October 29, 2010

10/21//2010 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

This update/Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has the following items:

1. Getting Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues Onto the U.S. 2010 Midterm Election Agenda

2. Working with “Republicans for Environmental Protection” To Get Climate Change T Be An Issue in the 2010 Midterm Elections

3. A Chance to Influence Delegates to the Winter UN Cancun Mexico Climate Conference to Put Dietary Connections to Climate Change on the Conference Agenda

4. Articles on Republican Candidates for Congress Denial on Climate Change

5. NY Times Editorial – GOP in Climate Denial, Again/My Letter to the Editor

6. Another Way to Promote Jewish Vegetarianism

7. JVNA Vice President Noam Mohr Compiles Statistics on the Number of Animals slaughtered to Feed Americans Annually

8. Is the World Getting Hotter?

9. Environmental Costs of Livestock Production

Some material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [ ] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of the kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observances, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Getting Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues Onto the U.S. 2010 Midterm Election Agenda

There is a major scientific consensus that climate change is happening, is largely due to human activities, and is a major threat to all life on the planet, as evidenced by MANY peer-reviewed articles in respected scientific journals and statements by scientific academies all over the world. Yet, every Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, with one possible exception, and almost all, if not all, Republican candidates for the House of Representatives are in denial on this issue, as indicated in several of the articles below. If, as predicted, many climate deniers win elections and the Republicans take control of at least one house of congress, prospects for avoiding a climate catastrophe will become very slim.

So, please do all that you can to get this issue onto the electoral agenda. Thanks.

Some ideas and background information is in the items below.

Comments, suggestions and contrary opinions welcome, and will be considered for the next JVNA newsletter. We have always tried to be non-partisan, but at a time when the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe, it is essential that we do everything possible to prevent it. Please see the next item about “Republicans for Environmental Protection” (REP)

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2. Working with “Republicans for Environmental Protection” To Get Climate Change T Be An Issue in the 2010 Midterm Elections

While, as indicated above, almost all Republican politicians are in denial about climate change, there is a wonderful group “Republicans for Environmental Protection” that is promoting positive responses to climate change and other environmental threats. I have been in touch with their dedicated president, urging him to issue a statement and/or take some other action to help get climate change onto the midterm electoral agenda. He is sympathetic and supportive, but so far has taken no action. Please visit their web site


Then please contact their president (Rob Sisson: rsisson@rep.org; 269-651-1808), commend him and REP for their environmental positions, and urge him to help get climate change to be an issue for the elections. This has the potential of making a major difference, since so many Republicans are in denial on what should be a major campaign issue.

Many thanks.

The material below was forwarded to us by an anonymous JVNA advisor, after visiting the REP web site::


We are glad to hear that Republicans For Environmental Protection, headed by Rob Sisson, is restoring balance and sanity to the ongoing national (and international) discussions about recognizing and addressing ecological crises -- and at the top of the list, global warming.

Rob Sisson states: "We think that real conservatives conserve. We accept the wisdom of conservative statesman Edmund Burke that we are obligated by custom, tradition and morality to be good stewards...”

"Take clean air. Many of our members remember the debilitating pollution that once afflicted America's cities. Republican President Nixon and then-Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr., Tennessee Republican, got the Clean Air Act passed and we're much healthier as a result. The first blow against smog was not Nixon's, however, but was landed by a California governor, who signed legislation to set tough tailpipe-emissions limits. In a speech years later, that governor said: "I'm proud of having been one of the first to recognize that states and the federal government have a duty to protect our natural resources from the damaging effects of pollution that can accompany industrial development." Those words were Ronald Reagan's...

"We strongly support climate stewardship. We think that it is prudent to take seriously the findings of climate scientists, not the fake controversies that Mr. [Steven] Milloy [a climate change denier] and others have manufactured to sow confusion about important issues such as global warming and ozone depletion."

