Ravenous for Meat, China Faces a Climate Quandary
At the center of the table in a modest, high-rise apartment in the teeming city of Shenzhen, China, a simmering pot of soup stock was surrounded by large platters featuring mushrooms, different kinds of thinly shaved meat, lettuce, potato, cauliflower, eggs, and shrimp. Folding his hands together, Jian Zhang, a onetime rural farmer who now works as an employee for a small consulting firm in the city, asked his fellow diners to give thanks for the meal — the likes of which he could have only dreamed of when growing up in a remote village in the Jiangxi province.
The reason was simple: His family was so poor that they had to make do with barely sufficient food supplies. “I often went hungry when I was a kid,” said Zhang, his voice betraying the painful memories of a hard childhood. Until the late 1980s, when the state-imposed food rationing system was phased out from people’s daily lives, food supplies were in serious shortage across China. Coupons for buying basic foodstuffs like grain, flour, rice, oil, and eggs were issued based on monthly rations.
Meat, recalled Zhang as he dipped a piece of beef into the bubbly broth, was a rare luxury that his family could afford “two or three times a month.”
Things have changed remarkably since then. In the past three decades, breakneck industrial development and economic growth have driven millions of Chinese from rural areas to cities, altering much about the Chinese way of life, especially in terms of their day-to-day eating habits — an evolution perhaps most pointedly crystallized in the average Chinese consumer’s access to meat. Once a rare luxury, it has now become a commonplace. “I still remember when beef was nicknamed the millionaire’s meat,” said Zhang, who reckoned that he spends around 600 yuan, or $88, each week on food, and half of that on meat. “Now I can eat it every day if I want.”
Fueled by rising incomes rather than urbanization, meat consumption in China grew sevenfold over the last three decades and a half. In the early 1980s, when the population was still under one billion, the average Chinese person ate around 30 pounds of meat per year. Today, with an additional 380 million people, it’s nearly 140 pounds. On the whole, the country consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat — twice as much as the United States. And the figure is only set to increase.
But as the Chinese appetite for meat expands, the booming nation is faced with a quandary: How to satisfy the surging demand for meat without undermining the country’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming — goals that have been expressly incorporated into national economic, social development, and long-term planning under the Xi Jinping administration.
Raising animals for human consumption, after all, generates climate-changing emissions at every stage of production. For one thing, it requires vast amounts of land, water, and food to raise livestock. For another, cattle are themselves a source of huge quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide. Finally, cattle-raising is a major contributor to deforestation, another cause of increases in carbon emissions. Overall, emissions from the livestock industry account for 14.5 percent of total carbon emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and these emissions are likely to increase in the near future as the production of meat is predicted to nearly double in the next 30 years.
With the world’s largest population and a rising craving for meat, China will be one of the biggest sources of increased demand. Experts at the advocacy group WildAid say that average annual meat consumption in China is on track to increase by another 60 pounds by 2030.
“One could argue that Chinese just want to enjoy the kind of life Westerners have for years. In the end, per capita meat consumption in China is still half that of the United States,” said Pan Genxing, director of the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Ecosystem of Agriculture at Nanjing Agricultural University. But, he added, “given the sheer population size, even small increases in individual meat intake will lead to outsized climate and environmental consequences worldwide.”
China is already the world’s largest emitter of carbon emissions, accounting for 27 percent of global carbon emissions. Its livestock industry is responsible for producing half the world’s pork, one-fourth of the world’s poultry and 10 percent of the world’s beef. No one knows exactly how much livestock contributes to the country’s mammoth carbon emissions. The last time Beijing produced official figures in 2005, it said that the national livestock sector accounted for more than half of the emissions from its overall agricultural activities. But one thing is for sure: how China will deal with soaring demand for meat is of paramount importance to both the nation and the rest of the world.
A 2014 study published in Nature by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen stated that to keep up with the demand for meat, agricultural emissions worldwide will likely need to increase by up to 80 percent by 2050 — a figure that alone could jeopardize the ambitious plan to keep planetary warming below the 2-degrees Celsius benchmark set under the Paris climate accord.
China would contribute significantly to that growth. Marco Springmann, a sustainability researcher at Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford, said that if meat consumption in the Asian country keeps growing as predicted, the nation would produce “an additional gigaton of carbon dioxide equivalents in greenhouse gas emissions, more than the current emissions of the global aviation industry” alone, and an increase of about one-tenth above China’s current level of emissions. According to a WildAid report, China alone could account for a growth in greenhouse gas emissions from 1.2 gigatons in 2015 to 1.8 gigatons by 2030.
