C02 of one beef dinner in comparison to a flight.

joe sod

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There has been a lot of publicity recently about reducing beef and meat consumption in order to reduce your carbon footprint, however it is meaningless in comparison to the co2 produced per passenger on a city break to Europe. Therefore if you cut out 200 beef dinners per year from your diet (albeit most people would eat much less than that anyhow), you would undo all the co2 saved by one city break to Europe (most people would fly away more than once per year).
So why is all the publicity focussed on beef and agriculture but little on air travel and Sun holidays which are the worst offenders of all in co2 emissions.
 

odyssey06

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Its because they dont like farmers or meat eaters to begin with.
They will fake the stats by talking about calories and not nutrients too.
 

Delboy

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I find the whole anti-farmer thing going on here right now to be beyond GUBU. The Green Schools initiative with meat-free Mondays and it supported by the Dept of Education o_O
And it's only going to get louder and more frenzied in the years ahead
 

joe sod

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it just exposes the hiprocrisy of the greenhouse gas movements, because they are selecting certain sectors that they think consumers will buy into but not others. Therefore they focus on the greenhouse gases produced from a beef dinner because they know that their target audience is already considering cutting down on beef for other reasons, however they ignore the enormous greenhouse gases produced from european city breaks.
 

elacsaplau

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Hi Joe et al,

Can you answer the following questions please?

1. Do you believe climate change is happening?
2. If so, what do you think are the causes?
3. Do you think it is necessary to do something about it?
4. What are your solutions?
 

joe sod

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Yes I do believe something is happening to climate, however I don't believe in the way carbon taxes are calculated, there are no carbon taxes or even normal taxes on aircraft fuel. Also Ireland is being unfairly levelled with carbon taxes for agriculture even though most of our produce is consumed elsewhere , Saudi Arabia or norway does not get levelled with carbon taxes for the oil they produce, the consumption countries get levelled with those carbon taxes. And of course Paris is completely silent on population control and people no matter how poor are the biggest factor of all not only with carbon but in destruction of natural environment.
 

elacsaplau

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With respect, I believe that you have not answered questions 2, 3 and 4 in anywhere close to a convincing way. Giving out is not a solution or a policy.
 

Laughahalla

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Eating less meat and dairy is one of many things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint. And besides, We could all do with cutting down on the meat and dairy so I don't see the problem with having a couple of days a week without meat and dairy. Certainly won't do you any harm and would probabaly have health benefits.
 

joe sod

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Eating less meat and dairy is one of many things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint. And besides, We could all do with cutting down on the meat and dairy so I don't see the problem with having a couple of days a week without meat and dairy. Certainly won't do you any harm and would probabaly have health benefits.
surely cutting out one european flight would be far more effective in terms of CO2 than beef consumption, as I have illustrated above you would have to consume an enormous quantity of beef to get the same carbon equivalent of one flight.
It also illustrates the silliness of leo varadkers comments with regard to cutting down on beef for climate reasons when he generates huge quantities of CO2 from flying. Maybe if he pledged to cut out a few flights from his schedule it would be far more effective.
 
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dub_nerd

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So why is all the publicity focussed on beef and agriculture but little on air travel and Sun holidays which are the worst offenders of all in co2 emissions.
Three reasons:
  1. Everybody likes to think they're against climate change, but they have much less idea about:
    • the economic impact of going back to 1990 CO₂ levels (since when the global population has gone up 40%)
    • practical approaches to implementing such a reversal
  2. Most people are quite innumerate and/or ignorant of the energy economy, and so can't compare the impact of different efforts.
  3. People are in favour of approaches that least affect them.
Hi Joe et al,

Can you answer the following questions please?

