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posted by n1 on Tuesday May 06 2014, @12:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the but-not-hot-sauce-resistant dept.

Evan Halper writes in the LA Times that with efforts to reduce carbon emissions lagging, researchers, backed by millions of dollars from the federal government, are looking for ways to protect key industries from the impact of climate change by racing to develop new breeds of farm animals that can stand up to the hazards of global warming. "We are dealing with the challenge of difficult weather conditions at the same time we have to massively increase food production" to accommodate larger populations and a growing demand for meat, says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. For example a team of researchers is trying to map the genetic code of bizarre-looking African naked-neck chickens to see if their ability to withstand heat can be bred into flocks of US broilers. "The game is changing since the climate is changing," says Carl Schmidt. "We have to start now to anticipate what changes we have to make in order to feed 9 billion people," citing global-population estimates for 2050.

Warmer temperatures can create huge problems for animals farmed for food. Turkeys are vulnerable to a condition that makes their breast meat mushy and unappetizing. Disease rips through chicken coops. Brutal weather can claim entire cattle herds. Some climate experts, however, question the federal government's emphasis on keeping pace with a projected growing global appetite for meat. Because raising animals demands so many resources, the only viable way to hit global targets for greenhouse gas reduction may be to encourage people to eat less meat and point to an approach backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates that takes animals out the process altogether. "There's no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people," says Bill Gates. "Yet we can't ask everyone to become vegetarians. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources."
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:21PM (#40132)

    So what is wrong with just having nature make the change?
    Not fast enough?

    Watch a movie called, "We feed the world".
    www.we-feed-the-world.at/en/film.htm

    We already have chickens in perfectly controlled temperature conditions.
    It's the Matrix for chickens and they never see the light of day from egg to table.

    So we don't need this technology, BUT if you can make a chicken we can spray on a stick then we have something useful.

    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:20AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:20AM (#40413) Homepage

      ... and that's what this is about. Scare people into believing livestock cannot survive a degree or two of 'climate change' and you fuel the 'livestock is cruel' meme in the minds of the uninformed public.

      Funny how domestic livestock are found in an even wider range of climates than their nearest relatives in the wild, and do better under a wider range of conditions... care to guess why? Because one of the best traits livestock can have is adaptability, so you don't lose your herd the first time you have a really harsh winter or a really hot summer. Livestock producers have selected for this since time immemorial.

      Chickens are particularly adaptable, and can thrive anywhere in the range from -20F to +110F... even varieties that haven't been selected for some particular range of temperature tolerance. (When it gets below -20F or above +110F, and they're on their own, they finally decide it's time to spend the day in the barn.)

      And if producers are dim enough to buy into this -- if you skew herds and flocks toward varieties that are primarily heat-adapted, well, those same critters can't deal with the hard winters that are more the norm in livestock-producing areas. If everyone bought into these varieties, voila, first hard winter and you're rid of those pesky livestock producers.

      [quoting myself from That Other Site, because I'm too lazy to reconstruct it, plus a few thoughts I've had since]

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Nerdfest on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:29PM

    by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:29PM (#40135)

    I think making the chickens resistant to heat would end up wasting energy ... it would make it a lot harder to cook them :)

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Buck Feta on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:14PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:14PM (#40151) Journal

      > it would make it a lot harder to cook them

      Sure, but you could have hard-boiled eggs straight from the... uh... never mind.

