Food and climate change

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white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

UK-with-kids wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:52 am
From low tech to high tech...in today's news, Singapore has given regulatory approval for the world’s first “clean meat” that does not come from slaughtered animals.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-55155741
Interesting. Cost still seems prohibitive for widespread lab-based meats, but I imagine that will come down as more producers enter that market. I wonder if this will actually have an effect on reducing meat consumption, or if it will just increase population size and consumption like virtually every other technological innovation in agriculture?

I am a bit confused about people being unwilling to eat slaughtered animals, but not enough to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Even with plant-based diets, something has to die to give you that energy. As a human, I must kill (or someone else must do the killing for me), to survive.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:00 pm

I am a bit confused about people being unwilling to eat slaughtered animals, but not enough to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Even with plant-based diets, something has to die to give you that energy. As a human, I must kill (or someone else must do the killing for me), to survive.
i don't think it's so much about death per se (we all eat death, as every mexican kid is taught)

Image

(those skulls are made of sugar. death = sweet)

it's more about having a social connection with the animal. when we had chickens my wife knew each bird "personally" even though i told her not to give them a name. parting with them took some elaborate rituals.

some random chicken from some random place does not elicit the same response from the brain.

the reverse operates in war when we depersonalize enemies to enable killing them. notice how every time we must fight something/someone they're usually branded "evil"?

white belt
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by white belt »

@Alphaville

Right, but I think this social connection with animals and complete disconnection from the meat we consume phenomenon only arose in the past ~50 years in highly developed countries. It's a luxury that is only possible in an extremely affluent society. As someone who spent several weeks at a time in extreme caloric restriction with severe sleep deprivation during military training (probably eating <50% of calories expended daily), I can tell you I would have eaten anything that I could've gotten my hands on, regardless of if it was a cute animal or not.

Even so, I do know that indigenous tribes often have elaborate rituals associated with animal consumption and attribute deity status to some animals. My guess is that was to appease the sense of guilt from killing something.

Edit/Disclaimer: Although I have my hunting and fishing license, I've yet to kill and process anything so I am very much a product of such a phenomenon up to this point.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

haha i know that state of mind. high stress turns off empathy. [eta: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/articl ... es_empathy ]

anyway, apparently research shows we have a social brain and a mechanistic brain, and they both play a part in how we relate to the world. one person may see an animal as a "spirit" other person may see an animal as "a thing." and cultures change: we used to have dog owners, nowadays we have dog's "parents." and we still have slavery in some parts of the world...

fish are way easier to kill than mammals. and fresh oysters, well... yum yum :lol:

SimpleTimes
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by SimpleTimes »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:00 pm
Interesting. Cost still seems prohibitive for widespread lab-based meats, but I imagine that will come down as more producers enter that market. I wonder if this will actually have an effect on reducing meat consumption, or if it will just increase population size and consumption like virtually every other technological innovation in agriculture?
Somehow those lab-based meats don't sound right. Next thing you know it would cause some type of illness as it's not been tested to the same level as pharmaceuticals for example. Who knows what effect it might have.

The article says:
“It was found to be safe for consumption at the intended levels of use, and was allowed to be sold in Singapore as an ingredient in Eat Just’s nuggets product,” the SFA said.

Intended levels of use - sounds like something a pesticide company will say, hiding the cocktail effect problem. Will have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'm happy sticking to a Flexitarian/Bluezone diet less meat more veg i.e.: https://www.justluve.com/food-home/heal ... exitarian/

I'd imagine if we were all asked to hunt our own meat we'd eat a lot less of it as it's just too easy to pick a few packs of burgers up from the supermarket :idea:

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

This data is interesting. I was surprised just how small aviation contributes to CO2, relatively speaking.

https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:28 pm
This data is interesting. I was surprised just how small aviation contributes to CO2, relatively speaking.

https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector
something is frying my circuits right now....

" Livestock & manure (5.8%): animals (mainly ruminants, such as cattle and sheep) produce greenhouse gases through a process called ‘enteric fermentation’ – when microbes in their digestive systems break down food, they produce methane as a by-product. This means beef and lamb tend to have a high carbon footprint, and eating less is an effective way to reduce the emissions of your diet."

but way lower it shows this:

Image

see cattle + cattle land use... ok fisheries too but....

in land use *alone* cattle would account for 4.16% roughly.... (16% of 26%)

am i failing at basic arithmetic? something doesn't match...

jacob
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by jacob »

chenda wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:28 pm
This data is interesting. I was surprised just how small aviation contributes to CO2, relatively speaking.
Only a small fraction of the world has and will ever set foot on an airplane, so the total contribution from air travel is low. For those who have, their personal contribution from flying is high.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

@Alphaville umm...I'm not sure how to explain that. This is an interesting study:
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1 ... 326/aa7541
...we consider a broad range of individual lifestyle choices and calculate their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, based on 148 scenarios from 39 sources. We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year). These actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (four times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (eight times less)
For the action 'have one fewer child,' we relied on a study which quantified future emissions of descendants based on historical rates, based on heredity (Murtaugh and Schlax 2009). In this approach, half of a child's emissions are assigned to each parent, as well as one quarter of that child's offspring (the grandchildren) and so forth. This is consistent with our use of research employing the fullest possible life cycle approach in order to capture the magnitude of emissions decisions.
I'm not sure accounting for hypothetical grandchildren should be added to the calculation or how many theoretical children you didn't have should be accounted to offset the rest of your footprint (half of 2.4 ?)

