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Letter: Tax the carbon, and don’t forget the meat industry

I am delighted that EPA has finally moved to abate the disastrous impacts of climate change by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the agency should have issued parallel regulations on emissions from meat industry operations. 

A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat production accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in World Watch magazine suggested that the contribution may be closer to 50 percent. The meat industry generates carbon dioxide by burning forests to create animal pastures, and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport, and slaughter animals. The much more damaging greenhouse gasses methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

In the meantime, each of us can reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of plant-based lunch meats, hotdogs, veggie burgers and dairy-product alternatives, as well as ample selection of vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes, and transition tips are readily available online.

— Art Doddermyer

Anchorage