1. Do you believe climate change is happening?
Yes.

2. If so, what do you think are the causes?
  1. Natural variability
    • Changes in solar output
    • CO₂ and aerosols from volcanoes and wildfires
    • Chemical weathering of rocks
    • Variations in Earth's orbital parameters (precession of the apsides etc.)
    • Changes to the configurations of the continents affecting:
      • ocean circulation and the thermohaline current (e.g. isthmus of Panama)
      • chemical weathering (e.g. the Tibetan plateau)
    • Loads of other things we know about
    • Loads of other things we don't know about
  2. Anthropogenic inputs
    • Land clearance for the last ten thousand years
    • Agriculture
    • Industrial CO₂ and aerosols
  3. Feedback effects that we're less sure about, affecting:
    • Earth's albedo (due to lower ice coverage)
    • accelerated CO₂ emissions from arctic tundra
    • accelerated methane emissions from ocean clathrates
    • ocean circulation overturning rate
    • Loads of other things we don't know about
3. Do you think it is necessary to do something about it?
Yes, but not at all costs.

4. What are your solutions?
First, we should accept a few things. In the future there will be extreme climate change that we can't do anything about. We already live in an extreme period: we are in the middle of a slight warming in one of the coldest periods in geological time. And it's already one of the longer interglacials of the Quaternary ice age, quite possibly due to the anthropogenic effects of land use changes since the Neolithic. If so, human induced climate change is an unqualified good thing, as otherwise we'd be living (or dying) in this part of the world under a mile of ice.

Second, we should not just dismiss the current situation by saying "the climate always changes". Just because we are overdue an ice age does not mean we shouldn't be concerned about warming. There are significant potential impacts from sea level rise, changing weather patterns, and extreme weather events. There are also guaranteed economic impacts from certain approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That is why I am very distrustful of climate change extremists. On the one hand you have ignorant people who, for dogmatic reasons, insist that anthropogenic climate change is a myth. On the other hand, you have people who insist that we must use all methods, no matter how costly and ineffectual, to delay climate change. The latter are a bigger threat to society in my opinion, as squandering resources on useless approaches will cost us dearly when we most need them.

Therefore, I believe we should have regard for the risk/reward calculus. We should not let the science deniers off the hook, nor should we let the
policy response zealots talk about changes without enumerating their negative, as well as positive, impacts. Overall, the world has benefitted enormously from increased energy usage. Dramatically fewer people are in poverty in recent decades. Hundreds of millions have joined the global middle class just since the turn of the millennium. Unfortunately, some of that has involved increased debt levels, unproductive use of resources, and unfair concentration of wealth. But ultimately all the wealth comes from either stuff we grow, or stuff we dig out of the ground, primarily energy commodities.

Energy is the world's most basic currency. Everyone needs more of it -- so that there is electricity to make cities safer at night, so that seawater can be desalinated and deserts irrigated, and countless other life-enhancing activities. Without it, children can't study after dark to lift themselves out of desperate poverty, women die from inhaling smoke from the cow dung fires they have to cook on, and other such horrible degradations inflicted on energy-poor people. It's why China is building a coal-fired generating plant every week. And the biggest, most important thing we have to get through our heads is: we have neither the moral authority, nor any practical way, to stop them.

So we need to start with practicalities, not handwringing and pious platitudes. And the most practical starting point is to accept that the world is going to use more energy, not less, and there's nothing we can (or probably should) do about that. So then we can consider how our increased energy usage can have less environmental impact. Well, we're already doing lots of that through:
  1. better home insulation
  2. more energy efficient buildings
  3. use of less carbon-intensive fuels
  4. use of renewable energy sources
It is possible to do things better. The European Union, for example, uses a lot less oil per dollar of GDP than the USA. On the other hand, the USA leads the world in greenhouse gas emission reductions. How come? Because natural gas has become cheaper than coal for producing electricity. And burning natural gas creates 60% less CO₂ than even the most efficient modern coal plant. Germany, on the other hand, is burning increasing amount of dirty brown lignite, due to its misguided populist move away from nuclear after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. That's why we should be promoting global natural gas usage and Liquefied Natural Gas processing. China's south coast LNG plants already import the same amount of gas as total UK consumption (around 3 Tcf). And they intend to increase that by 600% over the next ten years. Think of the amount of CO₂ from coal that can be avoided. Yet you have doom-mongering Greenies claiming that our natural gas has to be left in the ground. It's insane!