Their website sums up their agenda:

We want clean air and water

Food free from harmful chemicals

Clean, efficient businesses & industries

A high quality of life in our cities & rural communities

Strong, results-oriented enforcement of environmental laws

Economic development for communities without the ravages of sprawl

High priority for funding of natural resource stewardship & environmental protection

Protection for posterity of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wild lands & waters

Effective legal protection for threatened & endangered plants & animals in their native habitats

They conclude with the declaration: "We support and vote for Republican elected officials and candidates who share these values and concerns."


Let's hope that these officials and candidates are receptive to this critically important message. Environmental responsibility isn't the ideological property of any one political party or trend, but something we should all agree on. However, it is essential, I believe, to make people aware of the sensible views and statements of REP and the denial of so many Republican candidates for office today.

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3. A Chance to Influence Delegates to the Winter UN Cancun Mexico Climate Conference to Put Dietary Connections to Climate Change on the Conference Agenda

Please take advantage of this important opportunity.

Forwarded message:

At the upcoming United Nations Conferences of the Parties (COP16) meeting in CancĂșn, Mexico, being held November 29 to December 10, 2010, delegates and world leaders from around the world will once again be meeting to discuss the current climate change issues our planet faces. 

Recently, a new report from the UN, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Production and Consumption: Priority Products and Materials from the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP), found that consuming a diet free of meat and dairy will be the best approach to dealing with climate change and its consequences.

But despite all the science pointing to animal agriculture being the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, inter-governmental talks do not even include on their agenda the discussion of the meat and livestock industries. The facts clearly demonstrate animal products are unsustainable and truly detrimental.
Please send a message to COP16 delegates on how their actions should reflect the findings of various official reports on how livestock and animal products are detrimental to the planet and how by switching to a vegan diet would be the first sustainable approach for a solution to climate change. To do so, just sign this easy form:

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4. Articles on Republican Candidates for Congress Denial on Climate Change

Please note: I use denial rather than skepticism. Skepticism can be positive, and we need more skeptics, certainly related to typical US diets and many other things that are part of the status quo that is having so many negative environmental and other societal effects. However, a skeptic should not only doubt, but also seek the truth, which in the case of climate change would mean seeking to know what peer-reviewed article in respected science journals and science academies worldwide are stating. It would also mean considering the implications of the many recent reports of heat waves. droughts, storms, floods, wildfires, etc. BTW, the temperature in Tel Aviv has been in the 90sthe past 4 or 5 days, reaching 97 degrees F a few days ago. And we are well past mid-October!

‘The Progress Report”

October 15, 2010


Climate Zombies

One of the defining characteristics of the current Republican Party is the near-unanimous denial of the science behind the threat of global warming pollution. "The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones," writes the National Journal's Ron Brownstein. Many of the candidates -- whom Daily Kos blogger RL Miller has dubbed the "climate zombies" -- are signatories of the Koch Industries' Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks' Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to "Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures." The Koch oil billionaires have pumped $1,125,400 into the campaign accounts of congressional candidates and $332,722 to state-level candidates, 87 percent< /a> to Republicans, and have contributed $1 million to the Proposition 23 campaign to kill California's AB32 climate legislation. But Koch's main influence is through its Astroturf arm, Americans for Prosperity, which has spent $649,188 in attack ads while organizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort for its Tea Party members across the nation. The polluting power of Koch Industries and other fossil fuel giants over the GOP in the Tea Party age is overwhelming. "[S]kepticism about climate science has become one of the many litmus tests for candidates backed by the surging right," Nature magazine's Jeff Tollefson observes. The denialism is an excuse to oppose green economic policies that would bring jobs back to America and clean the air, and would also limit the influence of the fossil fuel industry's dirty money on our nation's politics.

FOR SENATE: Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, not one supports climate action, after climate advocate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) lost his primary to Christine O'Donnell. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line. California GOP candidate Carly Fiorina is "not sure" that global warming is real, and is supporting Koch's Prop 23 effort. Tea Party darlings are leading the charge: Florida's Marco Rubio questions the "scientific evidence," Kentucky's Rand Paul charges scientists are "making up their facts," and Nevada's Sharron Angle has attacked the "climate change mantra of the left." Some Democrats have made their opponents' denial of science an issue. When Koch-funded Pennsylvania candidate Pat Toomey said the science is "very much disputed," the Joe Sestak campaign called him a "closed-minded ideologue bent on insisting that the 'world is flat.'" After Wisconsin candidate Ron Johnson said that global warming is caused by "sunspot activity," Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) responded, "I'm not going to take a course in Ron Johnson science any time soon." However, in coal company-dominated West Virginia, both U.S. Senate candidates -- John Raese (R) and Gov. Joe Manchin (D) -- question the scientific reality that burning coal is destroying our climate.

