In the year 1750, the earth’s atmosphere contained approximately 288 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide. Today, the atmosphere contains over 350 ppm.
From the outset of the American Civil War until today, industrial nations have released more than 185 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere from burning massive amounts of fossil fuel. Many scientists predict that the CO2 content of the atmosphere will most likely double by the middle part of the next century, with temperatures rising beyond any levels we have experienced in recorded history.
The burning of fossil fuels accounted for nearly two- thirds of the 8.5 billion tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere in 1987. The other one-third came from the increased burning of the earth’s biomass to clear forests to make room for cattle pastures to yield beef.
Plants take in and store CO2 in the process of photosynthesis. When they die or are burned, they release the stored-up carbon — often accumulated over hundreds of years — back into the atmosphere. The amount of carbon contained in the biomass and soil humus of the world’s forests exceeds the carbon in the atmosphere by 1.3 and 4 times respectively. The Amazon forest alone stores some 75 billion tons of carbon in its trees. When they are burned to support America’s beef habit, they emit a massive volume of CO2 into the atmosphere.
– Mintzer, Irving, “A Matter of Degrees: The Potential for Controlling the Greenhouse Effect,” World Resource Institute Research Report No. 5, World Research Institute, Washington, D.C., 1987
– World Resources Institute et al., “World Resources 1990-91” table 24.1, pg. 346; table 24.3, pg.350
– Solomon, A.M., “The Global Cycle of Carbon;” Rotty, R.M. and Masters, C.D., “Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuel
Combustion: Trends, Resources, and Technological Implications;” Houghton, R.A., “Carbon Dioxide Exchange
Between the Atmosphere and Terrestrial Ecosystems;” cited in Trabalka, John R., “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and the Global Carbon Cycle” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
– Ramanathan, V.R., “Trace Gas Trends and Their Potential Role in Climate Change,” Journal of Geophysical Research 90, 1985, pp. 5547-66
– Ehrlich, Paul and Anne, “The Population Explosion,” Simon & Schuster, N.Y., 1990, pg. 115
– Buschbacher, Robert J., “Tropical Deforestation and Tropical Development,” BioScience 36, January 1986, pg. 25
– Linden, Eugene, “Playing with Fire,” Time, September 18, 1989, pg. 78
– Rifkin, Jeremy, “Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture,” Dutton, N.Y., 1992, pg. 224
Cited in Robbins, John, “Diet for A New America”, Stillpoint Publishing, 1987.
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Source: WHN Media Network