Earth Overshoot Day: Humans are using Earth’s resources faster than ever, group warns

Exposing the Big Game

“There are consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet,” the CEO of the Global Footprint Network network said.
by James Rainey / 
Image: Ratcliffe on Soar power station

Coal-fired powered, Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station in Nottinghamshire, England. (Photo by: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images)Loop Images / UIG via Getty Images

A hummingbird flew into New York’s Times Square Friday, and has been hovering and flitting high over the heads of tourists and workers ever since.

Never mind that the bird arrived via jumbo screen — the arresting image was intended to turn attention to humanity’s tenuous place in nature. The onscreen message: “Earth Overshoot Day is August 1…Because We Have Only One Earth…#MoveTheDate.”

Created by the Global Footprint Network environmental nonprofit, Earth Overshoot Day estimates the point in the year when humanity has consumed more natural resources and created more waste than Earth can replace or safely absorb in a year. The Aug…

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Wolves and cattle can’t co-exist, so give Arizona public lands to the wolves

Opinion: The highest and best use for Arizona’s public lands is to support native plants and animals like the Mexican gray wolf, not cattle.

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The ranchers were right: Wolves and cattle can’t share the public lands in Arizona and New Mexico.

The cows have to go.

Ranchers have had decades to make this work.

They failed – though, to be fair, a few have tried.

Why we need more wolves

But on the whole, the ranching industry has steadfastly opposed the effort to restore the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the southwest – an effort that began on public lands with the release of 11 wolves in 1998.

This month, a coalition of 25 conservation groups called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase genetic diversity and bolster the species recovery efforts by releasing captive adult wolves into the wild.

Groups representing cattle growers oppose the idea.

Cows or wolves? You pick

So it’s time for some choices.

Cowboys and the Old West are enduring symbols in the American imagination. But those romantic images should not cloud our judgment now.

Wolves – including Arizona’s Mexican gray wolf – became endangered after being hunted, trapped and otherwise slaughtered to near extinction at public expense largely for the convenience of ranchers.

That was the Old West. Today we understand the value of species diversity.

Many of today’s ranchers operate by combining private land holdings with leases to use public land. They have not modernized their attitude toward wolves.

Times have changed

This is the New West.

Increasing urbanization changed the dynamics. We need our wild public lands for wildlife now – and that includes high-order predators, like wolves.

Cattle ranching is not the highest and best use of our public lands.

These lands offer needed habitat to support the complex web of native plants and animals that cannot survive without unspoiled places.

How ranchers got help

Ranchers had their chance.

  • Modern efforts to restore Mexican gray wolves to the wild were tailored to ranchers’ needs, including the classification of these wolves as a “nonessential experimental” population instead of giving them full protection as an endangered species.
  • It was for ranchers’ convenience that public land managers killed and recaptured so many Mexican wolves that the wild population did not grow as anticipated.
  • It was for ranchers’ convenience that a compensation program was established to pay ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.

Opposition remains

Yet ranchers remain opposed to releasing more wolves in the wild – a move environmentalists say is critical to the long-term survival of these animals.

What’s more, ranching groups are supporting an effort by Republican Sen. John Barrasso, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, to “modernize” the Endangered Species Act, in part, by giving individual states a greater say in how species recovery is handled.

State wildlife agencies are seen by conservationists as easier for ranchers and other special interests to influence. So this could be bad news for wolves and other endangered species.

Dooming endangered species

At a hearing July 17, Democrats expressed concerns about the Barrasso’s proposal.

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said the bill “is taking us in the wrong direction” at a time when the world is experiencing “a global extinction crisis.”

Meanwhile, livestock groups have launched a campaign in support of Barrasso’s Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2018.

With the pro-industry slant of the Trump administration, efforts to thwart this nation’s commitment to species diversity may gain strength.

It’s up to the public to push back. Wolves can’t make phone calls.