The future has to involve a broad mixture of approaches. Wind, and especially solar power have a role to play. But they are not universally available and not problem free, and need technological breakthroughs in grid storage. Though crucially important, they are never going to be the whole answer. The British Isles doesn't receive enough sunlight to power its car fleet, let alone anything else. Other renewables can be safely ignored. Geothermal is very niche, and anybody telling you that wave and tidal power can solve anything has sipped too much of the Green Kool-Aid. Biofuels are downright immoral, with corn ethanol, palm oil and sugar cane relying on either environmental degradation or near slave labour.

The eventual answer -- which will make most hypocritical Greenies incandescent with anger (I wonder could we harness that :D) -- has to involve a huge increase in nuclear power. It is not only zero-carbon, but also the safest form of power generation we have. And that's just today. In the near future we will have fission power plants capable of burning up existing nuclear waste stockpiles, and in the slightly longer term we will almost certainly have nuclear fusion producing very low and easily manageable levels of active waste. The future of inexhaustible green energy is most definitely nuclear.

So in summary, my answer is:
  • Quit the useless handwringing;
  • Stop proposing pathetic measures that hurt the existing economy with almost no impact on the problem;
  • Use economically practical renewable energy sources;
  • Increase the use of "bridge fuels" like natural gas;
  • Stop killing the nuclear industry through excessive and piecemeal regulation;
  • Start a "Manhattan project" approach to new nuclear technologies;
  • Remember that:
    • if we kill our economy, then we have no options;
    • if we have enough cheap energy we can transform the carbon content of the atmosphere through direct air capture, which is already technologically (but not yet economically) feasible.
 
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joe sod

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Hundreds of millions have joined the global middle class just since the turn of the millennium. Unfortunately, some of that has involved increased debt levels, unproductive use of resources, and unfair concentration of wealth. But ultimately all the wealth comes from either stuff we grow, or stuff we dig out of the ground, primarily energy commodities.
great post dub_nerd you obviously went to alot of trouble to post it. What do you mean by above statement that many people have joined the middle classes but by unproductive use of resources? do you mean the squandering of natural resources and the consumer economy? Also if it was the case that natural resources were used more sparingly would all those people have joined the middle classes?
 

cremeegg

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Other renewables can be safely ignored. Geothermal is very niche, and anybody telling you that wave and tidal power can solve anything has sipped too much of the Green Kool-Aid.
Whats the issue with tidal power.

A cubic meter of water that rises and falls 4m twice a day equates to 80 kJ of energy. Reliable, predictable clean. What am I missing ?
 

dub_nerd

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great post dub_nerd you obviously went to alot of trouble to post it.
Well, I'm kinda interested in the topic so that was all just off the top of my head. Open to correction on any points.

What do you mean by above statement that many people have joined the middle classes but by unproductive use of resources? do you mean the squandering of natural resources and the consumer economy?
Yes, precisely that. I was thinking particularly about China. There's the famous stat that China used more concrete between 2011 and 2013 than the USA used in the entire 20th century. Perhaps this thread should have compared a beef dinner to concrete. Its production generates 8% of global CO₂ emissions, more than three times the entire aviation industry. And China uses 60% of the world's concrete -- double the CO₂ impact of global aviation through that one commodity alone. Of course, China had a lot of catching up to do. But anyone who has read about China's ghost cities knows there is a problem. Fifty million homes -- 22% of the urban housing stock -- is unoccupied, and much of it may never be occupied due to overbuilding and building quality. Wealth in the economy creates a virtuous cycle, as money circulates over and over. But misallocated wealth wrecks the cycle in the long run when debt cannot be repaid. China issued 0.7 trillion dollars of new credit in the month of January last alone. There are caveats about January being the traditionally highest month, and the credit easing coming on the back of recent tightening, but it is an astonishing number by any measure -- enough to make even the Prime Minister criticise the central bank. Monetary stimulus cannot prop up an economy in the long run.

Also if it was the case that natural resources were used more sparingly would all those people have joined the middle classes?
That's a very good question, to which the answer is certainly no. But the wealth destruction that follows a splurge may be worse than if the splurge never happened. The very stability of society can be threatened. Sustainable growth is obviously preferable.
 

dub_nerd

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Whats the issue with tidal power.

