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Production of meat and seafood around the world will double to 1.2 trillion pounds by 2050. Our planet cannot afford to supply the water, fuel, pesticides, and fertilizer that industrialized animal production requires. It can’t afford the polluted water or the biodiversity loss. It can’t afford the moral inconsistencies. And we think it’s unlikely that people will consistently choose plant-based alternatives over chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.

The world needs a solution to these realities. With plants providing nutrients for animal cells to grow, we believe we can produce cultured meat and seafood that is over 10x more efficient than conventional meat production.

All this without confining or slaughtering a single animal and with a fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions and water use. Our approach will be transparent and unquestionably safe, free of antibiotics and have a much lower risk of foodborne illness. The right choice will be obvious. Learn more at goodmeat.co

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From what I know so far, the movement toward lab-grown meat seems worth supporting, and could be a game changer in producing enough protein sustainably to feed the additional 3 billion humans who are on the way , without killing the planet.
But we do need to look at the moral implications of the emerging technology, which goes well beyond “clean” chicken nuggets.

Wall Street Journal:

In three recent scientific milestones you can make out the sharpening contours of our unnatural future.

At the end of last year, Elizabeth Ann, the biological clone of a black-footed ferret who died in 1988, was born at a conservation center in Fort Collins, Colo. Her birth marked a triumph in a decades-long campaign to save her species from extinction. The miracle birth was achieved through a collaboration among the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, San Diego‘s Frozen Zoo and the group Revive & Restore, best known for its efforts to recreate woolly mammoths and passenger pigeons. The cuddliness of this genetic wonder and her fellow Fort Collins ferrets is on display in videos posted by Fish & Wildlife, which has also set up a live “Ferret Cam” to encourage sympathy for “North America’s most endangered (and cutest) mammal.”

The same month, Singapore became the first country to approve the commercial sale of cultured meat—animal cells grown in a laboratory and designed to taste like the genuine article. The first product authorized for sale was a chicken nugget manufactured by the multibillion-dollar San Francisco company Eat Just. In a promotional video, a picnic table of smiling hipsters eat chicken nuggets, while a chicken named Ian struts on the lawn beside them. The nuggets, the video reveals, are made from Ian—cultured from a scrape of his skin cells.

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Washington Post:

One hailstorm is bad enough, but a trio of hailstorms striking three metropolitan areas in one night is almost unheard of. Baseball- to softball-size hail pummeled parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday night, slamming places around Fort Worth, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, including Norman.

The damage will almost certainly exceed $1 billion. Hail has historically been the most costly severe weather hazard in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and Wednesday night’s storms illustrate why.

“It quickly became clear that we were almost certainly facing a billion-dollar event,” wrote Steve Bowen, head of catastrophe insight at Aon Insurance. “Unfortunately, we saw significant hail swaths impact highly exposed areas around San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Norman.”

Talking to. water experts about the developing drought in the US west – which scientists say is part of a larger pattern of “acidification” due to climate change. The current drought is actually a continuation of a pattern, partially natural, exacerbated by human emissions, that has deepened since the beginning of this century, and is the most intense drying in California (measured in tree rings)in as long as 1200 years.

Below, from my interview with Loretta Mickley of Harvard, noting the health impacts of massive smoke events like we saw last year.

If you missed Joe Biden’s speech last night, on the occasion of his 100th day in office – it was cogent, urgent, ambitious, and possibly historic, if the vision for climate action translates to action.

Above, remarks specific to climate, but climate as a theme was woven throughout the address – below, as part of the infrastructure plans to update the aging power grid.

below. CBS insta-poll of speech watchers..

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Black farmers have been driven off the land for a century. Now some are trying to reverse the process, with a climate focus.

Can we dare to dream big again in America?

Dare we not?
New video I’m working on will ponder these themes.
Meantime, really good graphic piece above from Business Insider.

Above, Secretary Granholm introduces some of the key players in rolling out energy innovation, in particular, Jigar Shah, who is now head of the DOE’s Loan program.

Having met Jigan once, I can understand why people are excited about him taking the helm of the Loan program. No one understands the big picture, and all the players, better than Jigar.

This morning,

Washington Post:

THE SENATE votes Wednesday on what sounds like an arcane regulatory question. In fact, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) argued Tuesday, “This is the most important climate vote that the Senate has had, maybe ever.”