We need public lands for wolves

The facts are clear: Our national soul and our national spirit are deeply tied to our remarkable natural heritage, which has long been protected by strong, federal environmental laws.

These laws need to be national in scope because all Americans have a stake in species diversity and habitat protection.

The Mexican gray wolves are part of that shared national heritage.

Call for cooperation didn’t work

The effort to have wolves and cattle co-exist on public lands might have worked if ranchers had tried harder.

But they didn’t.

So the cows have to go.

The public needs its land for wolves and other wild creatures.

Tell Congress.

Judge dismisses New York City’s climate change lawsuit against oil and gas companies

Judge dismisses New York City’s climate change lawsuit against oil and gas companies

https://mic.com/articles/190358/judge-dismisses-new-york-citys-climate-change-lawsuit-against-oil-and-gas-companies#.4aAvv0TFK

New York City’s efforts on climate change were dealt a blow in court Thursday, as a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit the city brought against five oil and gas companies.

The city filed suit against BP, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil over the role the companies play in exacerbating climate change. According to the ruling, the companies are collectively responsible for over 11% of all carbon and methane pollution that has accumulated in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

They have also allegedly known for decades about the dire effects their businesses have on the environment; the ruling notes that the companies have known since the 1950s “that their fossil fuel products pose risks of severe impacts on the global climate” — yet despite knowing these risks, the companies “extensively promoted fossil fuels for pervasive use, while denying or downplaying these threats.”

These fossil fuel emissions are the primary cause of climate change and directly threaten New York City, the ruling explains. The city’s coastline is vulnerable to sea-level rise, which is largely due to climate-related factors, and the ruling notes that rising temperatures could result in an estimated 30% to 70% increase in heat-related deaths in the summer of 2020.

As a result, New York City sought compensatory damages for its climate change-related costs from the companies, in order to “shift the costs of protecting the City from climate change impacts back onto the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.” The city argued that the companies’ “ongoing conduct continues to exacerbate global warming and cause recurring injuries to New York City,” and filed the lawsuit on the grounds of the companies’ actions being both a public and private nuisance and constituting as trespassing.

In his ruling, however, U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan dismissed the case by saying that federal law and the Clean Air Act displaces the city’s claims, as the “widespread global dispersal” of the companies’ greenhouse gas emissions go far beyond New York City. The Clean Air Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency to establish pollutant standards and prosecute polluters who do not comply, which a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling noted means that “any federal common law right to seek abatement of carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants” — such as New York City’s attack on oil companies — are displaced.

A tanker truck passes the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, in 2010.
A tanker truck passes the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California, in 2010. Paul Sakuma/AP

“Given the interstate nature of these claims, it would thus be illogical to allow the City to bring state law claims when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the Executive Branch as they require a uniform, national solution,” Keenan wrote.

Keenan also noted the global nature of these companies — two of which are not based in the U.S. — and that their greenhouse gas emissions prohibit the city’s case from going forward, due to “the need for judicial caution in the face of ‘serious foreign policy consequences.’”

“The Court recognizes that the City, and many other governmental entities around the United States and in other nations, will be forced to grapple with the harmful impacts of climate change in the coming decades,” Keenan wrote. “However, the immense and complicated problem of global warming requires a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel use with the gravity of the impending harms.”

“To litigate such an action for injuries from foreign greenhouse gas emissions in federal court would severely infringe upon the foreign-policy decisions that are squarely within the purview of the political branches of the U.S. Government. Accordingly, the Court will exercise appropriate caution and decline to recognize such a cause of action.”

In a statement quoted by the New York Times, New York City spokesman Seth Stein said about the ruling: “The mayor believes big polluters must be held accountable for their contributions to climate change and the damage it will cause New York City. We intend to appeal this decision and to keep fighting for New Yorkers who will bear the brunt of climate change.”

Keenan argued against using the courts to fight climate change more generally in his ruling, saying “the serious problems caused [by climate change] are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government.”