“These calculations do not include land-use change,” Richard Waite, an associate at the World Resources Institute’s Food Program, told me by telephone from Washington, “but since meat production — especially beef production — takes up a significant amount of land, growing demand for meat in China would make for more forests converted to agriculture or pasture and also increase pressure on forests elsewhere.”
More meat on tables means more land given over to growing livestock feed — especially soybean, a crucial ingredient used to fatten up hogs and cattle quickly. Agricultural land, however, is in short supply in China. With around 20 percent of the world’s population, the country has only 7 percent of the world’s arable land, which is barely enough to keep up with the government’s goal of being self-sufficient for strategic commodities such as rice, corn, and wheat — a goal that has been at the heart of the national food security agenda for decades. Moreover, farmland in the country has been shrinking since the 1970s due to urbanization.
The increasing mismatch between available resources and surging demand has pushed China abroad in search of grain to feed livestock. The country now imports more than 100 million tons of soybeans per year, a figure corresponding to more than 60 percent of the global trade. In countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, this has led to the clearing away of vast swaths of forests to make way for huge soybean monocultures, further driving up greenhouse gas emissions since forests typically store carbon in living biomasses, soil, dead wood, and litter, while plants sequester vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis.
Importing grains to feed livestock at home isn’t the only strategy China is adopting to bridge the gap. Under the auspices of the government, Chinese companies have been taking over foreign ones like Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest producer of pork. Meanwhile, the Chinese have also been importing meat from Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, and other countries, making China the world’s single largest market for meat.
“For decades, developed nations have relocated their factories to China, outsourcing their climate pollution and emissions,” said Waite. “Now China seems to have adopted the same paradigm.”
Sure enough, mitigating emissions from one the world’s largest, and most fragmented, livestock industries isn’t an easy task. It also doesn’t seem to be a priority for Beijing. “Some measures like subsidizing livestock farmers to turn animal waste – a major source of methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases much more potent than carbon dioxide – into organic fertilizers, encouraging them to take advantage of international carbon trading, or providing financial aid to install biogas plants to produce clean energy from manure have been implemented,” said Genxing of Nanjing Agricultural University. “But no specific low-carbon animal production policies exist in the country today.”
“For now, all the efforts are directed toward cutting emissions from sectors such as power generation and transportation,” he added, “and in the absence of major change, livestock emissions will continue to increase in China in the future.”
Programs aimed at curbing consumer demand for meat have begun to circulate. Two years ago, the Chinese Nutrition Society issued new dietary guidelines, which recommend cutting meat consumption in half, for example. The government also teamed up with WildAid to run celebrity-driven, high-impact media campaigns to promote the benefits of eating less meat. Should these campaigns prove effective, food-related emissions in China could be reduced by a billion metric tons compared to projected levels in 2050, Springmann suggested.
But accomplishing that is no easy feat. While the growth rate of animal protein consumption in the country has slowed somewhat in the past few years due to a number of factors — including new public health measures, better alternatives, contaminated meat, and a slowing economy — there are substantial cultural challenges that make it difficult to stem the tide. According Steve Blake, WildAid’s acting chief in China, most Chinese consumers fail to appreciate the link between higher meat intake to global warming. “While the issue of climate change is accepted in China much more so than in the U.S., the awareness about the impact of diet on climate change is very low,” he said. For a country where older generations “still vividly remember not even being able to afford meat a few decades ago,” he said, “meals featuring high amounts of meat are seen as a very good thing.”
Mixed messages from the government are also a hindrance.
“As is typical with Chinese governmental policy, the right and left hand are fighting against each other,” said Jeremy Haft, author of “Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth about China’s Economic Miracle,” in an email message. For example, Haft said, as the government encourages people to eat less meat, it is at the same time shifting the adverse environmental effects of cattle-rearing to the United States and other countries, where China continues to invest in agriculture.
But Haft pointed out that China has a rare opportunity to counteract the effects of this surge in meat-eating. “China’s remarkable development is regarded by many developing countries to be a model for lifting their own population out of poverty,” he noted. Given its centralized system, it has already proved it can be nimble in response to environmental risks — as happened with the transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy, which has caused national carbon dioxide emissions to decline or stay flat in the last few years, or with its subsidies for electrical vehicles, which has caused sales to skyrocket.
Now, Haft said, China needs to mount a similar effort to reduce meat consumption.
“If the country wants to become the world’s undisputed leading green superpower, it has to pave the way for a sustainable, low-carbon development [path] for low- and middle-income countries, inspiring them to follow suit,” Haft said. “And reducing emissions from the livestock sector should be part of the path.”
