Stop Eating Beef, Jairam Ramesh Tells The West

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told  a UN forum in Delhi on Thursday that the western world should stop eating beef to cut methane gas emissions.  Speaking after the release of the UN Population Fund's
stop eating beef jairam ramesh tells the west -...
PTI November 20, 2009 14:23 IST

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told  a UN forum in Delhi on Thursday that the western world should stop eating beef to cut methane gas emissions. 

Speaking after the release of the UN Population Fund's report “State of World Population 2009 – Facing A Changing World : Women, Population and Climate”, Ramesh said :  ” You may laugh at it. But the solution to cut emissions is to stop eating beef. It leads to emission of methane (CH4) that is 23 times more potent that carbon dioxide (CO2). But the best thing for us, in India, is we are not a beef-eating nation.” 

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock produces 18 pc of the total Greenhouse gas emissions, which is even more than the transportation sector.  The simple reasoning : Less consumption of beef means its less production. Cows contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by way of producing methane in burps and dung, mostly due to the soya bean and corn in livestock. 

However, according to various researches, the bigger issue is that around one billion cattle in the world need 17 times as much land, 26 times water, 20 times fossil fuels, and 6 times as many chemicals. 

In fact, producing a kilogram of beef takes up seven times more farmland than that needed vis-à-vis chicken, says a report in The Pioneer, Delhi. 

The United States leads the pack of the highest beef consumers in the world,. According to statistics of the Federation of American Scientists and US Dept of Agriculture, beef consumption in the US in 2009 stood at 12,554 million tones, which is nearly 25 pc more than what the European Union nations consume. India's beef consumption is 1,875 metric tones  CWE(current working estimate) which is higher than that of Pakistan's 1155 MT (CWE). 

An average American eats 67 pounds of beef a year out of the average of 195 pounds of total meat consumed. 

India's own livestock is pegged at a whopping over 48 crore, arguably the largest in the world.   Together this livestock emits nearly 12 million tones of methane annually. 

Reducing beef and pork intake would create a new carbon sink, as vegetation would thrive on unused farmland. Millions of tones of methane would be saved every year due to reduced farm emissions.

 
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