This reasoning was praised by Chevron’s lead lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who said in a statement quoted by the Times that “Judge Keenan got it exactly right.”

“Trying to resolve a complex, global policy issue like climate change through litigation is ‘illogical,’ and would intrude on the powers of Congress and the executive branch to address these issues as part of the democratic process,” Boutrous said.

Despite Keenan’s warning, however, New York City’s lawsuit is one of many climate change suits that have recently emerged and moved forward in an attempt to force accountability on climate change.

The New York City lawsuit marks the second oil company suit to be thrown out in recent weeks, after a similar legal challenge by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, California, failed in June. Yet there are still other opportunities for such suits to prevail: The Boston Globe noted that more than a dozen cities and counties have filed suit against fossil fuel companies, including legal challenges in ColoradoWashington and Imperial Beach, California.

“It’s easy to see this decision as momentum,” Michael Burger, executive director of Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, told Grist about the New York ruling’s potential effect on other cases. “[But] no other court is bound by this decision. It’s as simple as that.”

Rhode Island became the first state to file suit against these companies in early July, and the Boston Globe noted that state courts could take a different view than the more unfavorable recent federal court rulings. Keenan explained in his ruling that while federal common law challenges are invalid under the Clean Air Act, state law claims against polluters could be brought under “the law of each State where [oil and gas companies] operate power plants.”

Investigations are also underway in Massachusetts and New York to determine if Exxon Mobil misled the public and its investors by concealing information about climate change. A state court allowed the Massachusetts investigation to move forward in April after Exxon Mobil sued to bring the investigations to an end.

Activists rally outside of State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to support the New York state investigation into whether the oil giant Exxon covered up its knowledge about climate change on Feb. 22, 2017, in New York City.
Activists rally outside of State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to support the New York state investigation into whether the oil giant Exxon covered up its knowledge about climate change on Feb. 22, 2017, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Trump administration has also been frequently taken to task in the court system for its role in exacerbating the climate change crisis. The New York Times reported in March that since January 2017, attorneys general in blue states have filed more than two dozen lawsuits against the Trump administration’s environmental policies — and the lawsuits have only continued to mount. Fourteen states sued the EPA for failing to establish guidelines for limiting methane emissions in April, and 17 states separately sued the EPA over its attempt to roll back emission standards in May.

Most recently, California and 14 other states filed suit against the EPA on Thursday over its recent decision to suspend Obama-era rules that limited pollution from trucks, the Associated Press reported. The initial rules limited the production of trucks with older engines that don’t meet emission standards. While the EPA claimed the rule was to protect small businesses who produce the trucks, the Obama administration said the pollution from these noncompliant engines could result in an additional 1,600 early deaths per year, according to the AP.

In addition to these attorney general-backed lawsuits, another group has emerged as a major force in climate change lawsuits: America’s youth. Climate advocacy group Our Children’s Trust is currently backing lawsuits brought by young Americans against the governments of nine states: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

The lawsuits are aimed at forcing “science-based climate recovery action” in the states. The Florida lawsuit, for instance, attacks the government’s “deliberate indifference to [the Plaintiffs’] fundamental rights to a stable climate system in violation of Florida common law and the Florida Constitution” and asks the state to take such actions as “prepar[ing] and implement[ing] an enforceable comprehensive statewide remedial plan” to phase out fossil fuel use.

Twenty-one children and young adults are also taking the federal government to task for its climate change inaction. The federal lawsuit, which was first filed against the Obama administration in 2015, alleges that through “the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources,” Our Children’s Trust wrote on its website.

The federal trial is currently scheduled to begin Oct. 29, although the Trump administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to block further legal proceedings until an appeals court rules on a request to have the case dismissed.

Be Careful What You Pray For…

Exposing the Big Game

…it just might happen (if you’re praying for a pandemic, that is).

