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Forget Trump. 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from meat consumption

by / 0 Comments / 03/04/2017

Last week, Donald Trump gave efforts to slow climate change his freakishly short middle finger when he signed an executive order to unravel Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

 

The plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power generation, focusing on emissions from coal-burning power plants, in an attempt to combat climate change.

The decision is fairly unsurprising from someone who’s repeatedly referred to global warming as a hoax and once tweeted that the concept of global warming was invented by the Chinese, but it’s alarming all the same.

It’s still unclear what effect Trump’s executive order will have on carbon emissions, but either way his decision sends a damaging message; it suggests that global warming isn’t a serious issue, or, worse, isn’t an issue at all. The situation is disheartening, but by no means must we sit back and accept the consequences of Trump’s decision, whatever they may be, nor must we hope or wait for Trump and his cronies to face opposition and be quashed. The power to save the planet is very much in the people’s hands.

While coal is responsible for 44 per cent of global COemissions, what we eat in our day-to-day lives has a more severe impact on climate change than we might expect. Livestock and their by-products account for 51 per cent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not to say that the catastrophic effects of burning coal aren’t a concern, but it’s important to recognise that even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our global limit of 565 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2030 due to animal agriculture alone. The solution? Stop eating meat.

Outraged responses from politicians, environmental groups and the public alike show how serious a concern climate change and the threat it poses to life on Earth is to almost all of us.

Regardless of any backwards steps leaders may take, it remains a fact that industries only produce that which is profitable, and that as consumers we vote with our money. We do not require anyone’s permission to boycott the meat, egg and dairy industries, and the single most effective step we, the people, can take to slow climate change can be taken right now. We do not have to let brainless demagogues like Trump play around with the future of our planet; when we align our lifestyles with our values, we can counteract the effects of harmful anti-environmentalist rhetoric by the likes of Trump.

Making practical, effective lifestyle changes in order to save the planet is something we can do every day, and all it takes is leaving meat off your plate. Our consumption of animal products is unnecessary and harmful, and planet Earth is too dear a price to pay.

English student at King's College London. A reader, writer, and fighter for the rights of living things.