The UN’s New Report on Global Warming Is the Most Terrifying Yet

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This undated handout photo provided by NASA shows the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic. Two new studies indicate that part of the huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a slow collapse in an unstoppable way. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured. (AP Photo/NASA)
The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic. (AP Photo/NASA)

The New York Times and Bloomberg News got a look at a draft of a new UN report on climate change. It’s bleak, to say the least.

From the Times:

Runaway growth on the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report.

Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.

The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities.

The draft report is the latest from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and summarizes earlier reports using “blunter, more forceful language.” Read Justin Gillis’ full article for the Times here.

The IPCC’s dire outlook comes amid tentative signs that the needle might be moving on the issue. Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced plans to implement what is essentially a state-by-state cap and trade program. China announced its intention to do the same.

But one of the central points of the IPCC report is that some of what we’ve wrought is already irreversible, and more of it soon will be. The world’s existing power plants are already slated to pump over 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — a figure that’s growing by billions of tons each year, speeding up the changes that are already underway. Governments’ efforts to do something are a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed.

In November of 2015, the international community will convene for the next UN Climate Conference in Paris with the hope of hammering out a lasting international treaty to control emissions. Some veterans of previous talks describe the Paris Conference as the “last chance” to avert the more dangerous effects of global warming. With luck, the IPCC’s increasingly dire warnings will add even more urgency to the talks — and perhaps bring about the consensus negotiators have sought for decades.

John Light is a writer and journalist sometimes based in New York. He writes a lot about climate policy, both inside and outside of the US. He was a former associate digital producer for Moyers & Company. His work has been supported by grants from The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, and has been included in ProPublica's #MuckReads collection. You can follow him on Twitter at @LightTweeting.
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  • HopeWFaith

    What a visible tale of how the American Congress has betrayed American Citizens.

    A focus on destroying a black man’s power, has wreaked a horrible outcome upon the working class. That’s a whole lot of people, folks.

    We currently have an uninformed GOP, a group of men and several women who’ve chosen, literally chosen to turn away from all reports coming from very informed people who do not much of anything other than literally focus in on scientific evidence and record data which definitively relates the dire emergency we are melting into. This is not just turning a blind eye. This is a CHOICE to be IGNORANT and DESTROY. The GOP should just change its name to The Destroyers, and be done with it.

    I saw photos of the President yesterday and was stunned at how much he has aged in just 7 years. No president has aged this much this fast. The reason. He has been under constant attack from liars, cheaters, racists, haters, and greed. No president since before 1950 has dealt with so much sick behavior. I am no fan of some of the President’s decisions, but I can see what the hatred has done. It is visible, not only in his face, but in the faces of millions of American workers. Lives have been destroyed. Lives have been altered. This GOP deserves nothing kind from Americans. Certainly not our votes.

    In the case of actions needed to reduce our carbon pollution, I do hope the President has the courage to go big, to do some real damage to the polluters, and to help the planet, as much as is humanly possible. Now that is a big thing to ask.

  • GregoryC

    Obama rejected the Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen, 2009. Fossil fuel industry subsidies have increased by 45% during his administration. Obama’s environmental plan does not address methane emissions.

    Until liberals quit blaming republicans for every problem this country faces, there won’t be any honest discussion possible. Both parties, bipartisan consensus, support Wall Street, fossil fuel subsidies and won’t do what is necessary until it is too late. Which it may be already.

  • George W. Hayduke

    While I agree, we all have a hand in this, drive your car? Use a/c? Fly? We are a society that enjoys comfort and distraction, we are ALL complicit.

  • Anonymous

    At least Obama actually supports the science, whether he’s been effective on the issue or not. The republicans on the House science committee deny all of it, and flaunt their ignorance like some kind of badge of honor.

  • Kat Hay

    Of course we’re all complicit, but our governmental leadership is generating policy, affecting reality-on-the-ground in big, collective numbers, not comparable to you and me, riding bikes and changing lightbulbs. The fact that we’re all complicit takes ZERO pressure off us to demand good policy-making in government. There are many different levels on which we have to operate to accomplish any meaningful change. It’s not either/or.

  • Kat Hay

    Point: Democrats have failed on this issue, too. Yes, absolutely. And to the extent Dems focus on the (far greater) responsibility Republicans bear for these failures, they are defusing their ability to advance the goal of moving us ahead into developing effective solutions and responses. The momentum for change must take all of our energy and attention. It will leave the resistance in the dust.

  • Kat Hay

    Also yes, of course. But it’s not sufficient.

  • George W. Hayduke

    Our gvmt. leadership is bought and sold there’s no blue/red, D/R, there are corporations and families pulling strings. I see how it is starting to affect local government. It is going to take you and me and the rest of us to educate the rest of the zomified masses to step away from the TVs and phones and see what’s really happening.