Anytime now, we’re likely to hear that the current strain of bird flu mutated and crossed the species barrier to infect homo sapiens. But don’t worry, it’ll still be “safe to eat” (though you’d think it would lose it’s appeal).

TIMELINE-Tracing the bird flu outbreak in U.S. poultry flocks

(Reuters) – Two highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza (HPAI) have been found in 14 U.S. states since December, prompting partial to total bans on imports of U.S. poultry and egg products to other countries that were valued at more than $6 billion last year.

The H5N2 strain has been reported in Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. It has also been identified on farms in Ontario, Canada. The H5N8 strain has been identified in California and…

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Thousands of Chickens Perished Instantly: One Poultry Farm’s Fight Against Scorching Heat

Exposing the Big Game

(image: Yonhap)

(image: Yonhap)

EUMSEONG, Jul. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — When a heat wave warning was issued for all of North Chungcheong Province on Tuesday afternoon, poultry farm owners in the region were naturally on high alert.

At one poultry farm measuring 800 square meters in size situated in Maengdong-myeon in the province’s Eunseong-gun, over 17,000 chickens were seen suffering as the mercury rose.

Many chickens had collapsed, having succumbed to the heat.

The temperature circa 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday was 31.7 degrees Celsius. Seven gigantic fans were in operation, but were not enough to help cool the chickens down.

By 2 p.m., the thermometer shot up to 35 degrees. Ban, the 43-year-old owner of the poultry farm, said that the summer heat was “just as dangerous as bird flu” for the…

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Trump aims to end automatic protections for some species

DENVER (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday proposed ending automatic protections for threatened animals and plants and limiting habitat safeguards meant to shield recovering species from harm.

Administration officials said the new rules would advance conservation by simplifying and improving how the landmark Endangered Species Act is used.

“These rules will be very protective,” said U.S. Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, adding that the changes would reduce the “conflict and uncertainty” associated with many protected species.

The proposals drew immediate condemnation from Democrats and some wildlife advocates.

Critics said the moves would speed extinctions in the name of furthering its anti-environment agenda. Species currently under consideration for protections are considered especially at risk, including the North American wolverine and the monarch butterfly, they said.

“It essentially turns every listing of a species into a negotiation,” said Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity. “They could decide that building in a species’ habitat or logging in trees where birds nest doesn’t constitute harm.”

A number of conflicts have arisen in the decades since the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act, ranging from disruptions to logging to protect spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest, to attacks on livestock that have accompanied the restoration of gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains and upper Midwest.

Some species including gray wolves and grizzly retained protection for years after meeting their original recovery goals, often due to court orders resulting from environmentalists’ lawsuits.

The proposed changes include potential limits on the designation of “critical habitat” for imperiled plants and animals; an end to a regulatory provision that gives threatened plants and animals the same protections as species at greater risk of extinction; and streamlining inter-agency consultations when federal government actions could jeopardize a species.

Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, welcomed the potential for the changes to spur greater collaboration between landowners, government officials and conservationists — even as he cautioned against ending automatic protections for threatened species.

“This is not all good or all bad,” he said.

O’Mara said crafting case by case species management plans is an appropriate alternative to the blanket protections now given automatically to threatened and endangered species. Until those plans are completed, he said, broad protections against harming plants and animals should stay in place.

More than 700 animals and almost 1,000 plants in the U.S. are shielded by the law. Hundreds more are under consideration for protections.

Fewer than 100 species have been taken off the threatened and endangered lists, either because they were deemed recovered or, in at least 10 cases, went extinct.

Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have been strong advocates for oil and gas drilling and other types of development, frequently criticizing environmental policies they say hinder economic activity. Zinke also has sought to portray himself as a conservationist in the vein of President Teddy Roosevelt who will protect the nation’s natural resources.

The administration’s proposals follow longstanding criticism of the Endangered Species Act by business groups and some members of Congress. Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation to enact broad changes to the law, saying it hinders economic activities while doing little to restore species.

