2020-10-17 Much More Than ‘Just’ Climate Change – “A Life On Our Planet”

I was speculating while reading from “A Life On Our Planet” by Sir David Attenborough.

Such revelations as what are in the Part 2 – What Lies Ahead section of this book. The nine parts of the circle he describes are being pushed toward or past the point of stability. Four of these have gone past the point of stability. From what is in my earlier blog I assume that what we should be doing is restricting our consumption of meat, especially beef. The chickens are the least demanding of the domesticated meat supply. One way to curb consumption of meat is to put a tax on it. More tax on beef and dairy products, not as much on chickens and eggs.


Part 3

A Vision For The Future

How to Rewild the World

Switching to Clean Energy

p.136 >> The living world is essentially solar powered. The Earth’s plants, together with phytoplankton and algae, capture three trillion kilowatt hours [3 petawatt-hours] of solar energy every day. That is almost 20 times the energy we use. And they collect it directly from the sunlight, trapping the energy within organic molecules made from carbon. They obtain this carbon by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. As they build the organic molecules, they expel oxygen as a waste product. The process is known as photosynthesis. It powers all their life processes, from the growth of their stems and trunks, to the production of seeds to establish a next generation, fruits to persuade animals to transport their seeds, and larders in which to store their food to sustain themselves during hard times. <<

Note 6.



p.139 >> Our careless use of fossils fuels has set us the greatest and most urgent challenge we have ever faced. If we do make the transition to renewables at the lightning speed required, humankind will forever look back on the generation with gratitude, for we are indeed the first to truly understand the problem — and the last with a chance to do anything about it. The road to a world powered by carbon-free energy will be a bumpy one, and the next few decades will be extremely challenging for us all. But many working on this problem believe it is possible. We human beings are, above all, the most astonishing problem solvers. We have made difficult journeys before that evolve enormous social change throughout our history and we can do so again.


p.141 >> A second potential barrier is affordability, but this too is falling away. the scanning up of solar and wind power has already brought the price of renewable generation per kilowatt down to levels that outcompete coal, hydropower and nuclear, and it is approaching the cost of gas and oil period in addition, renewables are much cheaper to manage than other power sources. Over 30 years it is estimated that a renewable dominated energy sector would save trillions of dollars in operational costs. Many commentators believe that improving affordability alone will mean that renewables will swiftly replace fossil fuels. But there is a third barrier that they may have been underestimating.

Perhaps the most formidable obstacle we face is the abstract force we might call vested interests. Change is a threat to any invested in the status quo. Currently, six of the ten largest companies in the world are oil and gas companies. Three of these are state-owned, and two of the other four are concerned with transport, But they are far from the only ones reliant on fossil fuels. Almost every large company and government uses fossil fuels predominantly for their power and distribution. Most heavy industry uses fossil fuels for heat or to cool products in its production lines. Most of the large banks and pensions funds have invested heavily in fossil fuels, the very things that are jeopardizing the future we are saving for. To bring about change in a system as entrenched as ours is will take a number of carefully judged steps. Those who analyze energy transition predict that banks, pension funds and governments will increasingly release their coal and oil stock, in an attempt to avoid huge losses. Politicians will be called upon to divert the hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies that currently go to the fossil fuel sector, to help push for renewables. Local governments have already started to pay attractive rates to households that generate their own electricity for any surplus and to assist communities in creating their own renewable micro-grids. <<


p.143 >> As the new, clean, carbon-free world comes online, people everywhere will start to feel the benefits of a society run on renewables. Life will be less noisy. Our air and water will be cleaner. We will start to wonder why we put up for so long with millions of premature deaths each year from poor air quality. Poorer nations that still have forests and grasslands would benefit from selling their carbon credits to those still dependent on fossil fuels. They could then build renewables and low-emission life into the design of their development. Perhaps one day their smart, clean cities may become some of the best places on Earth to live, attracting the brightest stars of each generation. <<

p.169 >> Like much of our consumption, meat-eating is not evenly spread across the world. Today, the average person in the United States eats over 120kg of meat each year. People in European countries eat between 60kg and 80kg each year. The average Kenyan eats 16kg of meat, and the average person in India, a nation in which vegetarianism is common because of religious beliefs, eats less than 4kg each year.

A piece of meat at our table requires a huge expanse of land for its production. Today, nearly 80 per cent of farmland worldwide is used for meat and dairy production — 4 billion of our 5 billion farmland hectares, an area that would cover both North and South America. Surprisingly, much of this space has no livestock in it at all. It is dedicated to crops like soy, often grown in a different country exclusively as feed for cattle, chickens and pigs. So, the space that livestock actually requires may be unrecognised. Those living in wealthier nations may order meat raised in their country, but some of the feed for those animals will probably have come from tropical nations that are destroying their forests and grasslands to grow feed crops for those animals. It is largely in these tropical nations that the expansion of farmland is still happening, and the world’s growing appetite for meat is a leading cause.

of all the meats, it is beef that is on average by far the most damaging in its production. Beef makes up about a quarter of the meat that we eat, and only 2% of our calories, yet we dedicate 60% of our farmland to raising it beef production occupies 15 times more land per kilogram than either pork or chicken. it is simply not going to be possible for every person in the future to expect to eat the amount of beef now consumed by people in the wealthiest nations today. We don’t have enough land on Earth to do so.

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