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Climate Change
Andrew Mark from Earth Matters
What we will cover
What Climate Change is
Food and Climate Change
Climate Change
• What is the theory?
• How does it work?
Climate Change cont.
• Radiation from the Sun
• We are experiencing a net increase in
Radiation retention
• “Global Warming”
Gas Effect
Greenhouse Gases
• GHGs are atmospheric compounds that
keep solar radiation in by re-reflection
• CO2 and Methane
• Fossil fuels
• Waste matter and decomposition
GHGs cont.
Fossil Fuels, CO2
Cars, Trains, Planes, Ships, Machines
Power Stations
100 years in atmosphere
GHGs cont.
Trash, Landfills
Animal and Human waste
10 years in atmosphere
• 20% of world, us the “developed” world
consumes 80% of the world’s resources.
• If the whole world were to live the way we do
here, we would need 4 more planets.
• What will happen to CO2 levels when (I am
generalizing here) China, India, Africa, South
America, the other 80% of the world decides
they also want cars, refrigerators, disposable
• Will we stop them by force? Or just trick them,
bureaucracy them out of resources…
Climate Change part 2
• It is happening, evidence
• Greenhouse Gas Measurements of
CO2 and Methane in Atmosphere
• Vostoc Ice Cores
• Measurable temperature changes
• Climate Change Modeling Computers
Climate Change p2 cont.
• It is not happening
• Can we link human CO2 and Methane
emissions to increase?
• This is natural 20,000 year cycle?
• Temperatures
• Computers
• If it does happen it will be good
Climate Change p2 cont.
• It is happening at an unprecedented
• CO2 and Methane have increased at an
unprecedented rate
• Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change believes it is happening
Climate Change p2 cont
• Sea Levels
• Shutting off the Thermohaline
Circulation Pattern
• Extreme Weather
• Animal Migration Patterns and
Biodiversity loss
Kyoto Accord
• We will reduce our GHG emissions to the
levels of 1990.
• This is 10% of the reduction that will be
needed to actually prevent climate change
from happening
• Has been thwarted
• USA and Russsia
• Estimates that in 10 years we could have
reached unpreventable stages…
One Tonne Challenge
• Industry makes up 75% of Canada’s
GHG emissions
• Individuals on average contribute 5
tonnes of GHG a year
• Government wants you and everyone to
reduce their personal emissions by one
Main sources of Personal
GHG emissions
All Travel
Planes are #1
Your Refrigerator
Your home heating
Your light bulbs
Your appliances
Your FOOD!
What we covered
What Climate Change is
What Greenhouse Gases are
How Fossil Fuels play their role
Our way of life
The argument
What we are doing
So then, what does food have
to do with climate change and
greenhouse gases?
Food: A Brief History
• Food used to be produced locally, and eaten
• Pre-refrigeration
• Trains changed everything, and made it
possible and profitable to produce food in one
location and sell it in another far away.
• The birth of our current food system
• 20 times more energy needed to produce the
same amount of food than in 1910
Food and Transport
• Fossil fuel burning
• Great distances
of travel, planes
for New Zealand
lamb, ships for
Australian Apples,
Trains and Trucks
Where does this food go?
Where did it come from?
Toilet? And where does that go?
Garbage? And where does that go?
Digestion and Metabolism
Displaced nutrient cycling
• When food is traded, it is good right?
• Food transport is good for famine relief?
• What if some countries cannot provide
enough food for themselves without
• But does this make it OK for everyone?
• Plastic is made of
Petroleum products
• Petroleum is a…
• Packaging takes
Energy to produce
• Buying Naked
• Buying Bulk
• Plastic Bags
Packaging cont.
• Metal waste
• Paper products
• Biodegradable
• Canning at home
Why organic food?
• Fertilizers
• Nitrogen production through Haber
• Origin WWI
• Organic Needs vs. Industrial Needs
• 30-70% more associated ghg emissions
Organic Problems
• Price and Class issues
• Reality of production needs, organic will
not feed the world
• Why is it so expensive?
• Government spending and subsidies
Food Needs
Then moves up
The food chain
Where do we eat on it?
The food chain
• Trophic levels, Herbivores, Carnivores,
• Primary, secondary, tertiary
• Only 10% moves from one to the next
• Efficiency
Some Stats
• 77% of our food grain goes to animals
in Canada
• If one was to weigh humans and farm
animals in Canada, animals would
weigh 4.3 times as much
• A meat diet requires 7 times the amount
of land, fertilizer and thus, farm
associated GHG production
Processed Food
Orange juice, 10L orange to 2L diesel
Peanut Butter
Apple Sause
Whip Cream
How much Fossil Fuel is left?
So, the case I make
Climate Change
Food Chain and Animal products