One of the chief architects of that effort, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the administration’s proposals were “a good start” but indicated more work was needed.

“The administration is limited by an existing law that needs to be updated,” Barrasso said. “The changes I have proposed will empower states, promote the recovery of species, and allow local economies to thrive.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative law firm headquartered in California, lobbied for some of the changes.

Foundation attorney Jonathan Wood said the proposals would relieve apprehensions among property owners who in the past have been reluctant to get involved in species conservation efforts.

Hawaiian monk seal pup rescued from Molokai

Exposing the Big Game

https://apnews.com/e46cc6a32b7e4b26844e3156ec61ed24/Hawaiian-monk-seal-pup-rescued-from-Molokai

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaiian monk seal pup found malnourished on Molokai is now in the care of the Marine Mammal Center’s hospital on the Big Island.

The pup named Sole is in stable condition at the Ke Kai Ola facility in Kailua-Kona after it was rescued last week.

The male pup born in late June was prematurely weaned from its mother earlier this month, the center said. The short nursing time caused the pup to have low body weight and minimal reserves, creating concern for wildlife officials.

“After several consultations with the patient-residents and the Kalaupapa community, the decision was made to rescue the animal,” said Eric Brown, Marine Ecologist at Kalaupapa National Historic Park.

Center veterinarians, supported by the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Park Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rescued the pup and flew it from Molokai to the Big Island animal…

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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Tribes fight trophy hunters to protect sacred grizzlies

Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

Those that massacred our people … they wiped out the buffalo, the grizzlies and the wolves — and today that mindset is still there, that ‘disease of the mind’” ~ Chief Arvol Looking Horse, GOAL Tribal Coalition to Protect the Grizzly

The delisting of the grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park plays out a tragedy that the Indian tribes know well. David E. Stannard argues in his new book, “American Holocaust,” that the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

Today we have the ongoing massacre of animals in slaughterhouses and the hunting and trapping of the last of Earth’s wildlife.

The agencies charged with protecting our so-called commons, like those supposedly protecting water, air, land and democracy, have long been turned upside down to do the opposite. It is all…

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Rare condor found dead in southeast Wyoming

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — An endangered California condor has been found dead in southeast Wyoming.

The Powell Tribune reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently in the process of transporting the bird to a facility in Oregon for necropsy.

One of less than 300 California condors in existence in the wild, the female juvenile bird was raised in captivity in northern Arizona and released this past March.

Flying more than 500 miles from its release site, the condor was spotted recently on Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range. The sighting captured the imagination of birders in Wyoming in the first sighting of the species in the state since 1998.

However, the condor was then found dead this week by a field biologist with the Peregrine Fund.

___

https://apnews.com/6b4d6404a3eb402489849e63128ef619/Rare-condor-found-dead-in-southeast-Wyoming

Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, http://www.powelltribune.com

In global warming fight, new tactics to make cows burp less

https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2018/0719/In-global-warming-fight-new-tactics-to-make-cows-burp-less

Scientists around the world are making strides in reducing methane emissions from belching livestock by developing probiotic supplements, breeding animals that emit less, and planting trees in pastures to absorb greenhouse gasses.

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters/File
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Caption

From New Zealand to the United States and Kenya to Colombia, scientists are on a mission to fight global warming by making livestock less gassy.

Livestock are responsible for about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to calculations by some experts, this puts the livestock sector on par with transport. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says transport is responsible for 14 percent of emissions.

Ruminants such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats produce nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane, which is the most emitted gas and is released through belching.

Scientists are working on ways to reduce those emissions, including by breeding animals that burp less, adjusting their diets so they produce less methane, and planting trees in pastures.

“We domesticated ruminants over 10,000 years ago and relatively little has changed. It’s time that got an upgrade,” said Elizabeth Latham, co-founder of Texas-based Bezoar Laboratories.