Marcello Rossi is a freelance science and environmental journalist based in Milan, Italy. His work has been published by Al Jazeera, Smithsonian, Reuters, Wired, and Outside among other outlets.
American government spends $38 billion a year to subsidise meat and dairy, but only $17 million (0.04% of that ) to subsidise fruits and vegetables. But federal government’s Dietary Guidelines urge us to eat more fruits and vegetables and less cholesterol-rich food (that is, meat and dairy)?
The only real solution to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions due to animal agriculture is for the entire world to become vegan. Not just for saving the environment, but also for saving billions of human and non-human lives.
We are, along with apes, animal on land with a “higher function” or self-awareness in our brain. It isn’t doing us much good overall, as we are still dependent on our “reptilian” brain and stem to survive. And, survive that “reptilian” brain demands! We humans will be gone at some point, because evolution is to slow to help us.
We will continue to destroy our environment as the majority of humans aren’t willing to give up the various needs, and pleasures that we use, whether to survive, or just cause we wanna!
This article is quite biased and poorly thought out. Even the title alone, by its use of the word “ravenous” is extremely biased. It is far from standard or normal to use “ravenous” to describe a group of human beings, especially when describing something comparatively innocuous like simply being omnivores (like most of the rest of humanity). “Ravenous” is more often used when describing wild animals. Highly inappropriate use of language.
I see a lot of vegans poking their heads into this conversation. Why is it OK to eat vegetables (which we are now discovering are sentient and can think and feel pain) and not OK to eat animals? Why because animals are cute and vegetables don’t scream? Homo-sapiens are a omnivores we eat everything in sight. That means eat meat, or don’t but stop pushing this holier then though attitude meat has feelings BS on us, you sound like a fool who doesn’t understand science.
Just because we are aware that we have options doesn’t mean we have to make any decisions one way or another. I can say one thing, does the lion cry for the sheep or will a cat not eat a mouse because it’s inhumane? We are here for one reason and that’s to reproduce and survive, if we can do it and keep things in balance great, if not, then we’ll go the way of the dinosaur.
The amount of ignorance in these comments hurts my head. Conspiracy theorists, people saying not to eat meat at all, people saying the US should have the right but not China… and most of this based on a lack of belief in basic science or “meh, I’m just not sold on it”. Unless you study in this field, not trusting science and people who DO work in this field is a dangerous game. But you know… a picture with some text on FaceBook told me the REAL truth lol.
We need a nuclear war very very badly. It’s the only birth control left.
Folks, this shouldn’t be a debate about Geo-politics or who is “less bad” for the environment. Its an article about another looming problem, among many, facing the globe as climate change shifts into high gear. Here in Colorado, we are getting crushed with growth and development in an upward curve that resembles the profile of the Rockies at sunset. Yet, at the same time our snow pack is diminishing faster than the speed limit in rural Utah.
Its time to stop finger pointing and start figuring out how to take local action, regardless where you live. The folks that want to argue and finger point will be the first ones caught up when the shit storm arrives. This isn’t an episode of Jerry Springer, its real and its here now.
A key question about ecological agriculture, including organic agriculture, is whether it can be productive enough to meet the world’s food needs. Chemical corporations are buying out and poisoning our food sources and we need to promote and create MORE local organic farms worldwide. Data collected in 2002, 2003 and 2004 showed that, on average, composted fields sometimes produced double the amount of those treated with chemical fertilizers (Araya and Edwards, 2006). We have been fooled by chemical corporate profiteers to believe that we need them. They are poisoning our rivers, aquifers and oceans while profiting from our naivete. If only MORE people felt compelled to learn about the world around them instead of leaving it up to profit driven corporate boardrooms to dictate their daily experiences for them from convenience foods to fertilizers without a single concern for our very existence.
Odd no mention of the greatest fresh seafood to be found in any country in the world so many different kinds of clams, swimming shrimp as well as live fish, lobster, crabs and iced fish of every kind pick out what you want including fresh vegetable of every kind.
The main problems are sever overpopulation in the Asian countries like China and India.
@blitz … 08.06.2018 @2:34 PM
“This is silly. I believe most people imagine meat must be produced in overcrowded farms.
If China has a higher income and they want meat that doesn’t destroy the Earth or hurt People, then sell them open range meat.
China has tons of land and roads. Get it done”
Every square inch of China that CAN be used in food production IS being used in food production (one major problem is that they have polluted so much of their environment that much of the arable land is now unable to be so used). The Chinese have been working that land for thousands of years.
