Massive Number of Cows on Earth Contributing to Global Warming
Cow emissions are a global warming problem just like the manmade emissions from fossil fuels. The Independent Online reports that a UN study has found that the staggering number of cattle and other livestock here on Earth produce harmful emissions that are responsible for 18% of the greenhouse gases.
The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.
Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.
Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.
Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.
And what causes this enormous need for cattle? The enormous number
of humans here on planet Earth. That is why population control efforts, like family planning and birth control, also need to be one of the methods used to combat global warming and pollution. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has withdrawn and withheld funds to important organizations like the United Nations Population Fund.
The United States is the only country to ever deny funding to UNFPA for non-budgetary reasons. In July 2002, the U.S. Administration announced its decision to withhold $34 million - that had previously been appropriated by Congress to UNFPA - based on false claims that the Fund supports coercive abortion in China. The decision was taken despite recommendations made by a State Department fact-finding team to release the funds. The State Department team investigated UNFPA-supported projects in China and submitted a report in May stating, based on what we heard, saw, and read, we find no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in the PRC [People's Republic of China]. Indeed, UNFPA has registered its strong opposition to such practices.
The current Administration has, so far, withheld $127 million in funds appropriated by Congress. UNFPA has publicly stated that it has never, and will never, be involved in coercion in China or any part of the world. The Fund is a staunch supporter, and promoter, of the human rights-based approach to family planning.
Educating third world men and women about family planning and birth control is crucial to helping slow down Earth's rapid population growth.