FOR THE HOUSE: If Republicans take back the House, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) would take over committees and have pledged to launch investigations against climate scientists. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who apologized to BP and demonizes climate scientists, wants to become the chair of the House energy committee. And they may be joined by dozens of new radical global warming deniers who are campaigning to replace Democratic incumbents who were the swing votes in favor of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009. "I just don't buy into it," says GOP House candidate Bob Gibbs (OH-18). It's "crap," says Steve Pearce (NM-2). Global warming is "a hoax perpetrated by leftist ideologues with an agenda," believes Todd Young (IN-9). "I don't believe we have a significant impact on climate change," argues Randy Hultgren (IL-14). The Wonk Room's Brad Johnson has identified fourteen top House races in which a strong supporter for action to reduce global warming pollution is being challenged by a denier of the threat of global warming, but there are dozens more climate zombies in every state of the nation (especially Texas).

… FOR GOVERNOR: In Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, four Democratic governors who have supported clean energy may be replaced by Republicans who have expressed fealty to big oil in the November 2010 elections. Florida is under imminent threat from the rising sea levels, fiercer heat waves, and stronger storms resulting from global warming, but GOP candidate Rick Scott has "not been convinced." In Illinois, Tea Party candidate Bill Brady says the "premise" of global warming is "wrong." Minnesota's Tom Emmer thinks global warming science is just "Al Gore's climate porn." Ohio candidate John Kasich believes "global warming is cyclical." Even in the Northeast, where the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cap-and-trade system has been successfully in place for years, Maine's Paul LePage thinks "scientists are divided on it," Maryland's Bob Ehrlich is newly "skeptical," and Massachusetts candidate Charlie Baker is "not smart enough to believe that I know the answer to that question." The Western Climate Initiative -- the regional compact scheduled to begin in 2012 -- is threatened by California's Meg Whitman, Oregon's Chris Dudley, and New Mexico candidate Susana Martinez, who thinks the science of climate change is an "ideological debate." Even more troubling is the growing opposition by Republicans to renewable electricity standards, which have long enjoyed bipartisan support. LePage, Ehrlich, Kasich, and Brady have all challenged their state's renewable standards, with Scott calling Florida's proposed standards "leftist energy proposals."



GOP Gives Climate Science A Cold Shoulder


,Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010
by Ronald Brownstein

When British Foreign Secretary William Hague visited the U.S. last week, he placed combating climate change near the very top of the world's To Do list.

"Climate change is perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign-policy challenge," Hague declared in a New York City speech. "An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity." The danger was no longer just distant thunder, he suggested, warning that the recent devastating floods in Pakistan heralded the sort of extreme events that will become more common in a warmer world. "While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change," he said, "the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate-change models."

William Hague is not a holdover from the left-leaning Labor Government that British voters ousted last spring. He's not even from the centrist Liberal Democrats who are governing in a coalition with the Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron. Hague is one of Cameron's predecessors as Conservative Party leader.

His strong words make it easier to recognize that Republicans in this country are coalescing around a uniquely dismissive position on climate change. The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones.

This change has proceeded in two stages. First came a hardening of Republican opposition to cap-and-trade legislation intended to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change. Most congressional Republicans had always opposed such legislation, but that position wasn't monolithic: In 2005, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and five other Republicans voted for a cap-and-trade bill that he co-sponsored. Several GOP governors also acted on climate-change issues.

This year, when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., spent months negotiating bipartisan cap-and-trade legislation, he could not attract any Republican co-sponsors -- not even McCain. And when National Journal recently surveyed the 21 GOP Senate challengers with a serious chance of winning this fall, each opposed cap-and-trade (including Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois, who voted for it in 2009).