Unlike the U.S. (which did not see widescale agriculture until the late 19th/early 20th Century), where we have millions of acres of grassland, forests and other marginal environments that we have in the past used for food production, and COULD use for food production in the future. If it was economically viable. For food production in those areas to be profitable, the standard of living in the United States would have to fall sharply and/or the global prices for foodstuffs would have to increase significantly*.
Given current population projections, and the wider distribution of wealth to formally impoverished countries (as we have seen in this article), it is not unreasonable to assume that raising livestock in the U.S. might actually become of viable enterprise in the coming decades.
* However, if we hit the point where the global costs of foodstuffs increase to that point, that will have also been accompanied by global revolts in the areas where billions of people are still struggling to get enough to feed themselves and their families today at “reasonable” global prices.
Landis 08.06.2018 @1:54 PM
See the link below for the EPA’s calculation of Ag bases GHGs in the US. Livestock and agriculture in general are not major contributors to GHGs in developed counties. Please stop with the propaganda.
How dare you enter this conversation with facts. Just kidding!! Yeah. Everybody chooses to ignore that – doesn’t fit their agenda. Nobody wants to hear transportation tops the list.
Vegetarians, please realize you contribute directly to global warming/climate change/pollution as well. Everything on your plate (except maybe for a limited time each year) is ALWAYS transported from state to state or country to country. That’s a lot of high-speed, low-efficiency flier miles there. That stuff has to get to your local market QUICK. That and storage uses a TON of energy. My nephew drives a refer truck and it isn’t cheap -and uses a TON of energy.
We all need to go back to square one – better forms of transportation.
Denise wrote “Americans are fooling themselves if they think that America is superior to China. 9 out of 10 vehicles on the road in China were luxury vehicles; there was not an animal to be seen, heard or found unless you went into the country where they were raising them for slaughter.’
Based on your logic, Denise, Americans should believe that China is superior to America because one cannot see through the smog in China during daylight hours and puppies, rats, snakes –anything found living on the streets at any time, including companion animals — are quickly scooped up and consumed by the Chinese, thereby eliminating the pesky annoyance of humane, animal control procedures. These are your reasons, along with everyone but the 1% driving luxury vehicles, for labeling China a superior success to the US. Your take on “superiority” wreaks of superficiality, barbarism & environmental destruction.
China has over a billion people, in roughly same square acre land mass as the US. That is nearly 3.5 times US population. Anyone see a problem there?? What do you think that size a population adds to the global warming effect of the country, beef methane, try human methane times over a billion and all the other little things us humans think are required to live out our modern lives. And next door to China, India with the second largest population by a huge factor, with a landmass just 5 times larger than Texas. I wonder what their commitment to carbon foot print looks like? I am well aware its currently small compared to ours. Even with the difference in reproduction from US to China, by 2050 China’s population is projected to still be 3 times larger than the US, (US is predicted to still be far under a 1/2 billion people by the same year).
According to the article, their plan for feeding those billion people is to buy up foreign companies and out source the production and purchase to less developed struggling countries. Great, we know how well that works!
Vegans and Vegetarians its your choice to deprive your body of what its meant to consume, have at it, but don’t preach to loud, your meals come at a cost to the environment as well, plus you will probably get worn out doing it.
I had a medium rear T-bone for dinner Saturday, so big I took half it home and shared it with my bulldog.
I obviously don’t have the answer, but I didn’t see it in any of the other responses, I did read what I would classify as grade A 100% Bull Sh~t though! So thought I throw a shovel of my own and thought over 1 billion human beings on a land mass just 3.7 million square miles in size. That is very Scary not how much beef they eat!
The commenter claiming there were ice ages when the carbon level was 4400 ppm is wrong, according to this article:
Sea levels were hundreds of feet higher during most of this period. There was little dry land above the tropics. In the latter period the ice age began only after the C02 levels dropped.
You can debate whether climate change is real or not with an endless stream of articles and studies. But the unprecedented wildfires, floods, hurricanes and heat in the last 20 years cannot be denied. Nor can the shrinking of nearly every glacier on the planet. Even if you couldn’t be certain to 100%, the risks of doing nothing are too high to ignore.
From the standpoint of economics there is no sound argument for maintaining the status quo. The US will either participate in an economy based on new technologies and resource efficiency, or it will become poorer and more isolated.
The issue is not who eats how much and how big their share is vs. someone else’s. The problem is everyone eating meat at the rate of western countries is not sustainable. There just isn’t enough arable land and fresh water. Animal agriculture currently uses more energy and land than the human population as well as over 1/3 the planets fresh water and it gets worse daily. Over 150 billion animals are slaughter every year, not because we need to eat them to survive, but simply because we like the way they taste. Grow up.