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Konomi on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:39PM

    by Konomi (189) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:39PM (#40138)

    That sure addresses the issue good work! Though I have another suggestion. How about we stop warming up the planet in the first place! First space ship that can get me out of here I am so on it, the stupidity it burns.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday May 06 2014, @03:27PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 06 2014, @03:27PM (#40185) Journal

      Impossible unless you want to make money illegal and roll the tanks like the crazy Austrian did back in the late 30s. the reason why should be obvious as there will ALWAYS be a poor country that is willing to sell away their environment in return for a buck and there will be the so called "free trade" supporters willing to export misery to that country. Look at what is happening to China right now, 30% of farmland poisoned? People having a fit and government starting to crack down on polluters? Just move to Malaysia or Vietnam! Look in your dollar stores at the small plastic items and see where it comes from, you'll see the move is already in progress and within the decade all those cheapo toys and other low tech junk will have all moved there and if they refuse to clean up they'll have the electronics in 20.

      the ONLY WAY to stop global warming is to take over the planet, banning the ability to simply move the pollution around, and while you are at it you'll probably have to pull a Stalin and kill a good chunk of the 1% because otherwise they will use the wealth they accumulated to bribe themselves a right to pollute. This is why stupid ideas like crap and trade won't work, because as long as you have free trade I have ZERO reason to stay in a country that won't let me pollute and several billion reasons why i should go to a country that can. Have you seen ANY penalty for all those companies that USED to be in the USA and which are now cranking their electronics out in china and dumping the waste in the river and letting the smokestacks bellow garbage to the heavens? I rest my case.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 1, Troll) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:31PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:31PM (#40237)

        > there will be the so called "free trade" supporters willing to export misery to that country

        So, your contention is that emulating hitler on a world wide basis is possible, but over-ruling the "free trade" supporters in the handful of countries that buy the majority of exports is not?

        • (Score: 2, Troll) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:16PM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:16PM (#40255) Journal

          Frankly the former is more possible than the latter thanks to the fact you can move trillions in seconds, which means that the wealthy can turn your handful of countries into third world hellholes literally in an afternoon. After all all they have to do is say "there is no more confidence in (insert country)" and start a selling frenzy on their currency, within a few hours the money would be worthless and you'd be in the same place where Zimbabwe is now, with nobody you can trade with and goods that require a wheelbarrow full of money to buy.

          As for emulating Hitler? That really isn't hard, all you need is a cult of personality and a leader that can really pump up the masses. choose an "other" as the enemy, say Mexicans or brown people in general or Arabs or what have you and tell the public "See them? THEY are why things are bad here!" and get the crowd in a lynching mood. Once you have the ball rolling you can then use the momentum to keep it going, see eastern Europe for how that works. Hell I would argue the only reason we haven't already had a WWIII is the nuke and since there is only a handful of countries with nukes it really wouldn't be hard to carve up the planet between them. Imagine if you got the Russians, Chinese, and Americans together as your new Axis powers? It wouldn't be hard, I'm sure Putin would like the old USSR back, China can have NK, Taiwan, and Africa for "living space" and the USA can have the Americas and a good chunk of the Pacific. Can you imagine the US,Russian, and Chinese military joined together? I have a hard time seeing as how anybody would be able to stand up to that, and you can use AGW as the cause to make the whole thing just.

          --
          ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
          • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:03AM

            by sjames (2882) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:03AM (#40409) Journal

            Then overrule the free trade freaks with extreme prejudice. Once the first few go, the rest will get the message.

          • (Score: 1) by jelizondo on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:38AM

            by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:38AM (#40416) Journal

            Hello hairyfeet.

            You been modded troll and I don't have points to undo the moderation, so I'm posting this message instead, to tell you your scenario is far for being far-fetched; a bit incredible, yes; totally out of your mind, no.

            Indeed, we know for sure that only international confidence on the U.S. Dollar has kept the government from collapsing but past performance is not indicative of future performance, as they write in the prospectus. So anyday, we might find the dollar worthless just because Russia [bloomberg.com] maybe China moved a few billion dollars around.

            From a man in the street perspective, Russia, China and the U.S. are unlikely allies, but then their elites are more similar to each other than we are, individually, to the elites.

            Also, Germany, Japan and Italy (throw in Franco's Spain too!) we unlikely allies and see where that got us!

            • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday May 07 2014, @08:15AM

              by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 07 2014, @08:15AM (#40453) Journal

              I'm being modded down by the FOSSie faction because I dared to post The Hairyfeet Challenge when they started throwing around their anecdotes, its no different than Slashdot where I'd be modded down on several topics, no matter what I said, if I dared point out that a FOSSie's bullshit and anecdotes were just that.

              As for my frankly not that unreal scenario? lets see...what do those 3 countries have in common? A hell of a lot more than the Axis of WWII that is for sure and they stayed together until the end. All three have fascist leanings, all three have nukes, all three have extremely powerful military industries, all three have a history of empire, have a history of making friends of opportunity (hell they were allies in WWII and they couldn't have been more different then), honestly if all three countries had their lifestyle threatened I could easily see them making a backroom deal. As for the bankers? Unless you could manage to catch them all in a room and execute them it would take them only a few hours to completely shit all over the economy. Hell they nearly cratered the US economy in 07 and I would argue all we did was delay the inevitable [youtube.com] because they have gotten the governments of the world to put SOOOO much of the money into their wall street gambles that it WILL collapse. Of course they will have cashed out and slinked off, probably figuring a way to bleed a few more pieces of silver out before they bail, but it WILL fall. Look at the graph at around 3.30 mark, see how much money was in the market when the 29 crash hit? About 125% of th USA GDP...now? Its at 435%! and climbing.

              So don't feel bad for me, I'll call them the way I see 'em, karma be damned, and I have a feeling when that bubble bursts we'll see who ends up being friends with whom.

              --
              ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:15PM (#40208)

      stop having babies. solves all of the problems.

      • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:04PM

        by davester666 (155) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:04PM (#40229)

        So, you are blaming chicks for the problems of the world?

        I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter!

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:58PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:58PM (#40226)

      You can get on if you want, but the first ship to leave is Ark B.

    • (Score: 2) by khallow on Tuesday May 06 2014, @09:50PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 06 2014, @09:50PM (#40356) Journal

      How about we stop warming up the planet in the first place!

      Because a frozen planet is so much better, amirite?

      More seriously, you are suffering from the over-optimization problem. As Hairyfeet noted, the easiest solution to global warming is killing off most people. If you keep those billions of people around, then you need to consider their priorities as well, many which make global warming somewhat worse. China isn't going to stop being the major current contributor to growth in CO2 atmospheric concentration just because.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Horse With Stripes on Tuesday May 06 2014, @10:07PM

        by Horse With Stripes (577) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @10:07PM (#40360)

        Because a frozen planet is so much better, amirite?

        So it's one or the other? It seems to me that the planet was a good temperature before we started fucking it up. And if we start freezing we can just burn the bodies of the other people that some seem to advocate killing en mass.

        More seriously, you are suffering from the over-optimization problem. As Hairyfeet noted, the easiest solution to global warming is killing off most people.

        Hairyfeet didn't mention that killing off most people is what global warming will do on its own. We are just fleas on the back Mother Nature's dog named Earth.

        If you keep those billions of people around, then you need to consider their priorities as well, many which make global warming somewhat worse. China isn't going to stop being the major current contributor to growth in CO2 atmospheric concentration just because.

        We will need to consider other people ... kind of like we expect others to consider us. And China already has such a serious pollution problem that they will have to do something within the next decade or so, unless they want their workforce to start consuming healthcare at record levels and dying off in their 40's and 50's. Their economy will collapse under the weight of caring for the seriously ill.

        Affecting the environment (for good or bad) is like stopping a tanker. It takes a long time for things to happen and you just need to keep hoping it eventually does what you need it to do. Doing nothing doesn't seem to be much of an option. Either curtail the activities that are destroying the environment or go full steam ahead and prove the alarmists right or wrong. Sitting back as spectators is kind of like being on the Titanic and waiting to get wet before you believe that there is a problem.

        • (Score: 2) by khallow on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:43AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:43AM (#40398) Journal

          So it's one or the other?

          The phrase you seek is "reductio ad absurdum" - reduction to absurdity. If warming is bad, then what isn't? A frozen planet.

