Global Energy Management part II

22 November 2006 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

In the same issue of The Boston Globe that I quoted in my previous post, there is an editorial titled “Diet for a hot planet” by Daniel Nepstad.  This editorial makes the connection between what we eat and global warming.  Tropical rain forests, which turn out to store incredible amounts of carbon (400 billion tons worth), are being chopped down to make available arable soil for third world countries in need of income.  But as the article points out, there are signs for hope:

Imbedded in the growing worldwide demand for agricultural commodities is an increasingly rigorous set of environmental and social standards. Finance institutions, commodity traders, consumer groups, environmental NGOs, and human rights organizations are pushing to raise the bar on the socio-environmental “quality” of the agricultural-commodity production chain. For example, the companies that buy most of the soy produced in the Amazon recently declared a two-year moratorium on the purchase of soy grown on recently cleared Amazon rainforest soil, responding to a Greenpeace attack on McDonald’s restaurants in Europe that fatten their chickens with Amazon soy.

And international climate negotiations provide another ray of hope. Last year, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica proposed the compensation of tropical nations for their efforts to curb deforestation. Brazil advanced a similar proposal at the Nairobi round of negotiations last week.

So here is another example of emergent voluntary energonomics–good news!  The big question is this:  will U.S. citizens, the biggest consumers of meat (5% of the population consuming 25% of the world’s meat) be able to curb their consumption for this luxury item?  The editorial ends by suggesting as much:

But the demand for agricultural commodities also must come down. And there the hope is as close as our dinner tables. If Americans face the connections between diet and the planet by eating less meat — thumbing their nose at the Atkins diet — they could provide a rare act of leadership in slowing global warming.


Entry filed under: energonomics.

Global Energy Management Blogademia

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