"It's Not Going to Amount to a Hill of Beans What You Eat in Terms of Climate Change" - End QuoteTue, 19 Feb 2019 11:31:42 CST
One of the biggest issues for the cattle industry right now from an environmental standpoint, according to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Senior Director for Sustainable Beef Production Research Dr. Sara Place, is the ongoing debate over cattle’s contributions to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. This discussion has crescendoed in recent weeks since the publishing of the EAT - Lancet study that calls for drastic reduction in meat consumption in a proposed solution to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions originating from the beef industry. In a recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, Place attempted to correct the study’s inaccuracies and false representations of the beef industry in regard to climate change. She says that although the matter is quite complex, it is important for beef producers to understand what is being talked about and why it is wrong.
“The way methane is being counted now is essentially over-inflating the impact the cattle are having on the climate. Understand, these methane emissions that are coming from US cattle have been on the decline over time and are not contributing to higher concentrations in the atmosphere,” she said. “We need to make sure that is clear and drive home the point that the answer to all this in terms of feeding 10 billion people in the future is doing more with less and staying on this path of being responsible stewards of the land. We can absolutely nourish everybody and do so in a responsible manner.”
Place contends the people behind the Lancet study are essentially betting against farmers and ranchers as well as science to improve over time. However, she argues that improvement is already being made as the US industry alone has reduced its impact by a third over the last four decades. She admits that is not necessarily the same case everywhere around the world but says that is where the US can step up to lead the world in improving global beef production. She argues, too, that the skeptics’ case is inherently flawed. Indeed, cattle emit methane, but what one Oxford University study recently pointed out is that methane produced by ruminants is part of a ten-year carbon cycle that is constantly being recycled. Place confesses, it is a difficult process to explain, but the fact remains the same.
“It’s not going to amount to a hill of beans what you eat in terms of climate change. We really need to drive that home to people,” Place asserted. “Changing diets is not a panacea solution for climate change.”
Listen to NCBA’s Dr. Sara Place drive her argument over the misperception of cattle’s contribution to climate change home, with Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz - brought to you by the American Angus Association. America’s breed.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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