Vegetarianism: Fighting Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most daunting problems which is being faced by living beings for some time now humanity is facing today. Almost every big summit, every talk between nations isn’t incomplete without strategizing discussion on how to overcome climate change issues. Environmentalists are asking for more cut in the emissions rate which is certainly the need of the hour. Scientists are coming up with new and sooner deadlines to cut our emissions before the effects become irreversible. But everything that is being said and all the targets that are being set laid down are for to cut down the CO2 emissions only. Environmentalists are completely ignoring the contribution of other gases to in Global warming.

Global warming has rightly been recognized as a biggest challenge to our future. Environmentalists are doing a tremendous job by putting pressure on global leaders to work for cutting on emissions level and by spreading awareness about the greenhouse gases against it among the masses. But again the environment lobby has pushed for reforms only against the CO2 emissions. They have completely ignored all other kinds of gases which too are responsible for global warming.I am convinced cutting emissions from vehicles and industries need to be a priority but overlooking other kinds of green house gases can prove disastrous. Cars emit CO2 but along with that aerosols as well which act ascoolant though not for a long time but CO2 stays on, so in short term it is not dangerous. But there are gases which are many a times more potent of causing warming and more quickly as well.

One of the most important sources of non-CO2 warming is methane and its major source is animal agriculture. Methane is 21 times more capable of causing warming than CO2. Since pre-industrial times, where the concentration of CO2 has risen 31%, the concentration of methane in environment has more than doubled. And human triggered methane emission amounts to one and a half times the natural emission while for CO2 the same figure stands at 3%. So the imbalance that has been created by us in the concentration of methane in atmosphere is massive. Moreover, the increased concentration of methane in airspace above stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands- the primary natural source of methane, thus compounding our problems.

There are numerous sources of methane like coal mining, landfills but the major source is animal agriculture which alone is responsible for 100 million tones of methane a year. In the last five years, the global consumption of meat has increased five folds and is still on a rise. About 85% of the gas is produced in the digestive tracts of livestock and the remaining 15% of methane is released from gigantic lagoons where organic farm wastes are stored which itself are under attack these days for being a large source of water pollution. By turning to vegetarianism we can significantly control our methane gas emissions which the numbers suggest is a significant contributor to the global warming.

Turning vegetarian is a small price to pay for preventing climate change as it does not n’t demand severe alterations in one’s life. Vegetarianism is full of options capable of substituting non-veg products without harming or even having any miniscule effect on one’s health. The efforts can be done at more local level, and even on by an individual level. Even the environmentalists find themselves helpless in fighting CO2 emissions with their effort being reduced to just petitioning or asking citizens to switch off their lights. The fight against CO2 involves fighting against big industrialists and lobbyists and none’s expecting any positive news soon. Every country is trying to shirk its responsibility as fight against CO2 emission can derail the growth of a country. At In these times if turning into a vegetarian diet can help then it must be propagated. Government should consider discouraging meat consumption by increasing taxes on them. For a country like India, which is still developing, this can be the way it can give to the global battle against climate change.

Pawan Gupta

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