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Getting the beef about GHGE

Online since 28.06.2018 • Filed under General • From Issue 24 page(s) 16
Getting the beef about GHGE

With the spectre of climate change becoming a reality, many armchair commentators are proposing solutions to limiting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). Some of these are from the fringe, such as calls for the cessation of livestock farming as exemplified by the vegan movement in the USA gaining traction in calling for ‘skip a shower, flip a burger’ - in this case to save water.


Whilst admittedly the issues of climate and change and water resource scarcity are interlinked and often spoken of in the same breath, there’s an amusing YouTube video for those who care to watch it.

See link


This also raises another 21st century phenomenon: the rise of social media and the power it gives to the fringe views. The issue of global warming was identified by leading scientists in previous decades, explained graphically to the public at large by former USA vice-president Al Gore and was based on facts and observations. Therefore, it behoves all arguments about GHGE to be based on facts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA updated their most recent statement on GHGE on their website, based on 2016 figures. It contains some illuminating facts so far as emissions are concerned per industry. Transportation and electricity (production) take the lion’s share of the production cake at close to 30% each. Industry is just over 20% and emissions directly from businesses and residential comes in at 11%.


There’s no reason to assume that all is well with the built environment, however. The built environment is one of the largest drivers of transportation and of electricity generated. So; rest we not on our laurels.


However, the cat calls for people to eat less meat should grow a tad more silent when considering the total agricultural contribution, livestock, crop and soil emissions, to the cake. It is relatively chicken feed at 9%, if you excuse the pun. So, movements such as green building which aim for reducing the GHGE impact of the built environment should consider upping the level of consumer-related communications to better inform the armchair pundits, lest we all end up on a diet of corn-starch burgers and the bovine becomes an endangered species.
Issue 24

Issue 24

July 2018

This article was featured on page 16 of
To Build Magazine Issue 24.

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