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

idk either but i know methane is more potent than co2 so... maybe some missing numbers. too much data for me, i'll stick to rule of thumb of cows = 12% global warming and move on. maybe it's not precise but it's the biggest regardless.

so still no beef for me (ate some frozen leftover in the weekend, part of some pasta sauce i made, but won't buy more) but i am now reliant on 1 gallon milk per week for 2 adults (i'm aware of the problem, but that will be for the next iteration).

i also eat butter. have removed the tasty french cheeses however... 😭 and the irish butter ...😭😭 (hahahahahaaaa. but yeah). so at least my milk is now local/regional (i check the plant number in the bottle, see: http://www.whereismymilkfrom.com/finding-my-code )

i've also added 1tbsp nutritional yeast to the daily rotation. i have always used as seasoning but bought large bags for pandemic supplement, but now it's the official cobalamin provider. we eat it mostly with popcorn.

money savings are significant, about $80/mo minimum in meat alone, the french cheeses another $40 maybe? so total maybe $60/person/month, plus accoutrements (cheese likes wines, hahaha).

in exchange i've started buying organic everything--the milk, the american pastured butter, and the produce. i like food and i'm not looking for pure cost reductions, plus i prefer to support the "green economy" whatever that may be.

the organic produce (got a beautiful red cabbage, some potatoes, apples, mandarins) tends to have better color and flavor and provides greater satisfaction. made a potato salad today with cabbage and red onion wow. so much purple hahahaha. i even drank the potato water after pressure cooking because i didn't have to worry about malathion or whatever.

jacob
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by jacob »

chenda wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:34 pm
I'm not sure accounting for hypothetical grandchildren should be added to the calculation or how many theoretical children you didn't have should be accounted to offset the rest of your footprint (half of 2.4 ?)
The question being answered is "which individual choices have the most impact". In the hereditary model, it's assumed that each descendant will make the same choice as you. Of course if someone has a child and get them neutered, the multiplier would be "1/2" rather than "1/2+1/4+1/8+...... = 1". If someone has child, get them neutered, and then move to a third world country, it would be substantially less than 1/2.

And no, one doesn't get to offset behaviors that would have increased emissions even further. For example, I do not get to subtract/offset the emissions from the swimming pool of burning crude oil I had otherwise planned for new years eve celebrations.

Offsets only make sense insofar carbon is captured. Morally speaking, buying offsets (e.g. for flying) is like paying someone else to diet, but maybe that's okay.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

jacob wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:45 am
The question being answered is "which individual choices have the most impact". In the hereditary model, it's assumed that each descendant will make the same choice as you. Of course if someone has a child and get them neutered, the multiplier would be "1/2" rather than "1/2+1/4+1/8+...... = 1"
I see now, as we all have 2 parents, 4 grandparents etc
Offsets only make sense insofar carbon is captured. Morally speaking, buying offsets (e.g. for flying) is like paying someone else to diet, but maybe that's okay.
Right, I can't subtract all the children I decide not to have from the guesstimated 380 tonnes of CO2 I've produced thus far. I can just reduce the future growth, and/or plant lots of trees to absorb it and appease my sense of guilt about it. A solution most people couldn't do due to a lack of land.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

This was a good post by mmm a few years ago on the subject of town planning:

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/02 ... appy-city/

Hristo Botev
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Hristo Botev »

This popped up on my newsfeed today, and seems appropriate: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... ef/535536/. It's from 2017.

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef
With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

chenda wrote:
Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:22 pm
This was a good post by mmm a few years ago on the subject of town planning:

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/02 ... appy-city/
oh, i forgot to thank you the other day for posting this. i went to read it and then got lost looking at utrecht on wikipedia &tc., hahaha. looks like a beautiful place. i wish i could live in a city like that. maybe some day.
Hristo Botev wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:50 pm
This popped up on my newsfeed today, and seems appropriate: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... ef/535536/. It's from 2017.

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef
With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals.
brilliant, thanks. as it happens we're making black bean burritos tonight. this bit in particular was encouraging:
dat article wrote:That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.
pareto efficiencies ftw.

chenda
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by chenda »

@alphaville haha I love looking at places on street view :)

@hristo botev That is extraordinary, in a good way.

Dave
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Dave »

@Hristo Botev

It's important to keep in mind the rebound effect and its impact on these sorts of things as the advertised "savings" often don't occur in reality as any such change (e.g. everyone giving up beef and eating beans) doesn't exist in a vacuum, but is rather accompanied by other behavioral changes that have impacts.

As the article you linked says: "That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target."