          And China already has such a serious pollution problem that they will have to do something within the next decade or so, unless they want their workforce to start consuming healthcare at record levels and dying off in their 40's and 50's. Their economy will collapse under the weight of caring for the seriously ill.

          Like every civilization on Earth prior to 1950 collapsed due to the health care burden? The kind of health care problems that historical societies had were when lots of their people ended up suddenly dead, say from the Black Death or a Mongol horde. I think China can avoid that.

          Doing nothing doesn't seem to be much of an option.

          To the contrary, it's quite a viable and attractive option. It's not like global warming is the only thing we do or think about. So when we're doing nothing about global warming, we can be doing lots of other, high value stuff in its place.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bradley13 on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:57PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 06 2014, @01:57PM (#40142) Homepage Journal

    Follow the money: We have here various university labs looking for funding. They stuck "climate change" in the article title to get some free press. From TFA: "we are dealing with the challenge of difficult weather conditions at the same time we have to massively increase food production" Let's take that apart:

    1. There is no need to increase food production. On a planetary scale, we have plenty of food - starvation is caused by distribution problems.

    2. "Difficult weather conditions": Whether or not you believe in AGW, incidents of severe weather are currently flat or decreasing globally: hurricanes are down, tornadoes are down, etc.

    What they are really doing is breeding specialty livestock. You know, like the turkeys that can no longer stand up properly, because they are all breast muscle. Very efficient meat producers, just not very humane.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:32PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:32PM (#40157)

      There is some use for specialty livestock, in that historically we've always pushed cattle to garbage land thats unsuitable for anything else (historically as in pre-1900s or so). So the semi-arid deserts of TX are, and should always be, full of cattle. Pretty much if cattle and buffalo live there, you probably don't want to live there because its garbage land.

      Now economic pressures, blah blah, and temporarily you can drain the aquifers for a few decades, blah blah, so you get people living in Las Vegas (seriously, WTF?) and cattle living nearby people (WTF?) but in the long run the sustainable pix is cattle living on large amounts of basically unlivable unfarmable land... as long as they've got water and it doesn't get too hot...

      However there's land so awful even cattle can't live there, at least now. And poultry are even wimpier. So the idea of making death valley a paradise for bison or maybe even chickens is not entirely crazy. Someday Texas might be too warm for existing cattle, would be nice to have a breed ready to deploy at that time.

      If I've written it one time I've written it a million times that coasties don't understand climate because of diurnal wind and ocean currents, they just can't internalize non-coastie climate. Away from the coasts you measure warming in miles. So over a lifetime I've basically moved about 10 miles south. It matters, sorta, just not as much as real problems. I'd worry much more about killing every commercial fishing stock in the ocean, or poisoning the oceans, or the upcoming inevitable conversion away from crude oil and aquifer based industrial farming, or killing all the pollination bees. There are bigger fish to fry and climate change simply doesn't matter compared to them. Its a distractor from the real issues. Then you start asking yourself why a meaningless irrelevant distractor is being pushed so heavily and all discussion of real problems is being avoided...

      For example the day the last Cod is pulled from the ocean is going to kill a lot more people than 1 degree C. Or the day the last AN fertilizer or K plant shuts down for lack of feedstock in about 20 years is going to kill a heck of a lot of people. How about the first non-insect pollinator harvest, that winter a lot will starve. The Ogwalla aquifer is about empty now, and when its totally drained, very few will die of dehydration, but when the farms turn to dust, oh, they'll starve that winter, all right, thats for sure. "Well, the beach is one degree warmer this year" isn't going to make the news when they're busy covering the food riots...

      • (Score: 1) by Yates on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:42AM

        by Yates (3947) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:42AM (#40397)

        "historically we've always pushed cattle to garbage land thats unsuitable for anything else (historically as in pre-1900s or so)." ... "Pretty much if cattle and buffalo live there, you probably don't want to live there because its garbage land."

