Field of Science

Climate change - Something to beef about

Many people who deny climate change don't want to pay the cost of doing anything about it, but there will be other costs.  My colleague over at the Wild Plants Post explains the ecology of grasslands at elevated temperatures and the consequences for large grazers.  It's a pretty simple equation: heat causes grasslands to lose nitrogen, the food quality of the grassland vegetation drops, so grazers get less nutrition and grow smaller.  This may not mean much to a natural ecosystem, but if the grazers happen to be beef cattle and they take longer to gain weight or just simply grow to a smaller size, well, now you got something to beef about.  The cost to the beef industry will be huge.

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