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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Ivy League Vegan Conference 2/7/14

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Sangamithra Iyer present a session entitled "The Global Diet & Sustainability: Multi-country Perspectives" at the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Princeton University. The conference is in its third year and is dedicated to exploring veganism and bioethics.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Launches Chinese Website 1/1/14

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? launches Chinese website. This will increase awareness of the issues raised in What's For Dinner? and allow individuals in China to learn more about the film.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Signs Distribution Deal 12/20/13

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? signs with Icarus Films, a well known
independent film distributor, to help ensure that What's For Dinner? is screened widely.

Brighter Green End-of-Year Newsletter 12/19/13

Take a look at our most recent Brighter Green newsletter where we announce some of our recent accomplishments as well as what we have planned for 2014. You can read the newsletter here.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald on Katerva Awards Panel 12/6/13

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald participated on the Food Security Impact panel as a part of the Katerva Awards.

At COP 19, Global Landscapes Forum Calls for Change 11/27/13

COP 19's Global Landscapes Forum, where Brighter Green co-sponsored a side event, released a statement calling for a new approach to tackling climate change, food insecurity, and poverty saying that "fragmentation is our enemy". The statement calls for the need to "work together across landscapes".

Brighter Green Submits Policy Recommendations at Global Landscapes Forum 11/18/13

Brighter Green submits policy recommendations with Global Forest Coalition after the networking panel session "Land, landscapes, livestock, and farms". For more information please read about Brighter Green's involvement in COP 19 here.

Brighter Green in Outreach Magazine at COP 19 11/15/13

Brighter Green publishes an article entitled "Industrial animal agriculture: acknowledging industrial livestock production as a driver of forest loss" in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development distributed at COP 19. The article is based on a project addressing livestock production as a driver of deforestation between Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition.

Brighter Green Cosponsors a Panel at the Global Landscapes Forum at COP 19 11/14/13

Brighter Green is cosponsoring a panel at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw at COP 19. The forum, with exhibitions and panels, will focus on environmental change and development, linking farming, forestry, and other land uses. Geoffrey Evans from Humane Society International [HSI] will be speaking for Brighter Green, HSI, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The forum will take place from November 16-17, 2013 in Warsaw.

Brighter Green Produces Policy Document with Human Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals 11/11/13

Brighter Green, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a policy document making a case for why the Conference of Parties (COP 19) should address animal agriculture and the global climate crisis. The document will be distributed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-22, 2013.

BG and the Global Forest Coalition Expand Biodiversity Laws in Joint Paper 10/28/13

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition expand biodiversity laws on their joint paper: Industrial Agriculture, Livestock Farming, and Climate Change: Global Social, Cultural, Ecological, and Ethical Impacts of an Unsustainable Industry.

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The Global Climate Crisis & Animal Agriculture: Doha and Beyond

December 7, 2012 12:00pm
COP18

COP out?

[Note: this blog was published originally on the Huffington Post.]

Delegates from the world's governments, and a range of scientists, advisers, and advocates have gathered in Doha, Qatar for the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As the conference enters its final days, they'll be working to hammer out a deal that paves the way for a new global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Most of negotiators at COP18 are looking at fossil fuels and energy inefficiency as the main culprits in the Earth's warming and the cause of more frequent droughts, floods, and intensifying and unpredictable weather events (like Superstorm Sandy). Unfortunately, there's been almost no attention to the negative effects of the industrial food system -- and particularly intensive animal agriculture -- on the global climate.

Talks on reaching a deal to address agriculture within the COP process broke down in Doha, with developing and industrialized countries splintered over mitigation (reducing GHGs) and adaptation (dealing with the very real negative effects of climate change on farming and food production). That's a real shame, since the costs of continuing business as usual are staggeringly high.

The animal agriculture sector, which raised more than 70 billion land animals in 2010, is one of the largest contributors to GHG emissions worldwide, responsible for at least an estimated 18 percent of human-induced emissions. These emissions are projected to grow 39 percent by 2050.

Industrial systems of animal agriculture like factory farms and feedlots, pioneered in the U.S., are now spreading around the world. Approximately two-thirds of the world's poultry meat and eggs, and more than half of all pork, are now produced in industrial systems, and consumption of animal-based foods is rising, particularly in developing countries.

Brighter Green, a public policy action tank, along with Humane Society International (HSI) and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), which work globally to advance animal welfare, were in Doha to shed light on these realities, and to argue that establishing a food-secure, sustainable, and welfare-friendly future requires immediate changes in farm animal production as well as consumption patterns.

Climate change poses significant threats to ecosystems and biodiversity as well as human health, especially in low-income nations. Practically every stage of meat, egg, and dairy production exacerbates these problems, and holistic solutions are essential. Our policy recommendations include:

  • A COP decision on agriculture that would lead to a broad-based work plan focused on policies and finance that improve food security and long-term sustainability, enhance the ability of farmers and farming systems to adapt to climate change, mitigate emissions, and improve animal welfare. In addition, any successor agreement(s) to the Kyoto Protocol (which expires at the end of 2012) must include agriculture and address the drivers of agricultural emissions.


  • Governments at all levels (national, regional, and local) should include humane solutions for farm animal production when designing climate change mitigation and adaptation plans. Although climate change is a global problem requiring global solutions, national and sub-national solutions are also needed. Such solutions should address agriculture in an equitable manner that promotes resilient landscapes, food security, animal welfare, and the ability to adapt to climate change.


  • Governments and civil society should seek to raise awareness and adopt policies on the health, climate, and environmental benefits of reducing meat, egg, and milk consumption, particularly in developed nations and amongst higher income urban consumers in mid-income nations. A shift toward plant-based diets will reduce GHG emissions. Leading public health and nutrition experts have confirmed that such a shift can be achieved without compromising nutrition and that a reduction in the consumption of animal products will likely lead to health benefits, as well as other environmental benefits.


The UNFCCC will revisit the issue of agriculture again in Bonn, Germany, in June 2013, and COP19 will convene in Poland next November. But climate change, and animal agriculture's role in exacerbating it, won't wait for another unresolved meeting. We need substantive discussion and action at all levels of government and within civil society to kick-start the recommendations enumerated above. Addressing climate change, enhancing food security, improving the welfare of animals, and ensuring equity and sustainability, require nothing less.