Per capita, US eats about 5 times more than China. http://beef2live.com/story-world-beef-consumption-per-capita-ranking-countries-0-111634 Uruguay Argentina consume about 11 times more than China. If you want to use the same calculations this article uses, the the US eats 20 ( Twenty) times more than India. So to just say China eats twice as much as the US, then just remember, the US eats 20 times more than India. You’re welcome.
For those of you expounding on things like what a great job China is doing to promote a greener economy and controlling greenhouse gas emissions – just who are you kidding! China has and will continue to tell the world what they want to hear, even if means they have to continually publish lies, steal and cheat to get the job done. Time for the world to wake up and realize that China’s ultimate goal is world domination at any cost!
Carbon dioxide, methane, global warming? Living in the past. The free world doesn’t live there anymore as the mythical AGW theory of operation, AKA the runaway Venus effect rapidly destroying the Earth, has been dead for the last 18 years. Debunked as fallacious, foolish and indeed borderline criminal. Fear of global warming never has been, and never will be a reason to stop raising beef. Time for you folks to start focusing your efforts on the next big scourge on the landscape: ocean acidification [lololololzzz]. I wish you luck (not).
Climate change is a lie. Or better yet, a con job. I’ll accept climate change as fact under two conditions:
1. The elites (politicians, celebrities and corporations) that keep pushing this con on us reduce their carbon footprint. That means moving into a small house, sell their private jets and yachts, drive tiny electrical vehicles and essentially live the way they demand the rest of us do.
2. The weather service must be able to predict the weather correctly 50% of the time for an entire year. That’s 182 – 183 days. Otherwise it’s ludicrous to accept their claim that they can predict the weather 100 years from now.
Consuming meat products is not right in this day and age. Our lifestyle should be purely vegan or vegetarian, making us more peaceful inside and healthier overall. Animals need love and protection. Give a child a knife and it will happily cut fruits and vegetables, but ask a child to butcher an animal, and the child will start crying. We are meant to love animals, not eat them. Stop this nonsense.
Don’t blame the Chinese one bit for wanting more meat in their diets. Vegetarianism and veganism should be a choice by individuals who can afford to voluntarily give up meat and/or dairy products, not something that should be forced on anyone because of poverty or hardship. Some religions (Seventh Day Adventists, for example and some Eastern faiths) also don’t eat meat, but that is a *choice*.
Nuke waste has it right!
So, things changed remarkably since the ending of the state-imposed food rationing system? The free market knew that people wanted meat and so set about producing it at a profit. The do-gooders in the west want them to return to some kind of authoritarian control to starve for the good of the planet while they themselves enjoy the riches of their own society. Do elitists even realize what they sound like when they criticize an emerging economy? So China and India rise out of poverty to enjoy food on their table and that’s a bad thing?
It is interesting to read the comments regarding this situation. We were just in China for the first time ever. AND we were SHOCKED. Americans are fooling themselves if they think that America is superior to China. 9 out of 10 vehicles on the road in China were luxury vehicles; there was not an animal to be seen, heard or found unless you went into the country where they were raising them for slaughter. When inquiring about this….and I am talking on a 10 day trip, we did not see 1 bird or stray cat-they responded with “Oh- we eat them!”. Puppies are a delicacy-they eat snake, rat….you name it. They eat next to no sugar. They eat tons of rice and noodles…breakfast, lunch and dinner. AND, in the 10 days there, while it was daylight, you could not see the sun because the smog was horrendous. Want to know the truth? Get off your a** and travel outside the country. You will see the truth.
There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.
The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.
Isn’t the staple of most vegan diets soy? Healthier lifestyle? Soy blocks thyroid hormone intake in the body of those that suffer thyroid disease, over half of which is mis/undiagnosed. Stop consumption of sugar, I read here also; yes, please, let me have more chemicals in what I consume. Not. Sugar is still healthier than any substitute there is available in moderation. But that’s the key word in all of this: moderation. Novel concept in times of excessive everything. And while I’m at it, global warming: the earth is doing what it’s always done: change. We are temporary guests here. As far as this entire article goes; let China handle China and be concerned with your own space on this earth. Be concerned with what you can actually change around you; it’s far more beneficial and less stressful than worrying about a country that is going to act how it’s always acted as a whole.
For the argument about incorrect maths, you’d have to provide evidence and a correction. Otherwise it’s just a knee jerk reaction to an article you don’t like. It is a fact the the flu virus etc originated in china due to livestock issues. It is a fact that governments including china’s say one thing and do another. It is also a fact that china has been shaped by a history of unethical behaviour carried out by the west upon it’s people but the communists party apparently have learnt the lessons of dastardly political behaviour and seek to outdo the teacher.
