Trump and plant-based meats are pulling climate change in opposite directions. Here’s how.
Imagine a hot and juicy burger stacked with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. A burger so divine, that it drips of delicious and indescribable sauces and grease when you bite into it. Sounds good, right? You would probably do anything for one right now, wouldn’t you? Well, what if we told you that 51% or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are produced by animal agriculture? Would you still want one?
Gathering a kilogram of meat emits ten times more greenhouse gases than harvesting a kilogram of fruits or vegetables. According to the United Nations, raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases (specifically CO2), than driving cars.
Beyond Meat is a small business that has recognized this issue and found a possible solution. With eight products so far and many more in the making, Beyond Meat produces meat alternatives made entirely out of plant-based matter. Founder, Ethan Brown, claims that by manufacturing meat alternatives, we can solve four problems. Brown calls these problems “the four horsemen” including: climate change, animal welfare, natural resources, and human health.
Brown isn’t the only one who is concerned about the future conditions of the world’s environment. Country leaders have also expressed their beliefs on the situation.
Many world leaders have taken a stance while others have taken a seat
Donald Trump’s recent decision to withdrawal the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change has left other world leaders and officials concerned about the future economic and environmental conditions of the world. Many of them are wondering, “So what happens now?”
So what can we expect from these other nations, especially from the ones that are still a part of this agreement? Will they double their own efforts to try and further limit greenhouse gas emissions? Or will the agreement start to crumble and fall apart much like the ice caps in Antarctica that it was put in pact in order to protect?
Countries like China, India, Germany, and France have all voiced that they wish to continue these efforts to fight climate change with or without the help of the United States. This is going to be very challenging in the long run because the United States is actually responsible for about one-fifth of global emissions according to Brad Plumer, a climate reporter for The New York Times. This makes them the world’s second largest greenhouse emitter, directly behind China.
“Tonight, I wish to tell the United States, France believes in you – the world believes in you,” French president, Emmanuel Macron, said during a live broadcast from the Élysée Palace earlier this week. Speaking on the behalf of France, President Macron proceeded to sincerely invite American scientists, who study climate change, and other U.S. citizens, who are passionate about climate change, to come to France and work with them to continue this extensive and challenging battle.
What happens next?
Although Trump has backed out of the international climate agreement, other state officials in America are still making efforts to better the environment. David Rank, a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, has even taken action and decided to step down from his position after hearing that Trump had cold feet about the Paris agreement.
Rank isn’t the only one who has been influenced by Trump’s bold decision. Governor of California, Jerry Brown, just recently signed an agreement with China’s minister of science and technology, Wan Gang, that allows the state of California to partner with China in lowering greenhouse emissions. The agreement entails developing cooperation between California and China on renewable energy, zero emission vehicles and carbon urban development. While working together, both China and California will attempt to brainstorm more ways to reduce carbon emissions.
During his travels through China, Brown also signed similar contracts with leaders of Sichuan and Jiangsu. On Wednesday he attended a forum in Beijing focusing on the Under2 Clean initiative, along with his colleague Rick Perry, former governor of the state of Texas. This initiative will include the involvement of 170 cities, countries and states to keep the global average temperature increase under two degrees Celsius.
Xi Jinping, President of China, also met with Brown to discuss climate change. This was a monumental moment in history because the president of China rarely meets with anyone who is bellow a cabinet member. This goes to show how important and pressing the issue of climate change must be.
Brown and Perry’s efforts have not gone to rest. In fact, nine other states including Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and even Puerto Rico have decided to join forces with them in order to support the climate change agreement.
“If our national government isn’t willing to lead in this area, the states are prepared to step up and lead,” governor of Vermont, Phil Scott said.
Who can we turn to?
No matter what level of authority it comes from, the expiry of climate change is not going to occur without a little elbow grease. Everyone’s contribution is necessary for an impact to transpire. Perhaps small businesses could even have the answer and be the start of a benefiting change, like the production of plant-based meats.