable to climate change. James C. Cason, the mayor of Coral Gables, Fla., is working to protect the city from some of the flooding it is already experiencing and to prepare it for more flooding that will most likely accompany rising sea levels. Florida has a Republican governor, Rick Scott, who has questioned the cause and extent of climate change, but that has not stopped Mr. Cason and other Republican mayors in South Florida from making pragmatic decisions on the issue.

    Cities have also seen lots of benefits from networks — the Compact of Mayors, which has been signed by more than 120 American cities, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Climate Mayors and others — most notably, information sharing and solutions, and reaffirming commitments to each other and to their citizens, as many mayors did in a recent letter to the president-elect….

    In most states, governors and legislatures have the authority to regulate the two biggest sources of emissions: power plants and transportation.

    States can set automotive fuel-efficiency standards, and in the case of California, effectively set them for the whole country, experts said. Twenty-nine states require that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from renewable sources, known as a portfolio standard, and another eight have voluntary portfolio standards or targets. In addition to California, nine other states, grouped in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as R.G.G.I., and 17 governors, mostly from that group of 29, have also signed the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future, which commits their states to certain sustainability goals…

    Republican-led states, which may not be favorable to climate policy, have still achieved meaningful progress, especially when it comes to renewable energy, because of the economics of the wind and solar industries. Texas, for instance, has more wind power than any other state, largely a product of deregulating the utility market, but also of subsidies from the federal government and tax credits….

  6. Climate change may be escalating so fast it could be ‘game over’, scientists warn

    Leave a Comment

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/climate-change-game-over-global-warming-climate-sensitivity-seven-degrees-a7407881.html

    New research suggests the Earth’s climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an ‘apocalyptic side of bad’ temperature rise of more than 7C within a lifetime

    It is a vision of a future so apocalyptic that it is hard to even imagine.

    But, if leading scientists writing in one of the most respected academic journals are right, planet Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime.

    And that, according to one of the world’s most renowned climatologists, could be “game over” – particularly given the imminent presence of climate change denier Donald Trump in the White House.

    Scientists have long tried to work out how the climate will react over the coming decades to the greenhouse gases humans are pumping into the atmosphere.

    According to the current best estimate, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if humans carry on with a “business as usual” approach using large amounts of fossil fuels, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

    However new research by an international team of experts who looked into how the Earth’s climate has reacted over nearly 800,000 years warns this could be a major under-estimate.

    Because, they believe, the climate is more sensitive to greenhouse gases when it is warmer.

    globaltemperature.jpg
    A reconstruction of the Earth’s global mean temperature over the last 784,000 years, on the left of the graph, followed by a projection to 2100 based on new calculations of the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases (Friedrich, et al. (2016))

    In a paper in the journal Science Advances, they said the actual range could be between 4.78C to 7.36C by 2100, based on one set of calculations….

    ——-

    Nonlinear climate sensitivity and its implications for future greenhouse warming 
    Tobias Friedrich et al Science Advances  09 Nov 2016:Vol. 2, no. 11, e1501923 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501923
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/11/e1501923
  7. Humans have caused climate change for 180 years- much earlier than thought from even small amounts of carbon emissions

    Leave a Comment

    August 24, 2016 Australian National University

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160824135035.htm

    An international research project has found human activity has been causing global warming for almost two centuries, proving human-induced climate change is not just a 20th century phenomenon….”…The climate warming we are witnessing today started about 180 years ago.” The new findings have important implications for assessing the extent that humans have caused the climate to move away from its pre-industrial state, and will help scientists understand the future impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate.

    …The research, published in Nature, involved 25 scientists from across Australia, the United States, Europe and Asia, working together as part of the international Past Global Changes 2000 year (PAGES 2K) Consortium. Associate Professor Abram said anthropogenic climate change was generally talked about as a 20th century phenomenon because direct measurements of climate are rare before the 1900s.

    …The data and simulations pinpointed the early onset of warming to around the 1830s, and found the early warming was attributed to rising greenhouse gas levels….humans only caused small increases in the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere during the 1800s. “But the early onset of warming detected in this study indicates the Earth’s climate did respond in a rapid and measureable way to even the small increase in carbon emissions during the start of the Industrial Age,” Dr McGregor said.

    The researchers also studied major volcanic eruptions in the early 1800s and found they were only a minor factor in the early onset of climate warming.

    Associate Professor Abram said the earliest signs of greenhouse-induced warming developed during the 1830s in the Arctic and in tropical oceans, followed soon after by Europe, Asia and North America. However, climate warming appears to have been delayed in the Antarctic, possibly due to the way ocean circulation is pushing warming waters to the North and away from the frozen continent.

    Abram et al. Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents. Nature, 2016; 536 (7617): 411 DOI: 10.1038/nature19082