The Chinese have just as any right to eat meat as anyone else in the world. The fact that they weren’t able to eat meat before was because they weren’t making as much money as the folks in the west; this has changed which a good thing. All of the complainers need to get off their ass and just produce more instead of complaining; my meat producer friends are happy about these number since their business grows and they can provide more for their families. Also stop complaining about cows farting, burping and manure releasing too much methane; yours and mine due to the same and beef is taiste if cooked right.
If we want to save the environment lets get ourselves off gasoline/petrol and on renewable electric, small size nuclear (interim), and natural gas (interim). We can also plant more trees (especially across the Med where they get burned every year)
If China is being big, rich and ravenous as its economy expands then whose example do you think they are following? China has absorbed and applied U.S. marketing domination techniques times 1,000. The difference is that China is also trying to build an infrastructure for a green economy. Are we doing that here? No.
We love to brag about all of the influence we have worldwide but then we complain and accuse when someone else copies us. Especially if they do it better than we do.
I see the Chinese ten-cent army is alive and well… How is that propaganda going?
China’s population vs world population is dropping every year.
Population of China Share of world
2018 1,415,045,928 18.54 %
2017 1,409,517,397 18.67 %
2016 1,403,500,365 18.80 %
2015 1,397,028,553 18.92 %
China: 1.57 per woman (2015)
Europe: 1.6 per woman (2017)
United States: 1.84 per woman (2015)
India: 2.4 per woman (2015)
Seems the article complains the lower birth rate country is eating half amount of food as they are eating.
What? They are eating as half amount of food as what we are eating. No, NO. I can’t let it happen.
In writing my reply, I forgot to include the necessity of maintaining a balance of natural predators on the land as well Please, refer to the scientific studies regarding to re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone and Yosemite having resulted in a balance which actually helped to secure the soil, contours and water flow of the land in those parks.
I have been noticing, in my travels, how much more weight people are carrying. Back in the 60’s I did not see the large numbers of grossly overweight people, as now. We could make a large difference in the world’s problem numbers if people were eating less. Maybe world hunger would not be the problem it is now if people ate only what they need and reduced waste. Just think about it. Fewer feed animals, greenhouse gases, global warming and noise pollution since we would have our mouths open less often.
Attention Moderator: In writing my reply, I forgot to include the necessity of maintaining a balance of natural predators on the land as well Please, refer to the scientific studies regarding to re-introduction of wolves in Yellowstone and Yosemite having resulted in a balance which actually helped to secure the soil, contours and water flow of the land in those parks. Thank you
What the author wrote is not true. Why don’t you visit more people in more cities and not take only an extreme individual to slander China? How much do you know about China? You even don’t know how to do math…. Before you have this kind of conclusion, you need make more research… and based on the fact.
Yes, China consumes more meat as a whole than the US, but when divided by population that is still less per individual. While an objection could be crafted from the concept of “World supply” being a Communist Socialist measurement undermining each country’s sovereignty, my GREATEST OBJECTION IS the assumption that meat consumption is fueling global warming or detrimental global climate change. IN FACT, the opposite is true and has be proven by scientific study. The first reason for the increased speed of global desertification has been the elimination of large scale herds from the large grasslands on which their presence caused the increased growth of plants. The second reason is the deforestation of large scale woodlands. The Turkish Empire’s tax on trees comes to mind, in addition to the past practice of clear cutting old growth forest. Moreover, the practice of burning grass land to increase new growth is mistake as well, with regards to releasing toxins into the environment, destroying the microbial balance in the soil, excessively drying out the soil, and causing the landscape to be less fix thus resulting in top soil loss and water loss. If burning is thought a solution then it is clear that the heard sizes, inherent fertilization, and trampling of are not large enough. One might wonder if America caused it’s own dust bowl.
It amazes me that anybody still pumps Climate lies. There is little to NONE Man Induced Climate Change. Quit falling for Gore’s Folly. All that scam has done is make him very rich. The is no real thing as coarbon credits. Countries only agreed to this BS to get Obozo’s (American) money. No other country has paid any attention to what they agreed to.
Just start eating people, plenty of meat on this planet.
It is mind-boggling how none of the comments above address the immorality of treating sentient beings as things. How is the morality of their meat consumption different than their dairy or egg consumption? Both involve unnecessary violence. How is the Chinese meat consumption morally worse than consumption of meat, dairy or egg in any other part of the world.