  • Dan Pangburn

    Search AGWunveiled to discover the two natural drivers that explain
    measured average global temperatures since before 1900 with 95% correlation
    (R^2 greater than 0.9), credible hind-casting back to 1610 and average global
    temperature trend prediction to 2037.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you, but how do you have a substantive discussion about about climate change, when one side doesn’t understand, and won’t accept the science? Really, I’m asking.

  • Joan Harris

    Until Democrats take back the House, there won’t be any honest discussion possible.

  • Ali Franco

    Although it’s great that governments so diligently spend hundreds of thousands generating these reports, all you have to do to verify global warming is experience the ongoing events. In July, I was in Tampa, Florida. The heat index combined with the record-breaking air temps convinced me that that we’re already in the throes of climate disaster. I grew up in Tampa and have never experienced heat of that magnitude. Also when I was there, some sort of bacteria was blooming in the bay and beaches were closed due to excessive danger. At the same time, my Los Angeles cousin called and said it was 118 degrees at her house, although the national weather channels were not reporting the actual temps. All you have to do is look around you. NOAA and the National Climatic Data Center also released their 4 year report a couple weeks ago in a neat little booklet. Blows me away that anyone can deny the facts. It’s like looking outside and saying, adamantly, “the sky is NOT blue.” And expecting everyone to fall for it just because you say so. Wake up folks.

  • Matthew

    Start with removing cattle, then oil and gas. If we can’t get past the two there is really no point to any of this.

  • Ryan Hofer

    the link to the Justin Gillis article goes to a different page

  • Jim

    You guys should go back to the library and read “On Population”, written by Thomas Malthus, almost two hundred years ago.

  • flomar

    I believe it would be more accurate to add that we don’t need to remove cattle. We do, however, need to remove factory farming of cattle – and, specifically, the unnecessary dependence on eating so much of that meat.

  • HopeWFaith

    Very likely that by tomorrow or very soon thereafter, the story will be coming out of what actions are planned to be taken by the President towards climate issues. Not only are we paying taxes to these Republican thugs who won’t take any positive actions for any reason, but on top of that, they expect you and I to pay for their disgusting abuse of power/law suit against this President. I have no tolerance for thieves, liars, cheats, but I most especially have no tolerance of MEN sitting on top of $millions who dare to destroy my family further with their own disgraceful law suits, which are paid for by ME, by YOU, by our Children. This is a treasonous action, in my opinion.

    We need action on climate demise, and we need it now. We need it to be strong, focused exactly on the areas that will make the most impact in reducing carbon pollution today. Not tomorrow. We need those actions for TODAY’s reality.

    This GOP abuse of power has gone on long enough. I say people who refuse to demand positive actions of their leaders to help our climate, our country, and our workers are just as cowardly as the GOP is. All Americans should be speaking loudly to the GOP, but most especially the Republicans who pay taxes and are seeing their lives limited by the GOP should be doing so. This is not a game, a joke. It is lives being altered by people who live and breath hatred against a black man in the White House. It is no wonder our police officers are so willing to savagely kill unarmed people. They see and hear role models from the GOP making a mockery of our government, of our people, and of our futures. It has got to stop. Stop wasting our tax dollars, and stop acting like 3rd grade bullies, demanding to hold power over others.

  • Chuck

    Yeah but……JOBS!……Economic Growth!……Our grandchildren will understand, we need a new SUV!

  • Chuck

    What’s your argument? Meat tastes good? jobs?

  • flomar

    Argument? My simple point is in response to what Matthew wrote: “Start with removing cattle…” Removing cattle? Cattle are not the problem, or something to be “removed? It is the human factory farming of cattle – very specifically – and how it is conducted that is the problem when it comes to the environment. If people cut down on their consumption of “cattle” it would certainly make a difference to help improve the situation.

    What’s your point? Meat tastes good? Jobs???? ????

  • Georgann Putintsev

    1.) Areas of Drought have already affected the number of Cattle for many ranchers… downsizing is the only answer for them.
    2.) Several Meat Packing plants have already closed due to the reduction in Cattle.
    3.) Overeating of Grasses during the hot seasons also affects it’s ability to recover as it takes longer for it do so; especially without adequate water. Managing your herds with more field rotation to keep those feeds in a faster recoverable state is necessary.
    4.) Reduction of Meat consumption; i.e. wallet size portions is healthier.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll be blunt: You don’t have a substantive discussion.
    If the fight for ACA taught us anything, it is that the next time Democrats have control, it will be necessary to ram thru the reforms needed.
    It’s what they got bitterly, noisily and daily accused of, even though Obama tried to compromise and appease in early rounds of ACA negotiations.
    So if the ginned up consequences of any Democratic action is maximalist negative propaganda from the right, well then, pass the best damn laws you can, since you’ll be accused of everything including murdering your own grandmother (“death panels!”).
    All this requires Democrats 1) growing a spine and 2) not being nearly as in thrall to corporate donors.
    But at a basic level, the GOP has shown that they have zero interest in substantive discussions. It is a massive distraction and delay to try.

