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Asia’s Increase In Consumption Of Meat To Cause Environmental Problems: Researchers

“You have a lot of people in Asia who don’t get that great a diet so animal-sourced food intake will increase,” said the FAO’s Dawe.

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Commuters stand at an open doorway of a suburban train during the morning rush hour in Kolkata, India, July 31, 2015. India is set to overtake China and become the world's most populous country in less than a decade - six years sooner than previously forecast, the United Nations said in 2015. VOA
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Asia’s growing appetite for meat and seafood over the next three decades will cause huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions and antibiotics used in foods, researchers said Tuesday.

Rising population, incomes and urbanization will drive a 78 percent increase in meat and seafood demand from 2017 to 2050, according to a report by Asia Research and Engagement Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based consultancy firm.

“We wanted to highlight that, because of the large population and how fast the population is growing, it is going to put a strain on the environment,” said co-author Serena Tan.

“By recognizing this and where it comes from, we can tackle the solutions,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Pope, Aisa
Asia’s growing appetite for meat and seafood over the next three decades will cause huge increases in greenhouse gas.

More carbon dioxide, antibiotics

With supply chains ramping up to meet demand, greenhouse gas emissions will jump from 2.9 billion tons of CO2 per year to 5.4 billion tons, the equivalent of the lifetime emissions of 95 million cars, the researchers said.

A land area the size of India will be needed for additional food production, according to the report, while water use will climb from 577 billion cubic meters per year to 1,054 billion cubic meters per year.

The use of antimicrobials, which kill or stop the growth of microorganisms, and include antibiotics, will increase 44 percent to 39,000 tons per year, said the report, which was commissioned by the Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food is rife in Southeast Asia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said this year, warning of serious risks for people and animals as bacterial infections become more resistant to treatment.

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Avoid the intake of processed meat in your diet. Pixabay

Income growth

Growing urban areas contribute to the rising demand for meat and seafood, because people there usually have better access to electricity and refrigeration, said David Dawe, a senior economist at the FAO in Bangkok.

“But income growth is the big driver,” he added.

Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Pakistan are among nations likely to contribute most to the rise in meat and seafood consumption, while countries with aging populations, like China, will likely limit growth, Tan said.

Food producers can increase efficiency by implementing rainwater harvesting, using sustainable animal feed and capturing biogas from cattle, Tan said.

Also Read: Environmentalists Investigate The Kerala Floods

Regulators, consumers and investors can also pressure restaurant chains and producers to limit the use of antibiotics in meat supplies, she added.

At meal times, consumers can also choose plant-based foods made to look like meats as an alternative, Tan said.

“You have a lot of people in Asia who don’t get that great a diet so animal-sourced food intake will increase,” said the FAO’s Dawe. “In many ways it’s a good thing for nutrition, but it does raise environmental issues.” (VOA)

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Skyscrapers May Have Made The Impact Of Hurricane Harvey Worse: Study

The scientists projected future warming and found future versions of the same storms would be significantly wetter and stronger.

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Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

Humans helped make recent devastating U.S. hurricanes wetter but in different ways, two new studies find.

Hurricane Harvey snagged on the skyscrapers of Houston, causing it to slow and dump more rain than it normally would, one study found. The city’s massive amounts of paving had an even bigger impact by reducing drainage. Land development in the metro area, on average, increased the chances of extreme flooding by 21 times, study authors said.

A second study looked at last year’s major Hurricanes Maria and Irma and 2005’s deadly Katrina and used computer simulations to see what would have happened if there had been no human-caused global warming. The study found that climate change significantly increased rainfall from those three storms, but did not boost their wind speed.

Both studies are in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

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A smoky haze envelopes the skyscrapers and Rocky Mountains that usually can be seen as a backdrop to the city from a high-rise building, Aug. 20, 2018, in Denver. VOA

Houston was a literal drag on Harvey as it sloshed through, with the storm getting tripped up by the skyscrapers, said study co-author Gabriele Villarini, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Iowa.

Co-author Gabe Vecchi, a climate scientist at Princeton University, said that forced the storm to move up higher, causing more concentrated rain over Houston and slowing, which also made more rain.

He compared it to a river running over rocks, creating bubbles.

“That’s sort of what’s going on here,” he said.

This effect is dwarfed, though, by the paving and building that don’t allow water to sink into the ground, Vecchi said.

Harvey’s record rainfall reached 5 feet in one spot near Houston. The scientists used computer simulations to see the effects of urbanization. In parts of the Houston metro area, the effects of development ranged from a 10 percent higher risk of extreme flooding in the less developed northwest to nearly 92 times the risk in the northeast, they reported.

Hurricane Florence, Lawmakers,
A work truck drives on Hwy 24 as the wind from Hurricane Florence blows palm trees in Swansboro N.C. VOA

That’s on top of the unique weather patterns that made Harvey slow down and stall and climate change which brought more water into the storm, Vecchi said.

MIT hurricane and climate expert Kerry Emanuel, who wasn’t part of the study, called the Harvey study “a real advance in our understanding of hurricane impacts on urban areas.”

But Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon wasn’t convinced. He said the team used generic shapes instead of the actual Houston skyline. He said the storm’s wind speeds may have slowed, but that’s different from the storm’s forward movement slowing.

The other study in Nature looked at a variety of historical damaging storms and tried to calculate past and future effects of climate change. In three cases, the scientists simulated the storms without the changes in the climate from greenhouse gases, showing that global warming increased rainfall 8.9 percent in Hurricane Maria , 6.3 percent in Hurricane Irma and 8.7 percent in Hurricane Katrina .

Maria hit Puerto and Rico and other parts of the Caribbean. Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, while Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Climate Change, Hurricanes
Russ Lewis covers his eyes from a gust of wind and a blast of sand as Hurricane Florence approaches Myrtle Beach, S.C.. VOA

In Maria’s case, a warming climate concentrated heavier rain in the center of the storm and reduced it on the edges, said co-author Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

For 15 storms, which included the devastating Typhoon Haiyan , the potent Gilbert and 1992’s Hurricane Andrew , the scientists projected future warming and found future versions of the same storms would be significantly wetter and stronger.

Also Read: Vietnam Does Its Part in Cleaning The Environment, Cleans Plastic

“We are beginning to see a climate change influence emerge on tropical cyclones and that’s coming out as rainfall,” said study lead author Christina Patricola, an atmospheric scientist at the national lab.

Although replicating a storm in a different climate is difficult and can’t account for certain changes, this work bolsters science understanding of how climate change alters hurricanes, Emanuel said. (VOA)