The only rational response to the feelings this article invokes is Veganism.
Please go vegan. Be non-violent to animals, earth and to yourself.
As Buddha stated, he is not The Way.
This is silly. I believe most people imagine meat must be produced in overcrowded farms.
If China has a higher income and they want meat that doesn’t destroy the Earth or hurt People, then sell them open range meat.
China has tons of land and roads. Get it done.
“How to satisfy the surging demand for meat without undermining the country’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming.”
I laughed out loud when I read that and didn’t bother with the rest of the article. If China made an internal list of its top 50 priorities, curbing greenhouse gas emissions wouldn’t be on the list. Unless it was a list to be submitted to the UN then they’d put it on the list around #5. But when your people are starving and rationing food, greenhouse gases aren’t among the most immediate concerns.
I’m not trying to criticize China — the US also ranks greenhouse gases as lowest priority when polls are done.
prime rib is my favorite meal!
We should definitely see if we can force the Chinese and other developing countries to stop acting like Americans. Why should they get to benefit from their hard work the way we do. Good luck with that approach.
How about we find ways to lower the impact. The US is reducing greenhouse gases with technology, not reduced consumption.
Nothing that the US is doing is any better! China just has a huge population versus the US, but the US still wastes more resources than any other industrialized so called Democratic country in the world!
Quote “On the whole, the country consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat — twice as much as the United States”
China population 1.42 billion, consumes 28% world’s meat
US populition 0.326 billion, consumes 14% world’s meat
If you can do simple math, you will find US comsums twice as much meat as the China per person. Who should you point your finger to now?
the meat consumption per capita seems way off. Is it possible the author is confusing consumption with importation? China imports a ton of food products and eventually re-exports them?
They can eat each other! Over a Billion to choose from.
Emission per person in China is still much lower than the US. Ignorance is bliss.
Here’s a novel idea. Stop human reproduction for a period of time. Limit childbirth around the globe. We are the problem. We multiply like a virus. Geez
I deal with Chinese people & companies on a daily basis. Both domestically in the USA (communities) & in an export fashion (im an exporter). Let me tell you guys, they don’t give a crap about you, me or anything else. Their culture is in such a way where if they can get away with it, then it’s your fault for not catching them. If there is a problem, then it’s your fault it’s happening. A perfect example is the growing “pollution” problem in china, they blame it all on the western import of waste. However, who processes the waste in china? Is it western companies or local companies? I’ll tell you LOCAL or GOVT companies which don’t follow any standards or EPA guidelines, create their own pollution and then blame everybody else for bringing it into the countries in the first place. Same issue here with meat, they can’t control themselves and now it’s everybody else problem because they can’t. Cry me a river china, you’re getting everything you deserve and sadly we are all along for the ride and will catch some rocks in our grills along the way.
So, the population of the united states is 326 million. The population of China is 1.4 billion. China consumes twice as much meat as the United States?
Okay, some simple math.
So basically, the average Chinese citizen consumes much less meat per person than the United States.
If China has 1 billion more citizens than the United States, how is it significant to say that China consumes twice the amount of meat? Should China not be consuming 3 or 4 times the amount of meat as the United States?
“On the whole, the country consumes 28 percent of the world’s meat — twice as much as the United States”
This statement is fake news. Try basic math next time.
See the link below for the EPA’s calculation of Ag bases GHGs in the US.
Livestock and agriculture in general are not major contributors to GHGs in developed counties.
Please stop with the propaganda.
Meanwhile the US sits on a growing pile of meat (2.5 billion pounds by now) surplus.
Most lunch options around here don’t offer meat free dishes and if they do, they taste horrible.
Frankly, I would be fine eating less and producing less meat. Sell the excess to China and let them have their fair share of obesity and diabetes. I would cherish more delicious meat free meals here.
cant wait til that destabilization happens..wow..just a bubble waiting to burst
China accounts for 20% of the world’s population. 28% of the meat isn’t all that horrendous.
Hey Stephanie Fox,
Not sure where you are from, but it’s not like the rest of the world gives a shit either. Lets be honest China is merely asking for the same rights to eat as the rest of the world. It’s doing the same thing as Europe, Russia, and the United States has been doing for decades … spending money and buying what they need. Next time you want to “damn” another country please make sure your own is squeaky clean!!!
Well there is the dumbest thing I’ve read today. Sadly, the day isn’t over. And Maxine Waters is bound to blow this writer out of the water.
They just don’t care. They want more resources, and damn the consequences.
There is absolutely no doubt that reducing greenhouse gasses is a tremendous incentive to reduce agricultural meat consumption in China and elsewhere.
