Oct17

National Egg Farmers Prepare for Environmental Challenges after New IPPC Report

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report 15 claims the latest disaster  “tipping point” is just 12 years away. If governments around the world fail to make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, human civilization and our planet face cataclysm”, the IPCC asserts.   This gave rise to a number of inquiries for the National Egg Farmers, from non-farmers who want to see and end to the way we produce eggs, on the contribution from agriculture to the Greenhouse Gas emissions impacting the environment. We’ve addressed this before, but this new report called for us to update our supporting science showing GHG from agriculture at less than 8 percent. You can use this as a template if you get someone complaining, or let me know and I'll respond to them.

 

The IPCC insists that fossil fuel use must be slashed from over 80 percent of global energy today to zero by 2050 – and the world must spend $2.4 trillion per year for the next 17 years to subsidize the transition to renewable energy. That’s on top of the $2 trillion per year already being spent on Climate Crisis, Inc. research, consulting, carbon trading and renewable projects.  Now we are looking at $60-80 trillion by 2036! 

 

You may have seen accusations that animal agriculture is contributing 40 percent to the GHG emissions overall.  This is disingenuous as it is the worldwide contribution and some countries are involved in deforestation and planting crops which increases GHG.  The U.S. has not seen an increase in the total acreage of deforested land over the last several decades even while total agricultural production has increased. The GHG emissions in the U.S. from all of agriculture is less than 8%.  The report substantiating the claim of less than 8 percent is entitled "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990-2015" published by the EPA (430-P-17-001. It shows all of agriculture, not just animals was responsible for 7.9 percent of GHG. Here's the website with all 633 pages.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/2017_complete_report.pdf

 

In the report it states that in 2015, agricultural activities were responsible for emissions of 522.3 MMT CO2 Eq., (this stands for million metric tons of CO2 equivalents) or 7.9 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide were the primary greenhouse gases emitted by agricultural activities. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management represented approximately 25.4 percent and 10.1 percent of total CH4 emissions from anthropogenic (caused by humans) activities, respectively, in 2015. Agricultural soil management activities, such as application of synthetic and organic fertilizers, deposition of livestock manure, and growing N-fixing plants, were the largest source of U.S. N2O emissions in 2015, accounting for 75.1 percent. Carbon dioxide emissions from the application of crushed limestone and dolomite (i.e., soil liming) and urea fertilization represented 0.2 percent of total CO2 emissions from anthropogenic activities. 

 

Now, consider what is great about the U.S. egg industry.  Its production has significantly decreased its environmental footprint in the past 50 years, according to A Comparative Assessment of the Environmental Footprint of the U.S. Egg Industry in 1960 and 2010.  Researchers at the Egg Industry Center in Ames, IA found that today’s hens are living longer due to better health, better nutrition and better living environments. These researchers studied U.S. egg production from 1960 to 2010. It’s noteworthy that today’s egg farmers are producing more eggs in 2010, yet the total environmental footprint in 2010 was 54% - 63% lower than the environmental footprint in 1960. Using 1960 technology to produce the 2010 egg supply would have required 78 million more hens, 1.3 million more acres of corn and 1.8 million more acres of soybeans. In comparison to 1960 technology, today’s egg farmers are able to feed 72% more people.