It is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here.

Even many climate-change activists prefer alternatives to cap-and-trade, such as a carbon tax. But virtually all of the serious 2010 GOP challengers have moved beyond opposing cap-and-trade to dismissing the scientific evidence that global warming is even occurring.

Senate nominees with tea party roots, such as Nevada's Sharron Angle, have expressed these views most emphatically. But the pattern of repudiation extends to more-measured nominees such as Ohio's Rob Portman and California's Carly Fiorina who pointedly insisted, "I'm not sure," when asked whether climate change was happening. Of the 20 serious GOP Senate challengers who have taken a position, 19 have declared that the science of climate change is inconclusive or flat-out incorrect. (Kirk is the only exception.) With sentiments among rank-and-file Republicans also trending that way, it's no coincidence that two Republicans who affirmed the science -- Rep. Michael Castle in Delaware and Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska -- were defeated in Senate primaries this year.

Just for the record, when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: "A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is "no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of."

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP's stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms -- and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.

Copyright ©2010 by National Journal Group Inc. The Watergate 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW Washington, DC 20037
202-739-8400 • fax 202-833-8069 NationalJournal.com is an Atlantic Media publication.


GOP Senate Candidates Oppose Climate Science And Policy

by Brad Johnson, ThinkProgress Wonk Room Climate Editor

Updated September 29. View the original version here.


Updated October 7 with Christine O’Donnell comments.

A comprehensive Wonk Room survey of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate finds that nearly all dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution. In May, 2010, the National Academies of Science reported to Congress that “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change” because global warming is “caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems.”

This finding is shared by scientific bodies around the world. However, in the alternate reality of the fossil-fueled right wing, climate science is confused or a conspiracy, and policies to limit pollution would destroy the economy.

Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, no one supports climate action, after climate advocate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) lost his primary to Christine O’Donnell. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line.

Many of the Senate candidates are signatories of the Koch Industries’ Americans For Prosperity No Climate Tax pledge and the FreedomWorks Contract From America. The second plank of the Contract From America is to “Reject Cap & Trade: Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.”

In reality, a carbon cap-and-trade market — by rewarding work instead of pollution — would increase jobs, lower electricity bills, restore American competitiveness, and forestall a climate catastrophe.

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5. NY Times Editorial – GOP in Climate Denial, Again/My Letter to the Editor



My letter to the editor of the Times:


The fact that the approaching climate catastrophe is not a campaign issue even though the GOP is almost completely “In Climate Denial Again” (October 18 editorial) indicates how successful energy companies and other have been in misleading the public on the nature of the threats. It is scandalous that many Republican climate deniers are projected to win in the midterm elections, making it even more difficult to properly address the climate crisis.

Democratic candidates should challenge their opponents by pointing out that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that human greenhouse gas emissions are the smoking gun behind today's global warming crisis; that the effect - climate change - poses a massive environmental, economic and security threat to all of humanity, America included; and that we can mitigate these looming dangers, affordably, if we rise to the challenge now.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Thanks to JVNA advisor Sud Baumel for his valuable suggestions for this letter.

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6. Another Way to Promote Jewish Vegetarianism

There are many “Ask the Rabbi” places on the internet where we can bring up our vegetarian arguments. Please do some Internet searching and take advantage of these opportunities.

My message to one such site is below.


Since animal-based diets are having devastating effects on the health of Jews and others and since animal-based agriculture is contributing significantly to climate change, deforestation, soil erosion, rapid species extinction, water shortages and other environmental threats to humanity and all life on our planet, and since the production and consumption of animal products arguably violate Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people, shouldn't a consideration of vegetarianism be on the Jewish agenda?

I would be happy to send you additional material on these issues or you might be interested in my articles and book "Judaism and Vegetarianism," which can be read at JewishVeg.com/schwartz.

Thanks for your kind consideration, and kol tuv.

Richard (Schwartz)

President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America

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7. JVNA Vice President Noam Mohr Compiles Statistics on the Number of Animals slaughtered to Feed Americans Annually

Forwarded information and data from Noam:

For more information on the number of animals saved by going vegetarian, visit http://AnimalDeathCount.blogspot.com.