But emissions are almost the least of it.
The author mentions how so much forest in faraway countries has to be razed in order to grow soy for Chinese (and North American) livestock because China cannot possibly grow enough of its own. Think of how much biodiversity is lost as a result!
Everyone outside of China in a country rich enough to eat meat even once a week, let alone three times a day, cannot point fingers at China for causing so much climate change except with regard to China’s huge population and growing income (which allows greater meat consumption). Anyone who regards meat as an essential part of the human diet is culpable. The land used, the waste produced, the cruelty involved to animals and people. Horrible. Too many of us on the planet, and too many feel entitled to eat meat frequently.
If, by some miracle, Asians in general are discouraged from eating livestock (most likely due to rising cost) they will turn (back) to eating wild species, many of which are perilously close to extinction. It’s a very complex issue – we cannot simply tackle one aspect for one reason.
Before anyone accuses me of being a racist, tell me the last time you saw a live animal market in a major U.S. city. They exist all over Asia, and wild animals stand side by side with ducks and chickens. Are you part of a culture that will easily eat frogs, sea cucumbers, insects, civet cats, monkeys, and so on when chicken and beef get too costly for you? I doubt it. Some cultures are open to “unusual” food and others aren’t (they have to be near starvation first). Wild animals are safer around the latter.
I wish everyone would eat more than a 90% vegetarian diet, for health, climate change, and biodiversity, but there’s no way that’s going to happen. Reduction in per capita consumption and changes in agricultural practices might ease the collective pain – that’s about the best probable scenario.
Lon, your anti-Tibetan propaganda is dishonest, ugly, and unwelcome. If China wants to earn respect as a world power it must free Tibetan people from its genocidal attacks.
People care about themselves. Global warming is for lots an abstract concept. My opinion is that meat should become a “old fashion, last year, obsolete” food and that would have to be mediatised, like it was done for the cigarettes and now for the sugar in drinks. Here in the UK, I see more and more people arround me becoming vegetarians and vegans and eating organic. That, i believe, because they can feel directly the impact of such diet on their body, energy and mood. Medias and new health orientated companies help a lot towards it. In my surrounding, a person who dosen t go to gym is almost looked down. Being fit becomes important. In the sport world, big sport champions and also tv superstars are more and more often becoming vegetarians. In conclusion, China like to be pioneers in all important areas in the world. I have no doubt that a population like the Chinese, literally loving their leadership and competition, will soon follow a new path of a healthy lifestyle without meat. ?
Annihilation of Buddhism?? You have obviously been tuned into anti-China propagands. There are many more Chinese people practising Tibetan Buddhism (yellow hat like Gyatsu, than there are Tibetans. If you travel to Beijing you can find China’s biggest Buddhist temple complete with practicing monks and very interesting museum. I have seen monks with rolex watches. There is no religious descrimination there and Moslems and Christians are well represented, never were persecuted in Mao’s time as long as not subversive like Falun Gong or refusing registration like Jehovah’s Witness.
You need to educate yourself, not by Dali Gyatsu, but by reading Tibetan history in pre-cold war Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th or 11th Editions and get past your CIA/Hollywood indoctrinations. For example, Buddhism was introduced to Tibet by Chinese Empress and Mongolian Khan, not India, although it is a synchretistic mix of local annimism, Hinduism and Buddhism, not the pure Buddhism of SE Asia and Zen Japan.
Annihilaation of Buddhism?? You have obviously been tuned into anti-China propagands. There are many more people practising Tibetan Buddhism (yellow hat like Gyatsu, than there are Tibetans. If you travel to Beijing you can find China’s biggest Buddhist temple complete with practicing monks and very interesting museum. I have seen monks with rolex watches. There is no religious descrimination there and Moslems and Christians are well represented, never were persecuted in Mao’s time as long as not subversive like Falun Gong or refusing registration like Jehova’s Witness.
You need to educate yourself, not by Dali Gyatsu, but by reading Tibetan history in pre-cold war Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th or 11th Editions and get past your CIA/Hollywood indoctrinations.
The dirt on the sleeves can’t be from one days work. Just look at the filthy surroundings! Yuk!
China has been exporting deflation with its cheap exports and has suffered the side effects of the pollution the factories create on behalf of the importing countries
The western world is in for a huge financial shock if whst is now exported is diverted to local consumption to meet demand from the rising middle class
Meat is not all that China is ravenous for. Its appetite for power is uncontrolled at the expense of the resources of the entire planet. It must be quenched before every being is destroyed one by one, including Chinese. Instead of annihilating Buddhism, try practicing it.