The question indeed sounds technical: whether to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse a Trump administration rollback of Environmental Protection Agency rules on methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. But the vote will be an early indication of Congress’s seriousness about addressing global warming — and, by the same token, the depth of irrational opposition to action. A positive result would show the world that the United States has returned to sanity on one of the most pressing issues requiring global action. A negative vote — or passage by only a slim majority — would send a less encouraging signal.

The Obama administration developed rules to deal with methane, which is the primary component of natural gas. When burned, methane produces about half the amount of carbon dioxide as coal, so it can be a useful bridge to a non-carbon future. But if methane wafts into the air uncombusted, it is an extremely potent greenhouse agent on its own. It is shorter-lived than carbon dioxide, but it traps heat about 84 times more efficiently over 20 years. So methane leaks in drilling and transporting natural gas can negate the climate benefits of switching from coal to gas to generate electricity.

Unlike many environmental problems, the answer to this one is easy: require drillers, pipeline companies, storage tank operators and others to minimize methane leaks all along the natural gas supply chain. These companies can sell the gas they save, offsetting the cost of more conscientious maintenance. This logic is so compelling that many oil and gas companies support federal methane regulations.

One of the most irrational moments in President Donald Trump’s anti-environmental frenzy came last August, when his administration moved to cut requirements that natural gas equipment installed after 2015 be inspected every six months and that any leaks be repaired within 30 days of detection. The Senate’s Wednesday vote would halt the Trump rollback using the Congressional Review Act, which provides lawmakers a streamlined process to reverse recent executive branch regulatory decisions.

This afternoon..

Politico:

The Senate on Wednesday voted to reverse the Trump administration’s rollback of a crucial Obama-era climate regulation, delivering a bipartisan victory for President Joe Biden’s lofty goals of curbing heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The 52-42 vote, including three yeas from Republicans, would restore the Obama administration’s 2016 restrictions on the potent greenhouse gas methane. Democrats passed it using a legislative maneuver that allows them to get around the Senate’s filibuster rules — and had unusually robust support from many oil and gas industry companies, which now support direct methane regulations amid mounting international pressure for cleaner production.

So is 52-42 a good enough signal?

Impossible has an IPO coming up.

Jokes about meat-beer aside, this week’s snickering about meat consumption as some kind of third rail issue in the climate discussion might be premature.

There may be a surprise in store, in fact, in a store near you, soon.

Food Dive:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has largely proven — and in some ways accelerated — think tank RethinkX’s 2019 report saying the beef and dairy industries will collapse by 2030, James Arbib, RethinkX’s founder, said at the virtual New Food Invest conference last week.
  • For the most part, Arbib said, the pandemic has brought to light many of the problems with the current animal-based industry. Before meat companies could put precautions in place, COVID-19 outbreaks in meat processing facilities brought attention to the way that meat gets to consumers — and issues with shortages due to shuttered plants showed consumers could find alternatives. Also, he said, the fact that the pandemic began as an animal virus transmitted to humans brought another danger using animals for food to light. 
  • RethinkX is an independent think tank that forecasts the speed of technology-driven disruption. Its Food & Agriculture Report projected demand for cow-associated products would be down 70% by 2030. Beef and dairy companies will be decimated, with revenues down 90%, the report said, but about a quarter of the continental U.S. now dedicated to livestock and feed production will be available for other uses, and greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry would be down 45% in 2030.

While many analysts have predicted a shift away from using animals for food for a wealth of reasons, the RethinkX report seemed a bit shocking when it was first published. It was projecting an entire transformation of the food system in a bit longer than a decade — using technology that at the time was still in the R&D phase.

Consumer preference, financing and advances for alternatives to animal agriculture have moved more in the last year than any previous one. Not only has the pandemic upended food supply chains and traditional meat production, but it’s also had the effect of accelerating growth in plant-based meatplant-based dairy and plant-based cheese. Cell-based meat is not just an idea companies are working on. Regulatory approval in Singapore has made it an actual product, and it can be close to price parity with chicken meat from an animal. Plant-based and fermented substitute companies have grown in both product availability and portfolios, but they’ve also received record-setting investment. A recent analysis from the Good Food Institute found that $3.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins in 2020.

However, the method by which RethinkX says the food system will be run still seems somewhat unlikely in the next nine years. Report authors talk about a “food-as-software” model, in which scientists would engineer food at a molecular level and upload it to databases that are accessible to food designers worldwide. The report states this can geographically spread out food production and high quality food that is not subject to price volatility or threats posed by weather, disease or trade.

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