  • William R. Mosby

    One might also weep for the loss of the only energy supply system that could have been ready in time to avert much or all of the carbon emissions, but it was discarded around 40 years ago. Yes, I’m talking about nukes. All the hysteria about Fukushima has effectively hidden one reality about fossil fuel: it has been killing 3 million people per year every year. Nuke accidents have killed only a tiny fraction of that number, if that. Fossil energy has killed maybe a hundred million since nuke expansion was effectively stopped in the 70s. If the expansion had continued, we would be well on the way to using new ones that would be solving the waste issue caused by the first generation of nukes by using their waste as fuel.

  • William Smith

    the real problem is how easily the public is distracted from the real issues confronting americans we think jobs and money are the most important thing right now because to most famalies they are so who has the time to worry about the climate it is hard to think about the damage we are doing to the planet when you don’t know how you are going to eat next week I hear a lot about sweat shops in other countries but are you aware that there are states in America where people can be forced to work 16 hours without a break for rest or food we as a country do business with thugs and murdrerers abroad because we need them?? do we need them or do they need us if you are a country who violates human rights,pollutes at will,uses hackers to steal then we should not do buissness with you but wait we are guilty of these things also


  • Barney Fife

    You tell em!!!

  • JonThomas

    That is a GREAT point!


    Meeting in person is what brings the cameras, the attention, and the glory… but more to the point: telecommuting opens the potential for people to listen in on the backroom double dealing. They can’t allow that to happen.

    Although… it would be nice if your point was indeed heeded.

  • David Kempton

    It’s all fake. Just a liberal attack on profit.

    Well, maybe industry WILL actually kill every human and animal – but they’ll die RICH!!!
    (sarcasm emoticon)

  • JonThomas

    Lol… nice.

    I keep wondering when people are going to learn that ‘jobs’ are NOT the answer to society’s problems.

    Today’s industries largely offer low-paying jobs, producing environmentally-unfriendly products and services contributing to an unhealthy community.

    ‘Jobs’ is crony capitalist rhetoric for continuing the inequitable, imperialistic, unjustly-exploitative status quo

  • Anonymous

    Wow. I thought all you nucLear apologists would have learned your lesson.
    Hysteria about Fuktheenvironment is warranted.

  • Anonymous

    I suggest you stop reading right wing denial blogs.

  • dj j

    Instead of listening to politicians, look at the facts. 97% of scientists all agree that climate change is the cause of humans. The other 3% use studies paid for by the oil industries. I would put my money on the scientists who actually study this, rather than billionaires who buy politicians and right wing news sites.
    Unfortunately, now that we have given our industries overseas, those billions of people now want to live like Americans, have their own cars, etc. I don’t see people changing until it is too late

  • Dan Pangburn

    Apparently you do not know what R^2 greater than 0.9 means. It means that the finding is extremely accurate.

    Some of us are trying to separate the science from the politics.

  • dj j

    the only way he can do anything is to change congress and senate to blue. With the redistricting of congressional districts, it is almost next to impossible, but if everyone that is really tired of their unpatriotic ways would vow to take a friend to the polls it might happen. How they have gotten away with doing nothing, shutting down the government, and the war on women and healthcare is beyond me..but then again…most of my friends are horribly misinformed on what is really going on in this world.

  • Sharon Stewart

    Cattle most certainly are a concern. Each cow emits up to 250 L of methane (a greenhouse gas) a day. Collectively, livestock and their manure are responsible for the largest share of methane production (34%), more than natural gas and petroleum systems (29%), landfills (18%), coal mining (10%), and other (9%). Source:

    “Overview of Greenhouse Gases” (US Environmental Protection Agency).

  • tym

    I spent absolutely nothing to put my solar panels to stop using electricity generated by burning coal. I insulated my attic. I replaced all old windows with dual glazed energy efficient ones. I replaced old weather strips around my doors. You say those are just too little things that would make any difference? If we ALL did that, it won’t be so little. Why wait for politicians to do anything? We all should start making changes – NOW!

  • Layla Godey

    “We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either. So climate mitigation policy is a political judgement based on what policymakers think carries the greater risk in the future – decarbonising or not decarbonizing.”- Dr. Richard Betts, A Lead Author of IPCC AR5. “…We don’t know…”

  • flomar

    I agree, cattle are certainly a concern. They are a concern as they are connected with, and exploited within the factory farming sphere. If folks simply cut down on their consumption, even one day a week, it will make a profound difference – (i.e.: Meat Free Monday).

