Southern California environment news and trends

Studies say less red meat production key to rebalancing global warming trends

Severe Drought Major Factor In Steep Rise In Beef Prices

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There have been numerous studies linking the consumption of meat to health risks, but a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that meat production is just as dangerous to the environment. The study, entitled “Grade A Choice? Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat,” states that the vast amounts of land required for meat production is one of the leading causes of deforestation and global warming emissions. Findings also reveal that a shift towards less red meat consumption would protect the planet by drastically reducing those emissions.

“We have a big beef with beef,” said Doug Boucher, a Union of Concerned Scientists’ director and co-author of the report in a statement. “Because of the way it is produced, the more beef we eat, the worse global warming gets.”

Calling red meat “ecologically inefficient,” the report finds that beef production consumes a staggering 60 percent of the world’s agricultural land, but returns less than 5 percent of the protein and 2 percent of the calories that feeds the world.


California oil refineries produce most greenhouse emissions in U.S.

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A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reveals that California oil refineries emit 19 to 33 percent more greenhouse gasses than any other comparable region in America.

According to Inside Climate News, while California refineries have worked hard over the last 17 years to combat pollutants, dirtier and harder to clean types of crude oil (such as Canadian tar sands oil) have undone any progress by forcing the facilities to work harder to process — and create more CO2 emissions. California refineries are also known for removing sulfur earlier in the cleaning process, which contributes to the elevated emissions.

“With respect to emissions intensity, California officials have been running around claiming California’s oil refineries are so much more energy efficient, that they are just cleaner… Obviously they were wrong,” said Greg Karras, a senior scientist with Communities for a Better Environment who wrote the study.