        Ummm... I don't think so. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Ranch [wikipedia.org]

        "Parker Ranch is a working cattle ranch on the Island of Hawaii" ... "The ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States" ... "Spreading across approximately 250,000 acres (100,000 ha) of the island"

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 07 2014, @02:25PM

          by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @02:25PM (#40539) Homepage

          You do realize that a great deal of Hawaii is rocky land with shallow soil? it gets enough rain that it gets lots of growth anyway, but it's not suitable for cultivation. Crops make considerably more money per acre; no one runs livestock if they have the choice of crops.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:31AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @03:31AM (#40414) Homepage

        One degree C is not even a blip for most domestic livestock. They won't even notice. We've selected for adaptability with regard to climate for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, because following the herds as they seasonally migrate is just not practical if you have much of a stationary civilization. So livestock have to tolerate a wider range than do their wild counterparts, since they don't get to follow their ideal temperature as it moves with the seasons.

        The only domestic animal that really has a problem with heat are pigs, and most pork is grown under climate-controlled conditions already, precisely for this reason. Otherwise you've gotta provide wallows (or the pigs will destroy the facility to make their own), cuz pigs don't handle temps above about 70F very well. A few degrees more or less isn't going to change this.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:46PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:46PM (#40525)

          I thought a pretty hard core belief of the global warming crowd was higher average T means wilder weather in general resulting in increased variability. So TX would experience both a week of delta T of -10 C (no big deal, starting to sound like a civilized climate) and a delta T of +11 C (whoops everythings now dead), although the annual average is only net +1 C higher.

          Also in the really bad border areas, much like the treeline on mountains, there's kind of a "shall not pass" line in the sand, and 1C warmer might mean quite a few square miles of a continent are now on the other side of the "shall not pass" line in the sand... so it would be highly economically profitable to grow some neo-steers or whatever in that newly unusable land. Otherwise that land is utterly useless.

          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 07 2014, @02:20PM

            by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @02:20PM (#40537) Homepage

            That must explain why we've had only a fraction as many hurricanes as usual, these past 15 years or so. ;)

            Yep, I think if someone were to actually map it out, rather than just make wildassed predictions, we might find that 1C suffices to give us significantly more net usable land. As to the problem of "tundra is just frozen bog" ... one reason it's bog is that it never gets a chance to dry out, cuz it spends 10 months a year locked up solid.

            (Tho we're on our way to it this year... it still hasn't stopped snowing here pretty regularly down to about 4500 feet, and we got it again today. I've never seen it that way, not even in the bad winters of the 1960s and 70s. The guys clearing Beartooth said it's way over normal up there too.)

          • (Score: 1) by Hawkwind on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:01AM

            by Hawkwind (3531) on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:01AM (#40743)
            Just came across Lloyd's of London taking this position. "Lloyd's says damage and weather-related losses around the world have increased from an annual average of $50bn in the 1980s to close to $200bn over the last 10 years." http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/08/ll oyds-insurer-account-climate-change-extreme-weathe r-losses [theguardian.com]
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:59PM (#40247)

      incidents of severe weather are currently flat or decreasing globally

      [citation needed]

    • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Friday May 09 2014, @09:45AM

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 09 2014, @09:45AM (#41179) Homepage Journal

      My comment that I am replying to has been moderated Insightful, Interesting, Flamebait, Troll, and at the moment still has a score of 4. What I find odd is the (usual, continuing) willingness of people to use the Flamebait/Troll moderation to down-vote comments that they personally disagree with.

      I didn't even really intend the comment to be particularly controversial. I was just stating facts, perhaps not well-known, but easy enough to verify with a simple query to a search engine. So what upset people so?

      - Was it the bit about starvation being cause by distrubution problems [nytimes.com]?

      - Was it the bit about major hurricanes decreasing [forbes.com]?

      I am at least reassured that the down-modders were in the minority. Apparently most people found the post interesting enough to mod-up, whether or not they personally approved of the content...

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.