    Cows are not the problem – humans are, as they consume way too much beef and created the factory farm system which is profoundly responsible for the stats you provided.

  • Sharon Stewart

    The factory farm is probably still only a North American model, and livestock are kept by small-scale farmers all around the world, as well. But perhaps the vast majority are on factory farms.

  • Anonymous

    Then read better scientific studies.
    Do you contend the record climate change since the industrial revolution is just a hiccup by the earth?

  • Dan Pangburn

    I have done the scientific study. No one has achieved a better match to average global temperature measurements.

    The ‘record’ started during the warm-up from the little ice age. Any human influence on climate change is insignificant. The current natural trend is down.

  • Anonymous

    You did the study? LOL obviously not.

    K0CH funded scientist has change of heart

    Before you have an opinion about this technical topics try reading the papers that have been produced on the subject. Begin with the free paper at

    It is written by physicist Richard Muller, funded partially by the Koch brothers, and a vocal critic of the methodology of ongoing studies. He stated in an interview that:

    “Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

  • Anonymous

    don’t have children. no children. no grandchildren. no grandchildren. no great grandchildren who will suffer …

  • Anonymous


  • Jim

    “No organism can survive in an environment of it’s own waste”.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got a kid and I’m worried that Prez Status Quobama and all politicians, aren’t capable of thinking a way out of this future.

  • HopeWFaith

    Well said!

  • Anthony Poirier

    Although climate change is happening, I still find it amazing how ALL these TERRIFYING forecasts and models have, well, so far, failed miserably. According to Al Gore’s propaganda film, the seas should’ve risen over half a metre (2 feet) by this date. Actual measurements? less than half a centimeter (One fifth of an inch). Western Canada just went through 4 years of the top ten coldest winters on record. And the trend is still cooling. You want me to take so-called “Global warming” more seriously? Predict ONE thing accurately. Not made up on the spot and it happens a day later. ONE thing that WILL happen in 5 years. You’re batting average so far is .111 That’s pretty sad.

  • Ieatrattlesnake

    Don’t grow vegetables. No vegetables. No carrots. No eggplants. No cucumbers. No watermelons that will suffer …

  • Chuck

    Of course you understand that I was being facetious.

  • Barney Fife

    another cryptic contribution. All organisms survive in environments of their own waste – the key being how we define “environment” and “waste”.

  • JonThomas

    Yes, but I wasn’t.

    The motivations manifested within your concise quip elicited my elucidation.

  • Dan Pangburn

    You obviously did not do the search for agwunveiled.

    I am familiar with the Muller study. All that he did is verify that temperature measurements were correct. Very few, including me doubt that, although NOAA and others have been busy lately changing them to prop up their AGW bias.

    Muller also said this ” These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as carbon dioxide does.”

    Do the search and discover an “alternate explanation” that, with only two naturally occurring and publicly available drivers, matches the data since before 1900 with 95% correlation. No one else has done anywhere near that well.

  • Anonymous

    Global-Warming Denial Hits a 6-Year High

    —By Chris Mooney | Fri Jan. 17, 2014

    According to both Anthony
    Leiserowitz of Yale and Ed Maibach of George Mason, the leaders of the two
    research teams, the answer may well lie in the so-called global warming “pause”—the misleading idea that global warming has
    slowed down or stopped over the the past 15 years or so. This claim was used by
    climate skeptics, to great effect, in their quest to undermine the release of
    the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report in
    September 2013—precisely during the time period that is in question in the
    latest study. Global warming is nothing new we have been knowing about it for
    over a hundred years,,,what is new is the deniers,,,who are they the ones that contribute to it the most of
    course. who’s most
    responsible—Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Peabody Coal are all among the top
    producers, along with state-owned organizations such as Saudi Aramco. This new
    research can be a game changer in our efforts to reduce global warming

    Science Committee Is More Worried About Aliens Than Climate Change

    The Huffington Post | by Shadee Ashtari Posted: 05/22/2014

    Loses 8 Manhattans,,NASA images show a massive iceberg floating away from
    Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. The 270-square-mile
    chunk broke away
    in July. “As the ice retreats, the oil
    giants are moving in. Instead of seeing the melting as a grave warning to
    humanity, they’re eyeing the previously inaccessible oil beneath the seabed at
    the top of the world. They’re exploiting the disappearance of the ice to drill
    for the very same fuel that caused the melting in the first place.”

    For a global warming conspiracy to exist, you’d
    need scientists around the world to be in on it. Not scientists at one
    university, or scientists in one country. Scientists everywhere, from Australia
    to Japan, from China to America. This is scarcely possible, especially in light
    of the incentive structure in science

    what is realy odd is that NO POLITITION has any problem with ,,E=mc2

  • Dan Pangburn

    You obviously did not do the search for agwunveiled.