In 2009, the average American meat eater was responsible for about 198 deaths:

1/7 of a cow

2/5 of a pig

1 turkey

1½ chickens for eggs

25 chickens for meat

40 fish

130 shellfish.

In all, 8.25 billion land animals and 51 billion sea animals died to feed Americans. Over a lifetime, this amounts to 15,000 animals per meat eater.

Compared to the previous year, the average American killed 1.3 fewer land animals and 2 fewer fish, but ate 5 more shellfish.

Looking over the past four years, the drop is more dramatic: 3 fewerm land animals, 10 fewer fish, and 12 fewer shellfish than in 2006. That's a drop of 10%, 19%, and 8% respectively, and translates to 600 million fewer land animals, 2.4 billion fewer fish, and 5 billion fewer shellfish.

While the study did not look into reasons for the decrease, another study released last month by Kansas State University found that demand for meat was significantly affected by media attention to farm animal welfare issues.

Links to detailed statistics:

Total Number Died to Feed Americans (millions of animals)

Average Number Died Per American Meat Eater

Note Regarding Previous Estimates

Calculations for sea animals include a great deal of uncertainty. Unlike for land animals, marine catch is reported only by weight. The number of deaths must be calculated based on the average weight of individuals of each aquatic species, for which estimates vary considerably. The numbers calculated here for 2006 - 2009 use estimates that have been updated, and thus differ considerably from earlier estimates.

Finfish: There were two major changes. One was the inclusion of weight estimates listed in “Worse things happen at sea: the welfare of wild caught fish” by fishcount.org.uk, which attempts to calculate the number of fish killed worldwide. These and other updated weights resulted in an increase in the estimated number of fish killed of 33 to 40% compared with previous estimates. The other change was the inclusion of fishmeal imports and exports, as well as fishmeal and fish oil fed to those fish that were imported, resulting in an increase in the estimated number of fish killed of an additional 35 to 45%.

Shellfish: The biggest change was improved values for scallop weights, distinguishing sea scallops from smaller bay scallops.

Because of scallops are eaten in large numbers, this resulted in shellfish death estimates 43% lower than before.

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8. Is the World Getting Hotter?

Forwarded message:

January through September of this year is tied for the warmest first nine months on record, according to the National Climate Data Center. This year's temperatures are tied with those in 1998, though this was the warmest nine months ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.

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9. Environmental Costs of Livestock Production

Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000–2050

Nathan Pelletier1 and Peter Tyedmers


Author Affiliations

School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Suite 5010, 6100 University Avenue, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3J5

Edited by Peter M. Vitousek, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved August 17, 2010 (received for review April 6, 2010)


Food systems—in particular, livestock production—are key drivers of environmental change. Here, we compare the contributions of the global livestock sector in 2000 with estimated contributions of this sector in 2050 to three important environmental concerns: climate change, reactive nitrogen mobilization, and appropriation of plant biomass at planetary scales. Because environmental sustainability ultimately requires that human activities as a whole respect critical thresholds in each of these domains, we quantify the extent to which current and future livestock production contributes to published estimates of sustainability thresholds at projected production levels and under several alternative endpoint scenarios intended to illustrate the potential range of impacts associated with dietary choice. We suggest that, by 2050, the livestock sector alone may either occupy the majority of, or significantly overshoot, recently published estimates of humanity’s “safe operating space” in each of these domains. In light of the magnitude of estimated impacts relative to these proposed (albeit uncertain) sustainability boundary conditions, we suggest that reining in growth of this sector should be prioritized in environmental governance.


1 To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: nathanpelletier@dal.ca.

Author contributions: N.L.P. and P.H.T. designed research; N.L.P. performed research; N.L.P. analyzed data; and N.L.P. and P.H.T. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1004659107/-/DCSupplemental.

*We have calculated this amount using information provided in ref. 5.

Related articles


Henning Steinfeld and Pierre Gerber

Livestock production and the global environment: Consume less or produce better? 
PNAS published ahead of print October 8, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1012541107

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