On April 15, 2011 the EPA released its inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks for the period of 1990 - 2009. Within the inventory you'll find statistics for both the problems and the benefits that livestock agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas and its effect on climate change. Up front it's important to recognize that livestock agriculture is a relatively small contributor especially with regard to CO2. This is illustrated in the following from the executive summary. Clearly we as consumers have a stronger role in reducing greenhouse gases.
“As the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 from fossil fuel combustion has accounted for approximately 78 percent of GWP-weighted emissions since 1990, growing slowly from 77 percent of total GWP weighted emissions in 1990 to 79 percent in 2009.
Emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion increased at an average annual rate of 0.4 percent from 1990 to 2009. The fundamental factors influencing this trend include (1) a generally growing domestic economy over the last 20 years, and (2) overall growth in emissions from electricity generation and transportation activities. Between 1990 and 2009, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased from 4,738.4 Tg CO2 Eq. to 5,209.0 Tg CO2 Eq.—a 9.9 percent total increase over the twenty-year period.
From 2008 to 2009, these emissions decreased by 356.9 Tg CO2 Eq. (6.4 percent), the largest decrease in any year over the twenty-year period. Historically, changes in emissions from fossil fuel combustion have been the dominant factor affecting U.S. emission trends. Changes in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion are influenced by many long-term and short-term factors, including population and economic growth, energy price fluctuations, technological changes, and seasonal temperatures.
In the short term, the overall consumption of fossil fuels in the United States fluctuates primarily in response to changes in general economic conditions, energy prices, weather, and the availability of nonfossil alternatives. For example, in a year with increased consumption of goods and services, low fuel prices, severe summer and winter weather conditions, nuclear plant closures, and lower precipitation feeding hydroelectric dams, there would likely be proportionally greater fossil fuel consumption than a year with poor economic performance, high fuel prices, mild temperatures, and increased output from nuclear and hydroelectric plants.
In the long term, energy consumption patterns respond to changes that affect the scale of consumption (e.g., population, number of cars, and size of houses), the efficiency with which energy is used in equipment (e.g., cars, power plants, steel mills, and light bulbs) and behavioral choices (e.g., walking, bicycling, or telecommuting to work instead of driving).”
A great YouTube video map on US CO2 is also worth a watch. See it at http://youtu.be/eJpj8UUMTaI. It was uploaded by Purdue University.
The Cow-Calf Management Guide & Cattle Producer’s Guide (aka the Yellow Book) is now available on-line in Adobe Acrobat format for individual topic reading or download. It is posted at the Colorado State website found at: http://www.csubeef.com/component/option,com_file_index/Itemid,80/
As a reminder or for those who are unfamiliar with the Yellow Book, the information was prepared by a committee of extension animal scientists in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The manual is a joint publication of the Cooperative Extension System in these states.
Also, about one-half of the book is now translated into Spanish and is for sale (as is the English full version) at: http://www.avs.uidaho.edu/wbrc/.
Cow-Calf Management Guide cover
TUVU is the scientific acronym for Turkey Vulture. Remember the tree from the last post? Well, that tree has been a successful Turkey Vulture nest in years' past, but look who is living in the tree now. Several photos captured this raccoon leaving (at dusk) and entering the tree (at dawn) which tells us that this critter is using the tree for daytime sleeping. TUVUs have actually looked into this tree cavity this year, so will they attempt to nest there?
We have four trail cameras set up on Turkey Vulture nest sites in an attempt to gather data on the activity of the adult birds. So far all four sites have been visited by adult vultures. Unknown to many folks is the importance to old decadent hollow oak trees to provide nest cavities for these birds. The photo shows one of the trees and the camera set on a post.
I visited a couple of almond orchard trials this week and thought I'd share a few photos.First, I ran across a weed that I haven't encountered before - alkali mallow (Malvella leprosa). This weed is also known as: alkali sida, creeping mallow, dollar...