01 July 2010

It's Official Again — It's Time for the World to Go Veg!

Early in June 2010, the United Nations Environment Program (Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics - Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch) released a study entitled Assessing Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials [pdf]. The online introduction lists the following key findings of this assessment report:

  • Agriculture and food consumption are identified as one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions.
  • The use of fossil energy carriers for heating, transportation, metal refining and the production of manufactured goods is of comparable importance, causing the depletion of fossil energy resources, climate change, and a wide range of emissions-related impacts.
  • The impacts related to these activities are unlikely to be reduced, but rather enhanced, in a business as usual scenario. This study showed that CO2 emissions are highly correlated with income. Population and economic growth will hence lead to higher impacts, unless patterns of production and consumption can be changed.
  • Furthermore, there are certain interlinkages between problems that may aggravate them in the future. For example, many proposed sustainable technologies for energy supply and mobility rely for a large part on the use of metals (e.g. in batteries, fuel cells and solar cells). Metal refining usually is energy intensive. The production of such novel infrastructure may hence be energy-intensive, and create scarcity of certain materials, issues not yet investigated sufficiently. There is hence a need for analysis to evaluate trends, develop scenarios and identify sometimes complicated trade-offs

In the online description, they use the terms "agriculture and food consumption." But listen to what they have to say in this video, mostly filmed at the launch of the report. Please share this with your friends and climate change adversaries alike (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQlekfaPyaA). 

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?