Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

October 2023 Forums General discussion Climate Crisis: Our Last Chance

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    Belgium will shut down all seven of its nuclear reactors by 2025 but will not close the door on new-generation nuclear technology


    Vegans are muddying the waters, says Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee,

    “What I do not want to see is people muddy the climate change issue for some other agenda. Vegans have got to fight their case on their own grounds.”

    “It is just not true that we should have a world in which there are no farm animals,” he said. “They are essential for the mixed farming system, which is the way to return the vitality of the soil.”

    “Human beings are omnivores and we have bodies made to have meat as well as plants,” he said. “If everybody were a vegan, then we wouldn’t have the healthy soil that we need.”

    He also warned that “extreme” arguments from vegans or other green activists could turn people away from the fight against climate change.

    “I’m a great believer that extremism puts everybody off,”


    Sounds like a sensible observation.


    reply to # 225403

    Surely the matter should not be left here, without attention to response from the other side.

    Alan, you are charged with finding more substantive vegan rejoinders to what his lordship says than what I off-hand offer below:


    The observation I thought was sensible was the one about veganism muddying the waters of the climate change issue. It is of course true that biologically humans are omnivores (even if not obligate ones) but that wasn’t the point I was wanting to make.


    My purpose in posting on the forum is three-fold.

    Sometimes it is to express my own views.

    At other times it is to provide arguments for other people’s opinions for fair honest debate.

    On other occasions, it is simply to update topics with fresh data.

    I have settled with the idea that we will gradually shift towards a general flexitarian diet with increasing vegetarian and grain content and meat and fish featuring less and less. It is already a trend appearing within capitalist society with the food corporations incorporating it in their marketing.


    One hundred billion tons of carbon dioxide could be removed from the air by the end of the century through veggie diets plus re-wilding farmland.

    That’s the estimate of a study of potential carbon savings from turning the land freed up to nature.

    A quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food and agriculture, with livestock accounting for the bulk, in rich nations.

    And the animals need a huge amount of land for grazing and growing feed.

    If wealthier countries moved away from meat-rich diets, much less land would be needed to grow food, and vast areas could be left to revert to their natural state, with wild plants and trees drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, a study found.


    A scientist warns of the danger of adolescent girls not eating enough meat.


    The Times article ‘Scientist warns […]’ is behind a paywall. But such article are seen from time to time in the popular press, so the content is perhaps not stunningly different.

    Not having read the article I will nontheless recklessly say that in the links below, two doctors and a couple of dietitians present a very different view. (One of the doctors, according to Wikipedia, ‘a Master of the American College of Cardiology, a leading cardiovascular pathologist, and the current editor of both the American Journal of Cardiology and the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings’; and the other doctor, a former president of the American College of Cardiology.)

    And supposing the Times article also said something about ‘not enough protein’, here’s something by one of the two authors of the 2009 ‘Position of The American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets’ (the abstract of which can be read here — — and which begins: ‘It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases’. I would put emphasis on the words ‘appropriately planned’. … As opposed to a vegan diet composed of coca-cola and french fries.[UK: ‘chips’? ‘fries’?])

    (If credentials proved anything, which they don’t, hers aren’t bad either:


    Further concerning his Lordship …

    Lord Deben says:

    “ [Farm animals] are essential for the mixed farming system, which is the way to return the vitality of the soil. […]If everybody were a vegan, then we wouldn’t have the healthy soil that we need.”

    1) My first reaction to that was to think how utterly capitalist the premise behind it was. To his mind, of course it is impossible that these animals could be raised for the ‘mere’ sake of healthy soil. After all, under the present regime (the only one imaginable for him), the reason they are raised is because their end-products (meat/milk/eggs) can be sold for monetary profit.

    2) Apart from that, is it indeed the case these animals are necessary for healthy soil? I have not the slighest idea, but see:, whose introduction contains this sentence: ‘special emphasis is placed on the promotion of biodiversity, healthy soil life, the closure of organic cycles and on systematic humus build-up.’

    and/or , whose introduction contains this sentence:

    ‘Veganic farming, a mostly unknown yet vital new way of stewarding the Earth’s lands, can help preserve the environment, regenerate soil fertility, and replenish the biodiversity around it, which helps tackle greenhouse gas emissions and financially empower farmers across the globe. But what exactly is vegan farming?’


    Lord Deben used to be known as John Gummer. He was environment minister at the time of the mad cow disease crisis and notoriously made his daughter publicly eat a hamburger to try to show that it was safe to eat beef. Luckily she survived.

    From his Wikipedia entry:

    “He had responsibility for food safety during the mad cow disease epidemic in 1989–90 which eventually claimed 178 British lives. At the height of the crisis in May 1990, he attempted to refute the growing evidence for BSE/Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease by feeding his four-year-old daughter Cordelia a burger in front of press cameras.”

    No wonder he changed his name.


    The capitalist case for environmentalism

    Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund manager which manages about $10tn (£7.4tn) in assets, said pushing climate policies was about profits, not being “woke”.

    “Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics. It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke’,” he wrote. “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients.”

    “It is through effective stakeholder capitalism that capital is efficiently allocated, companies achieve durable profitability, and value is created and sustained over the long term. Make no mistake, the fair pursuit of profit is still what animates markets; and long-term profitability is the measure by which markets will ultimately determine your company’s success.”

    “the next 1,000 unicorns won’t be search engines or social media companies, they’ll be sustainable, scalable innovators – startups that help the world decarbonise and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers”, adding that established companies should strive to do the same.


    I think i mentioned before my lingering fear that we will have a repetition of the Unabomber.

    Nikolaos Karvounakis claimed to be a member of the International Terrorist Mafia – a Mexican eco-terror group – after planting the homemade “bomb”
    He pleaded guilty earlier to being in possession of items for a terrorist purpose at the High court in Edinburgh.

    Karvounakis contacted a newspaper journalist sending a photo of it and described himself as a “lover of nihilist anti-political violence”.


    Listen to the science?

    Paul Dorfman, former secretary of the U.K. government’s Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters; Greg Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Bernard Laponche, former director-general of France’s energy management agency; and Wolfgang Renneberg, former head of the reactor safety, radiation protection, and nuclear waste at Germany’s environmental ministry.

    “As key experts who have worked on the frontline of the nuclear issue, we consider it our collective responsibility to comment on the main issue: Whether nuclear could play a significant role as a strategy against climate change.”

    “The central message, repeated again and again, that a new generation of nuclear will be clean, safe, smart and cheap, is fiction,” according to Dorfman, Jaczko, Laponche, and Renneberg. “The reality is nuclear is neither clean, safe, or smart; but a very complex technology with the potential to cause significant harm.”

    Former Nuclear Leaders: Say ‘No’ to New Reactors


    “Make no mistake: Sea level rise is upon us,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

    America’s coastline will see sea levels rise in the next 30 years by as much as they did in the entire 20th century, with major Eastern cities hit regularly with costly floods even on sunny days, a government report warns.

    By 2050, seas lapping against the U.S. shore will be 10 to 12 inches (0.25 to 0.3 meters) higher, with parts of Louisiana and Texas projected to see waters a foot and a half (0.45 meters) higher

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