The problem is that it's not the case that nothing else changes. This has been researched and when people follow these sorts of diets, the incremental financial savings are generally spent on something else that has associated energy use/carbon emissions/etc. So, in aggregate, the net impact of people switching to plant-based diets, while positive, generally is not nearly as favorable as some articles claim.

It's worth noting that in theory it could save that, so it's probably most accurate to think of it as sort of an upper bound of benefits. For example, for someone pursuing ERE who eliminates that cost and actually puts it to carbon-neutral spending, it's accurate enough. So it's definitely a worthy thing to do. But it's not the case that, in aggregate, people who switch to plant based eating are going to do that - some of the spending will go to trips, consumer products, and other spending that carries environmental costs, offsetting a material portion of the benefit. Articles like that one, unless I'm misunderstanding and they account for the rebound effect, are overstating the (net) benefits.

Again, not that I'm rationalizing animal-based diets. I'm >90% vegan myself, in large part for environmental reasons, but I think those sorts of articles overstate the case a bit.

See the following article for one such study/the idea. I've seen different numbers put out there, and the specifics aren't the important part, just understanding the idea of the rebound effect.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 0915002153

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Dave wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:28 pm
The problem is that it's not the case that nothing else changes. This has been researched and when people follow these sorts of diets, the incremental financial savings are generally spent on something else that has associated energy use/carbon emissions/etc. So, in aggregate, the net impact of people switching to plant-based diets, while positive, generally is not nearly as favorable as some articles claim.
yeah but

1. it doesn't have to be that way, and

2. you're looking at some kind of population statistics with unstated motivations, not individual choices with specific motivations

rather than saying "pointless due to rebound" this ought to be stated as "great move, now hold back the rebound, take the next step"

because if nothing works, then let's just burn it all down and who cares.

setting up impossible standards without intermediate goals only leads to demoralization and guaranteed failure.

so here's the refutation of those amorphous stats. successive approximation works to change behavior.

animals: https://blog.udemy.com/successive-approximation/
children: https://www.thoughtco.com/shaping-a-tea ... ue-3110876
phobias: https://www.homestudycredit.com/courses ... S03lo.html
addictions: https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... roximation

etc.

--

so, yeah, start by cutting out the beef. then take the next step (actually cutting out the beef is my next step)

Dave
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Dave »

@Alphaville

Hm, I'm not sure you really read my post. I addressed both your points:

1) I agree it doesn't have to be that way (in all cases/for individuals), which is why I said "It's worth noting that in theory it could save that, so it's probably most accurate to think of it as sort of an upper bound of benefits. For example, for someone pursuing ERE who eliminates that cost and actually puts it to carbon-neutral spending, it's accurate enough." What I'm saying is research suggests, in aggregate, that it is the way based on current people's motivations/actions.

2) My post was in response to the claim "With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals.", which of course involves population statistics, because we are talking about the population of the U.S.

I am definitely not trying to say it's pointless due to rebound - as I said I follow this sort of diet myself largely for environmental reasons and can count on 1 hand how many times I've bought beef in the last several years. I gave the example of someone pursuing ERE as capturing the upper bound of benefits. I am in agreement that it's beneficial for more and more people to follow these diets. And yes, as I am seeing in a subsequent edit of yours, this process will involve steps/stages.

I'm just personally not supportive of vastly overstating the benefits or costs of something to manipulate behavior, but rather prefer the truth as close as I can get it. Which, in this case, means understanding the rebound effect is important in assessing the actual outcome in terms of emissions, energy, etc., specifically that as people go plant-based, the gross amount of say carbon savings of beef vs. beans is unlikely to be captured by many/most individuals as they re-spend the savings on other items that carry their own costs.

So yes, I agree, focus on beans over beef :D.

Alphaville
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Re: Food and climate change

Post by Alphaville »

Dave wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:23 pm
So yes, I agree, focus on beans over beef :D.
haha yeah, the burrito was good!

and we cooked flatbreads on an induction hotplate (big discovery for me, induction cooking, will write about it once i get my next electric bill).

for me the strategy from the start of the thread has been to seek pareto efficiencies rather than pursue perfection, so the bean article simply confirms i'm on the right path here without having to perform impossible calculations. so the data is important, because it points to significance of beef. the data is not a system, but it's important data.

i still have some frozen meat sauces i'll be eating down gradually but i'm not buying beef anymore. it's final, hahaha! yeah... it's not perfect, but it's final, so i like that easy heuristic on top of it all. same as quitting smoking. just no more.

i only bought and ate a bit of chicken for the weekend, and i'm staying fairly lacto-vegetarian for the week, so i'll see how my "food cocaine" consumption shapes going forward :lol:

then it's on to the new reduction. not sure what will be yet because first i have to adapt to this change.

--

eta: maybe i'll review my fish consumption next. i used to eat a lot of tuna. maybe switching more towards mackerel:
https://oceana.org/blog/eating-seafood- ... ter-others
or..
https://www.news.ucsb.edu/2020/020101/f ... -footprint
maybe just keep veering towards plant-based...

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