    I am familiar with the Muller study. All that he did is verify that temperature measurements were correct. Very few, including me, doubt that, although NOAA and others have been busy lately changing them to prop up their AGW bias.

    Muller also said this ” These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as carbon dioxide does.”

    Do the search and discover an “alternate explanation” that, with only two naturally occurring and publicly available drivers, matches the data since before 1900 with 95% correlation. No one else has done anywhere near that well.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously you cannot remember what you write or what you read.
    You claim, you “did the study”. BS
    I know what AGW is and also read it again when you mentioned it.
    You are still full of it.

  • Jim

    We’ll see how the organism defines too much waste. That’s what counts, isn’t it, not what the corporations and lawyers say.

  • Anonymous

    And you don’t care about other people’s children? Shame on you. Call yourself veggie! You have no moral fiber.

  • Anonymous


    If they are right and we still work as if we might need it, then no loss and maybe many new scientific discoveries and ways to treat the planet better. If we are right and nothing is done, we are done. It only makes sense to hedge your bets. Everyone with a tiny bit of sense has contingency plans and keeps their eyes open wide.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. The way most boomers who were raised in the working class may remember.

    My biggest “R” is “Refuse” and I do the rest too. About a year ago stopped buying drinking glasses to replace broken one. I use the nicer jars that food comes in and those I used when I could still manage canning. They are stronger, less likely to tip and don’t have a short shelf life. As I have no car, I have been dragging around a bag of batteries for years to properly dispose of. In NJ there was a local service station that I used.

    Pick wild berries. Re learn how to cook from scratch where you can. Refuse processed food if you can due to the amount of energy and toxins used and the waste of land growing corn and soybeans to make processed food instead of growing food you can eat.

    Don’t support companies like Nestle that is trying to take over public water to sell back to you in plastic bottles made of petroleum products.

    If you do not vote you 1. are not accepting your responsibility for supporting the freedom you enjoy and would not have had 50 – 100 years ago. 2. are not represented if you do not vote. 3. are a part of the problem. Politics has always been corrupt but only now do people think not showing up will change that.

  • Anonymous

    Indeedily. Anyone waiting for a politician to help is absolutely ignorant of how we got to where we are today and serves no purpose in a democracy.

    You have done, tym what was normal in my parents and maybe even among boomers. If the car engine failed the men hoisted it out, fixed it and put it back. You cannot do that anymore. We have been shut out of our own belongings. We did not fly all over the world to drink in different hot tubs. We went camping in a tent. If a sock got a hole, we mended it rather than throw it out. This throw away culture of consumers hysterical over dirt bag celebrities are killing everything and laughing about it.

    Just wait kiddies. Just wait. My son is ready. Anyone who does not teach the facts to their children and make sure they can accept and live with rapid changes is a child abuser. If we are very very lucky, we won’t fall back further than early industrial and even that will require skills and attitudes that are not being widely taught.

  • Anonymous

    Especially don’t use Al Gore quite a few years ago as any kind of evidence on either side is just plain dim. If that is their beef they need to get off the Internet too as Al Gore invented it. ROFL

  • Anonymous

    That would be awesome, Terilyn.

  • Anonymous

    There is also slavery in American, Canada, Thailand, UK, and nearly every other nation. Outright slavery. Not African American and they don’t care about living slaves just their own ancestors.

    Got to get that new iPhone because now it has colors. Throwing out working digital products is despicable. They are full of heavy metals and are mined by poor people who die of hideous cancers. But, Jesus god, some celebrity has one so I have to have one. I want to pay more for an iPhone because I am too dim to realize paying way more does not mean it is better.

    They are taking us back to the bad old days because of laziness, entitlement and greed. I am talking of the young coming up now.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, it is a joy to see people use our language well. Beautiful sentence and great fun. Thank you Jon Thomas for both comments.

  • Anonymous

    You have my compassion. So many good Americans seeing their nation die before their eyes! It is actually very scary watching what is happening.

  • Anonymous

    Malthus was wrong and he had no idea, could have had no idea, of what modern technology would bring.

  • Guest

    In addition, which environment, which organism. It is not like it is all the same, as Jim seems to think.

  • Anonymous

    And organism.

  • Anonymous

    I thought all of you would have discovered how few actual failures, not the ones that did not happen due to vigilance, there are. The point would be to use it as we phase out petroleum and phase in green. The outcome would be all green and almost no nukes.

    Why am I speaking to a half wit who cannot even use his grown up vocabulary?

