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Author Topic: What should India do about its methane-excreting cows to stop global warming?  (Read 2347 times)

Offline annie123

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With its policy of not hurting/using/keeping cows, how does this affect India's ability to curb global warming?
« Last Edit: 05/12/2015 09:13:44 by chris »


 

Offline evan_au

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In Paris, India is offering to keep its growth in greenhouse gases beneath its growth in GDP. But they want cheap access to patented technologies to help them achieve this.

Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Unlike carbon dioxide, it is a largely untapped energy resource from agricultural, rubbish, biological and geological sources.

Cows are one such source of methane. One way to reduce methane from ruminants might be to feed them different microbes, which instead of producing methane (wasted energy), would produce products like fatty acids that can be absorbed by the cows stomachs, and acts as a source of food for the cows?
 

Offline chris

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I find the attitude of the Indian government to be very frustrating; their stance appears to be that, because the developed world has enjoyed the luxury of cheap energy to power its development, India now shares the same entitlement. If we are uncomfortable with that, then we should pay for it.

However, the developed world didn't put a billion people in India did it?

That population scale exceeds the population of Europe and the US put together. The rate of growth of the population is similarly eye-watering.

I would like to see some commitment on the part of one of the world's most populous countries to curb their population growth, which, after all, is why the entire world is in a mess in the first place.
« Last Edit: 05/12/2015 09:23:02 by chris »
 

Offline alancalverd

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If you don't eat cows, why are there so many in India?  And what exactly defines a cow? Varous relatives of domestic cattle have been used for centuries as draught animals: is that "respect"? And what do  you do with an animal that is too old to pull a cart?

In Britain we torture old people to death by starving or dehydrating them (the Liverpool "Care" Pathway) as slowly as possible, but we shoot sick farm animals - indeed you can be prosecuted for not doing so.

Let's define "respect"  before worrying about farting cows.
 

Offline RD

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Re: excretion in India . Over half-a-billion of its citizens practice "open defecation" , now that's "eye watering".
« Last Edit: 05/12/2015 11:56:52 by RD »
 

Offline chris

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Re: excretion in India . Over half-a-billion of its citizens practice "open defecation" , now that's "eye watering".

This is mainly because most of the population don't have access to a toilet. But they are still putting satellites into space and sending probes to other planets, and being in receipt of overseas aid.

I think India needs to look at its priorities, before condemning the rest of the world to a future climate disaster.
 

Offline Don_1

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I would like to see some commitment on the part of one of the world's most populous countries to curb their population growth, which, after all, is why the entire world is in a mess in the first place.


China did try to reduce its population. This has led to the problems associated with a population where the old outnumber the young. China has now abandoned its one child policy.

The problems we face now are not due to an expanding population. They began in earnest with the industrial revolution. Personally I don't think I could bring myself to telling India and China, we have all the trappings of the technological world, which are born out of the industrial revolution, you can't have them.

Why should India & China be left out in the cold, while we march on regardless?

The US has 809 cars per 1000 of its entire population. (2011 figure)
The UK has 519 cars per 1000 (2010 figure)
China 114 (2014 figure)
And India just 18 cars per 1000 of population. (2011 figure)

All told India has around 21 million cars while the US has over 250 million. Who's doing the most damage?

India says it is within its rights to bring itself into the 21st century. I can't argue with that.

India says if we don't want them to use highly polluting coal, we must help them avoid using coal. If we are not prepared to offer India the technology it needs, technology we have had to learn, then we are not helping ourselves. It should be our duty to help those who need it under such circumstances.

We have and continue to take advantage of their cheap labour. Well guess what...... its payback time.
 

ijaz

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It is not just cows which emit methane. Humans do so too. Pakistan and India have a joint population of 1.5 billion and toiletry facility is extended to less than 200mln of these inhabitants. the rest are methane emitters in open fields railway tracks etc. So why confine to just cows.
 

Offline alancalverd

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About 10% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide is emitted by human bodies, and a further 20 - 25% by farm animals. About half of the remainder comes from growing, processing, preserving and transporting food.

Humans may emit less methane direct to the atmosphere in countries where we use flush toilets, but a fair bit of urban poo ends up as methane further down the processing line, though some sewage plants use it as a source of power, thus generating more carbon dioxide.

The answer to nearly all of humanity's problems is simple: fewer humans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy actually shows no inevitable and adverse consequences of an enforced reduction in birthrate in China, and a voluntary reduction, whilst slower to take effect, could be immediately beneficial to any society.   

     
 

Offline chris

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Don - it is about population, because if there was no one to drive them, the world wouldn't need cars. India has a ferocious population growth rate, and the majority of those people live in poverty; they also have the aspiration not to continue living like that, something with the country's government are keen to see change. But, if they adopt even a modest modern lifestyle, all of those people are going to inherit a carbon footprint potential far higher than any of us because of India's infrastructure.

It is critical that India and similar countries stop allowing their populations to GROW; this is not about cutting population it's about limiting population growth. We cannot ignore the fact that we have only one planet and it is capable of sustaining a finite number of us, not to mention all of the other species that share the planet with us and which are rapidly being pushed out to make way for "progress".

And as I have said earlier, the western world did not put a billion in poverty in India. India did that. Granted we should all help each other, but we all need to be responsible too.

We need to take this bull by the horns now and make this top of the agenda. If there weren't so many of us, there wouldn't be a problem...
« Last Edit: 06/12/2015 16:39:35 by chris »
 

Offline alancalverd

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The blame, of course, rests with doctors and civil engineers, without whom the life expectancy of the Indian population would not have increased from 25 to 70 in the last 200 years. Interestingly, though, the proportion of the world's population who are Indian or Chinese has not altered very much in that period: WE ARE ALL GUILTY OF LIVING TOO LONG!
 

Offline chris

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The blame, of course, rests with doctors and civil engineers

Civil engineers, yes, doctors probably not! If you look at the mortality and life expectancy graphs for London in the latter part of the 1800s, mortality plummeted; this was years before even the bug that causes TB had been spotted down a microscope for the first time. The reason for this dramatic turnaround was, as you allude to, better living conditions brought by sewerage and fresh water, and improved nutrition of the population. Doctors have not had all that much to do with it really.

 

Offline alancalverd

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One for the dinner party: who caused more harm, Dr John Snow or Sir Joseph Bazalgette?
 
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Offline Don_1

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WE ARE ALL GUILTY OF LIVING TOO LONG!

You'll not catch me arguing with that.

With the sole exception of humans, all species are subject to nature. Starvation, dehydration, predation, age, injury and disease. It is these factors which keep populations in check. But humans have learned to overcome these factors to such a great extent, that we live far longer than might otherwise be the case.

Can you imagine how the world population might explode if we should defeat malaria?
 

Offline Don_1

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Chris,
I don't argue with your points, I simply try to see the Indian's point of view.

How can the west, sitting in their ivory towers and surrounded by all that the last 100yrs or so furnished them with and being responsible for the problems we face today, now tell us we can't share in their prosperity? A prosperity which we have contributed to, albeit not always willingly, by way of our working cheaply so they could afford all those luxuries.

India's rising population could become a problem, but it was not the cause of today's problems. In fact, even if India's population remains fairly stable, if their prosperity increases to the same level as the west, we could be in big trouble. Imagine if Indian's were to achieve the same level of prosperity as the UK, this could equate to an extra 700 million cars. That is a frightening figure.

But I say again, how can we say to them, "you can't have them". You can't have air conditioning. You can't have fridges & freezers.

How can we say to them, "You must live a frugal life at best, so that we can live in comparative luxury"?
 

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