Her company is working on a type of probiotic – helpful bacteria or yeasts in the digestive system – which has shown a 50 percent reduction of methane emissions in cattle during research.

Although less prevalent than carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, methane is more potent because it traps 28 times more heat, according to a 2016 study by the Global Carbon Project, which groups climate researchers.

Bezoar’s probiotic can be put in water or feed, and even sprinkled on grass, said Ms. Latham, who won a Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award in 2017 for the patent-pending product.

Thousands of miles away, New Zealand’s AgResearch has bred sheep to produce 10 percent less methane.

“In a single sheep, a 10 percent drop maybe not so significant. But when there’s 19 million sheep in the country, it starts to make a huge impact,” said Suzanne Rowe, a geneticist at the government institute.

The low-methane sheep are the result of a decade of research, and they are also leaner and grow more wool, she said.

“The beauty of breeding the animal to be low methane … is it’s permanent,” Ms. Rowe told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding the team is conducting similar research on cattle and deer.

Agriculture accounts for nearly half of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and transforming the sector is key to meeting the target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has said.

Attempts to reduce methane emissions from livestock are not limited to the world’s most affluent nations.

In India, a national program to boost the milk production of cows and buffalos by improving their diet is also helping the environment, according to Rajesh Sharma, senior manager at the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

The NDDB uses software to assess the ideal diet for an animal, based on its physical profile and environment. Changes usually include adjusting the feed quantity and adding locally-available mineral supplements.

The tailored diet means each animal produces 12 to 15 percent less methane, according to Mr. Sharma.

Over the past five years, the program has reached about 2.6 million of the nearly 300 million cows and buffalos recorded in India’s 2014 livestock census, he said.

In Kenya, scientists are testing various local grasses to see if they improve the productivity of livestock, which would reduce the amount of emissions per kilogram of milk, meat, or eggs.

Cows are placed in respiration chambers where scientists measure the methane emissions from different feeds available in East Africa, said Lutz Merbold, senior scientist at the Mazingira Centre, a Nairobi-based research institution.

Results are expected in mid-2019, according to Mr. Merbold, who hopes to persuade farmers to adjust feed practices by appealing to their concerns on climate change.

“If you have a well-fed cow and drought hits you, it will probably survive longer than a less well-fed cow,” he said.

Improvements in productivity alone could reduce up to 30 percent of methane emissions from livestock globally, said Anne Mottet, FAO’s livestock policy officer.

Her department has developed a web application that allows farmers and researchers to calculate how changes in animal feed may affect emissions.

Latin American ranchers are experimenting with silvopastoralism – planting trees in pastures where they absorb greenhouse gases and offset emissions, while restoring degraded soil and improving biodiversity.

“They can be different types of trees – for timber, fruit trees, even trees that animals can eat,” said Jacobo Arango, a researcher at the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.

As consumers have become more environmentally conscious, ruminants have been vilified for their emissions, as well as the amount of land and water they require.

Beef farming in particular has been heavily criticized, as it accounts for 41 percent of the livestock sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to FAO.

In a March report, Greenpeace warned that a continued increase in the consumption of meat and dairy could undermine Paris Agreement targets to stop temperatures from rising more than 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial times.

The environmental group called for global meat and dairy production and consumption to be cut by half by 2050.

Yet, campaigns to abandon meat sometimes ignore the reality of small-scale farmers in Asia, Africa, and South America who depend on animals for their health and livelihoods, according to experts.

Merbold, of the Mazingira Centre, said consumers in richer countries have the privilege of turning away from meat-heavy diets.

“But if you’re living in certain regions in Africa, livestock provides you with essential nutrition you can’t get somewhere else,” he said.

The animals are also used to transport water and plow land, as well as producing manure to fertilize crops, said FAO’s Mottet.

What is needed is balance, she said.

“We have countries that consume about 220.462 lbs of meat [per person each year]. In others, it’s about four.”

This story was reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.