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Cut global warming by becoming vegetarian


Global warming could be controlled if we all became vegetarians and stopped eating meat. That’s the view of British physicist Alan Calverd, who thinks that giving up pork chops, lamb cutlets and chicken burgers would do more for the environment than burning less oil and gas.

Writing in this month’s Physics World, Calvert calculates that the animals we eat emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. We could therefore slash man-made emissions of carbon dioxide simply by abolishing all livestock. Moreover, there would be no adverse effects to health and it would be an experiment that we could abandon at any stage. "Worldwide reduction of meat production in the pursuit of the targets set in the Kyoto treaty seems to carry fewer political unknowns than cutting our consumption of fossil fuels," he says.

Also in this month’s Physics World:

Universe in crisis as experts question Big Bang model

The widely accepted idea that the universe began with a Big Bang could be wrong, according to astrophysicists who took part in a "Crisis in cosmology" meeting in Portugal and reported in this month’s Physics World magazine.

According to the standard Big Bang theory, the universe began in a hot dense fireball about 13 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since. But despite plenty of evidence to support the theory, not everyone is convinced. Eric Lerner of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, who organized the Portuguese meeting, says that certain properties of the cosmic microwave background - the so-called "echo of the Big Bang" - do not match predictions from the theory. Others are unhappy that cosmologists have had to introduce weird concepts like dark matter and dark energy to explain the universe. Mainstream scientists, however, have hit back, saying that we just need to tweak the Big Bang model and tie up "loose ends".

And articles on:

  • Astronomers unveil plans for extremely large telescopes
  • Europe wins ITER fusion prize
  • France funds exotic nuclei
  • Lean times for new UK particle-physics and astronomy boss
  • Stanford switches to X-rays
  • Robert Laughlin: reinventing physics
  • Exotic meson challenges rules
  • Reading the quantum state of an electron in one go
  • Quarks and gluons get real
  • The solid-state light revolution
  • High-temperature superconductors
  • Physicists and the hunt for black gold

David Reid | EurekAlert!
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