A cubic meter of water that rises and falls 4m twice a day equates to 80 kJ of energy. Reliable, predictable clean. What am I missing ?
Sounds impressive ... until you divide it by the 86,400 seconds in a day and get 0.9 Watt. So a hundred tonnes of water runs a couple of light bulbs. (I do realise there's an awful lot of seawater out there). But that's assuming 4 metres of tidal range, which is globally uncommon (even though the British Isles are better endowed than most places, with half the total European tidal resource, and 10% of the global resource). Lots of places are near amphidromic points which have no tidal range at all. The total global potential resource is only a couple of percent of current electricity consumption. And the scale of works required for such a diffuse energy source means that many meaningful projects -- like the Severn Barrage -- are massively environmentally destructive to tens of thousands of hectares of intertidal mudflats. It will never get the go-ahead as it would be an ecological disaster. I don't mean to diss tidal power. It's just never going to be very significant in the grand scheme of things.
 
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Purple

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That's a very good question, to which the answer is certainly no. But the wealth destruction that follows a splurge may be worse than if the splurge never happened. The very stability of society can be threatened. Sustainable growth is obviously preferable.
A good example of the use and misuse of resources and how it contributes to wealth creation or dissipation is the area of Central Asia which, about a thousand years ago, was the most prosperous and developed region on earth. Even then water was a scarce resource so towns and cities grew up around oasis and so their societies were more urbanised and so specialisation occurred more commonly than in agrarian civilisations.
They figured out how to develop vast systems of irrigation which not only watered their cities but their fields (Merv, a city of a half a million, has 10,000 people employed full time to look after its canals, dams, pipes and dykes). They were able to get more and more yield out of the same limited resource.

Nearly a thousand years later the Soviet Russians took over the same region, bereft of its vast cities and civilisations since the Arab conquests and the later Mongol conquests. The Soviets had no interest in efficiency, they were into scale; they built vast farms which they irrigated but they ended up increasing the salt levels within the soil until it was virtually unusable and the entire enterprise collapsed.
 

joe sod

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And the scale of works required for such a diffuse energy source means that many meaningful projects -- like the Severn Barrage -- are massively environmentally destructive to tens of thousands of hectares of intertidal mudflats.
Is that not the essential problem with most renewable energy resources, the total resource maybe huge but it is spread out over the surface of the earth, therefore the contraptions to collect it must also be spread out over large areas to collect any meaningful amount, thats also the case with wind and solar. You would end up putting huge contraptions into the sea, when it reaches the end of its productive life, the contraptions are left there as ugly junk. The fact is that most stuff put into the sea is never retrieved.
 

joe sod

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Yes, precisely that. I was thinking particularly about China. There's the famous stat that China used more concrete between 2011 and 2013 than the USA used in the entire 20th century.
It reminds me of a communist tour I was on in Budapest, we were standing in a park and the tour guide pulled out a photograph of the park as it was in the 1970s, it was concreted over and with cars parked on it . To which the tour guide said that the communists loved concrete they used it everywhere.
 

dub_nerd

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Is that not the essential problem with most renewable energy resources, the total resource maybe huge but it is spread out over the surface of the earth, therefore the contraptions to collect it must also be spread out over large areas to collect any meaningful amount, thats also the case with wind and solar. You would end up putting huge contraptions into the sea, when it reaches the end of its productive life, the contraptions are left there as ugly junk. The fact is that most stuff put into the sea is never retrieved.
Yeah, renewable energy tends to be fairly diffuse. 1.3 kWm⁻² is not bad for solar, but at 15-22% efficiency and the sun not overhead, you could be easily talking about 0.1 kWm⁻² of land use. Wind turbines can produce a lot of energy per unit area of the rotor disc. General Electric are creating the current largest -- 12 MW with 107 m blades. That's 3 kWm⁻² of rotor disc. But then you need spacing between turbines of 10 to15 times the rotor diameter ... which could be more than two kilometres in the case of the GE behemoths!
 
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