  • Anonymous

    We have known for close to 30 years that cows belch methane in huge quantities. We have known that cutting down the rain forests and leaving dead wood brings in termites who also produce massive amounts of methane and reduces the oxygen produced. We cut down the live trees, that termites won’t touch, in order to grow more beef. It comes from the breakdown of cellulose.

    No need to give up meat, cut back to small portions once in a while. “Diet for a Small Planet” includes this information. It is pretty old now but cows and termites still belch and fart methane.

  • Anonymous

    Yes! Modern farming techniques exhaust the soil. This happened in the Dust Bowl days in the 30’s. Instead of crop rotation and letting the land lay fallow for a year they have overwhelmed it with chemicals with nothing returned to the soil. Greed. Farmers in the Middle Ages knew better than to over use the soil without replenishing it. The top soil blew away in the 30’s. It is blowing away again as it was forgotten what happened in living memory in the face of massive greed.

    Both 2 and 3 rotation methods work.

  • Anonymous

    When people get bent at me for advocating less meat they seem to think it is because I don’t like meat. I have cattle ranching families up the wazoo. I grew up on wild meat and cattle. I love good beef and I do not need it. Maybe a couple of times a year. Because i love my son and the planet more than my hungers. I also won’t eat animals who are not raised on pastures instead of warehouses. That is a personal ethical choice that happens to fit into my knowledge of what is going on regarding meat.

  • Anonymous

    It has been on the agenda of animal rights activists in the UK for decades.

  • Anonymous

    Good post Ali. Personal experience is the first thing that I noticed and then I saw the reports coming out. Paying attention was a requirement for our ancestors to survive.

  • Anonymous

    They do not even believe their own.

  • ccaffrey

    Did you watch the video?

  • Barney Fife

    Jim, I think you have something in mind – but you seem to think it should be clear to the rest of us and it clearly is not.

    Maybe start at the beginning and explain for the rest of us what you are thinking..

  • Kenderson Ward

    Driving your car, using a/c, or flying are drops in the bucket – you want to make a real difference and end climate change you should go vegan, as should every other human on earth. Do not be fooled by the animal agriculture lobby – animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming, water depletion and deforestation but Big AgriBiz doesn’t want the conversation to drift to that subject. Animal agriculture contributes more carbon and methane to the atmosphere than the world’s entire transportation grid combined.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Agreed – and what’s really happening is even the big environmental groups like Greenpeace, Surfrider and the Sierra Club are not addressing the real problem, the number one cause of climate change – animal agriculture. The thing is we can circumvent the political process entirely just through our dietary choices.

  • Kenderson Ward

    You’re vegan, right?

  • Kenderson Ward

    Um – much of that meat? Try none of it. The world needs to go vegan in a hurry if we’re to ward off ultimate disaster.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Factory farming is not the only issue with livestock. Truth is grass-fed cattle is worse for the environment than factory farming and beyond cattle there’s pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep and fisheries all contributing far more to global warming than fossil fuels alone. Forget cutting consumption of cattle, forget trying to eat meat sustainably – there is no such thing – the world needs to go vegan – and I mean, yesterday.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Meat Free Monday is terrible because it gives everyone a free pass for those other six days. Cutting back on animal products won’t cut it – the only way out of this mess is to end consumption of animals entirely – but the question is, are people willing to put the planet and everyone on it ahead of their comfort? I doubt it.

  • Kenderson Ward

    The small grass-fed farms are worse for the planet than factory farms – and both are terrible – we need to eliminate animal agriculture entirely or we face utter destruction only a few decades from now.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Pasture raised meat requires more time feeding and watering to grow to slaughter size than does factory farm raised meat that is fed cash crops like grains and balloons in size much more quickly and thus uses less food and water in the process as it is killed sooner. People delude themselves into thinking pasture raised meat is sustainable but in actual fact it is worse than factory farmed meat. In terms of climate change all animal agriculture is terrible – the only answer is to go vegan – but I get it, people love cheese and steak and bacon – but hey – do we want to talk about ending climate change and averting disaster meanwhile continue to promote the leading cause at home or do we want to do something that actually makes a tangible difference, i.e. going vegan?

  • Kenderson Ward

    There is no such thing as sustainable meat. The only sustainable thing we can do in terms of the planet at large is to stop eating animals and animal products entirely.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Holistic management of herd animals will not feed 9 billion humans and counting – we simply don’t have the real estate. Meanwhile we can’t expect to carry on the practice for the sake of feeding the rich while people on the other side of the world starve because we were unwilling to use the land we’re using “holistically” to instead grow food for the destitute.

  • Kenderson Ward

    Cutting back to small portions is not cutting enough – it takes 660 gallons of water to produce one hamburger. Even if every American cut back on their meat consumption to one burger a month each – do the math – the planet cannot even sustain that – not to mention all of the nitrogen and waste runoff from farms that are creating ocean dead zones – not to mention that countries like China and Brazil are cutting down forests at alarming rates to raise meat.

    There is no such thing as sustainably cutting meat to small portions. The only sustainable thing we humans can do is to stop eating animals and animal products entirely. If we do that we stand a fighting chance…but only if.

  • ccaffrey

    Have you watched or read this yet? He started his work in Zimbabwe and was really astonished at how these practices not only stemmed desertification in some very degraded areas but restored savannahs and water sources previously lost to evaporation and not over decades, but sometimes within a couple years! If you watched this than you know that part of what has driven him for 40 years is a heartwrenching error that he and other well meaning and educated preserve managers made about what was causing the degradation of ecosystems in the area. Factory mono crop farms and industrial animal mills is the FURTHEST thing from what he is promoting! He has been chastised that he doesn’t have a “cookie cutter” formula for immediate successful reproduction in other areas. What he DOES have is a system of monitoring and evaluating the health of a variety of ecosystems that very much involves people who know the landscape, and giving them tools to diagnose adjustments to imbalances. A doctor can have 2 patients present with what appear to be identical symptoms, yet have two different problems and different correctives. That is not unlike the kind of diagnosis and management he promotes and teaches. Because he know hthat grazing animals whose natural patterns were honed by the existence of natural predators he also may save some wolf populations in the process! His work not only makes sense to me, but seems to have won over groups as diverse as African herdsman and large American ranchers. So by all means go after feedlot factories and monoculture farmers, particularly those poisoning the land. But I wouldn’t put this man in your cross-hairs. He’s actually making some headway and some previously unlikely allies. .

  • ccaffrey

    There’s a really good (read profitable) reason that the 1% want leaders in office who will prohibit the teaching of critical thinking in schools…..

  • Kenderson Ward

    Of course ranchers can get behind his work because he wants to promote their livelihood at the cost of everyone else’s ecosystems.

    This is the guy who recommended a mass culling of elephants blaming desertification wrongly on them – it was horrific.

    His idea of using animals to graze as a way to fight desertification is completely wrong-headed yet again. Promoting ranching or even promoting grazing is to promote the artificial inflation of numbers of animals whose numbers would otherwise be kept in check by natural predation. The more we inflate the numbers of grazing animals the more water becomes scarce, the more ranchers feel right in cutting down trees to create more pasture, and the more animal emissions further degrade our atmosphere and their waste runoff continues to deaden our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans.

    The idea is to NOT promote grazing anywhere and to completely reverse course – to end ranching to end the ways of life of yesteryear and adopt a new model that is ACTUALLY sustainable, i.e. everyone eat vegan.

    Yes, that is a SUPER TALL order – but anything short of that is speeding us to environmental catastrophe beyond what we’ve already witnessed.

  • JC

    To those who still doubt climate change I say, “…and how long can you trod water?”

  • 166655455666

    They’re much too stupid and senseless to do anything at all until it’s far too late. All they really care about is money. Anything else they tell you is simply lies and false concerns.

  • Vlad Thret

    Nothing will change until for-profit corporations are held accountable and banned from political influence.

  • Bonnie J. Williams

    JonThomas: Spot on — Rene Dubos would commiserate and affirm.
    ‘Jobs’ indeed are not the answer. One big hamster cage.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing will change until something happens that affects the bottom lines of big business, or the fat cats lose their million dollar beachfront homes. The rest is all collateral damage.

  • Jane Christmas

    We all know what to do. Every single one of us knows what to do. We all know how to make the world a better place, every single one of us.

    We all know we can figure out a better way to live with our earth. It is all we have but you would never know it. We live as if we believe those who would destroy us care about what happens to us, know what they are doing. And the real problem is that they do.

  • Anonymous

    I’m guessing your irony detector may need an upgrade :)

  • Anonymous

    How stupid is it to ruin the liveable option you have as a species on your own planet? Just so a relatively few corporations and the rich 1% who own them, can be even richer.

    Perhaps the human species really doesn’t deserve to survive …

  • doodlebugrusty

    But, you do have siblings, cousins, other relatives, friends etc. All of us have an investment in the survival of the species. I have no children either, but I have descendants thru my sibling, and thru my cousins. Nobody is “unconnected” to the earth and each other. We all have a responsibility to the earth, which has nurtured us to this point in history.

  • tym

    I happen to agree that growing animal to eat is the most expensive way to feed ourselves and not the healthiest. And I would like to see we change our diet that would considerably reduce the consumption of animal proteins.

  • Frank C

    I say let it happen we have it coming to us the sooner the better. Environmentalist are the worst offenders, biggest hypocrites, we all know, those that want to listen that is, the largest contributor to global warming is ANIMAL agriculture and yet we’ve done nothing to curb are addiction to eating meat. We have made the animals suffer long enough, it’s are turn, it will happen sooner than expected. maybe the next time around we’ll get it right, are greed has done us in.

  • Caesar

    It’s too late. This isn’t old news, this is news they have come across, but the reality is that it’s too late. Your family will suffer horribly in the next 20 years, as will mine. Time to decide how you want to go to the next life.

  • Erik Pye

    People are so crazy. We have to stop this I don’t want my children living in an environmental nightmare.

  • Shannon Mahoney

    It is NEVER to late to make positive change no matter what the situation. What is in the past is in the past and no we can not effect that, but we sure the heck can effect the future.

    One of the biggest things I see is this thought that somehow the Government has to make it happen.

    While yes the Government does play a role and yes voting for the more likely group to support change is very important…it isn’t the end all to beat all that many people think it is.

    The truth is that it lies within our ability as citizens of this Country and this World to make a big impact by closing down coal and gas Electrical Power companies, Nuclear power companies (Fukoshima is still happening, still releasing radiation into the ocean) etc.

    We do that by supplying our own power through solar power or other renewable means depending on where you live.

    There seems to be this lack of understanding that we actually don’t have to buy our power from Xcel or similar companies.

    It is in fact affordable to change over to solar or wind generated energy these days…in fact most companies offer plans that allow you to pay the average of your current electric bills for the next 10 years, or 15 years etc.

    Not to mention that there are companies offering to install and maintain systems at no cost to you and offer power at cents below current energy costs…locked in for the next 10 years…it’s a no brainier…unless you don’t actually own a house.

    My point is that we could go a long way into reducing em missions and taking our business away from the power companies which will inevitably result in the closer of the power plants.

    Job loss would occur which is one of the fears…and a true one, but if the reason for those job loss’s is an increase in solar and wind sales, then there will be plenty of jobs to move over too.

    There are so many things we can do…so lets just do them and it will have that impact…it will change things significantly.

  • Dano2

    the seas should’ve risen over half a metre (2 feet) by this date

    You’ve been duped (willingly?).



  • Jane Christmas

    Actually, I don’t believe it’s too late, at least not too late to fight for future generations. And I am angry enough and concerned enough to make changes in my own life to reduce my level of consumption. It has taken only short-sighted people to get us here. Fortunately, not everyone is ready to give up…

  • Brian

    Lots of doomsday-ers on this website right now….chill out people. According to Al Gore, the Arctic Ice Cap was supposed to be practically melted right now. In reality, its at its largest size in recorded history! In other words, climate change is happening, but its not as bad as you may think…don’t let the politicians (who have a lot to gain by your fear) dictate how you think.

  • Mr.Murder

    Cap and trade allows power plants to sell down time to other plants who run past limits set. All for fun and profit, they can be priced as rate swaps, just like Enron and Entergy did. Don’t give polluters an easy out with otherwise good policy.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing that influences me is SCIENCE. I’ve educated myself so that I am able to make my own decisions, thank you. Climate change is real and it’s happening. Believe it or don’t. It’s your children and their children who will have to live with the consequences.

    Al Gore is not a climate scientist. Why don’t you quote those who are?

  • Anonymous

    Power plants – especially coal burners – are far and away the greatest source of greenhouse gasses. I love animals too, but you Vegans and your nutty ideas have completely exhausted my patience for silliness.

    There is a great amount of pollution associated with non-animal ag too. It was a pesticide that WE still use that was responsible for decimating our bee populations

  • Cynthia Davis

    Well, the planet will still be here – barren, lifeless rock or not will be the question and Darwin will be proven right as the human race proves one way or the other how “fit” we are to mange our own ecosystem. So far we’ve been miserable failures at it repeatedly and the great “die-offs” that resulted nearly wiped us out a few times. Someday if we keep going like we are we’ll succeed in winning the Darwin Award as a species probably. If we don’t it will be a freaking miracle.

  • Anonymous

    Since the 1970s, it seems that every time there is an effort to get serious and help educate the public, govt. launches another campaign against the few who smoke tobacco! America’s greatest contribution to the climate crisis, breathing-related disease, etc., is our extreme dependence on privately-owned motor vehicles. Americans insist they have a sacred right to drive as much as they can afford to drive. Taxpayers have consistently voted against funding a modern mass transportation needed to reduce traffic.

  • John T

    Wacky is as wacky believes. The polar ice caps are growing, there are more polar bears than ever before. Aside from a bunch of self serving scientific opinions which keep the grants flowing, there has not been one scientific experiment that proves the “global warming” assertion. Something to think about, how did the ice age end? What role did man have in that event? I know you guys hate carbon but guess what, WE ARE CARBON BASED LIFE FORMS!!!!

  • Anonymous

    What is truly terrifying is that we listen to the UN at all