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July 22, 2014
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Two new studies looking at the beef industry show that it might be better for the environment to try white meat instead.

A study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that in the United States, it takes 28 times as much land and 11 times as much water to raise cattle for beef than it does equivalent portions of pork and poultry. A cattle farm also produces at least five times as much gas into the atmosphere. "For people, the obvious answer is: whenever possible, replace beef with something else," Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist and lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times. "If you really need it to be from animal sources, that's still OK.... As long as it's not beef, you have always made a significant step forward, because beef is so much more intensive than the rest."

The beef industry disagrees. "The fact is the U.S. beef industry produces beef with lower greenhouse gas emissions than any other country," Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said in a statement. That is true, according to a second study released Monday in the journal Climatic Change: Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock in developed countries (including the U.S.) have decreased 23 percent since 1970. Globally, however, those emissions have increased 51 percent, and have more than doubled in developing countries.

This study looked at livestock in 237 countries, and estimated that beef cattle produced more than 50 percent of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Dairy cattle came in second, with 17 percent; sheep ranked third, with 9 percent; and buffalo were in fourth place, with 7 percent. Pigs only accounted for 5 percent, and goats, 4 percent. The largest increases were in the Congo, Oman, and the Central African Republic. "More and more of the developing world is adopting the bad habits of the developed world," Ken Caldeira, ecologist and co-author of the study, told the Times. Catherine Garcia

10:49 p.m. ET
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After formally accepting the Democratic Party's vice presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) made the case for why he trusts Hillary Clinton. "First, she's consistent," Kaine said, addressing the convention for the first. "She battled to put kids and families first since she was a teenager."

Kaine doubled down on that point, saying he would trust Clinton with the life of his son, who was just deployed overseas as a Marine. "You know who I don't trust? I wonder," Kaine said, before doing a quick imitation of Donald Trump:

While Clinton has a passion for "kids and families," Kaine said, Trump only has a passion for "himself." "Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth," he said. "Not one word." Becca Stanek

10:03 p.m. ET
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Former New York City Mayor and Independent Michael Bloomberg appealed to Republicans and centrists to back Hillary Clinton in his speech Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention. "Whatever our disagreements may be, we must put them aside for the good of our country," Bloomberg said, calling Clinton "the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue."

While Bloomberg said he, too, knows "what it's like to have neither party represent my views or values" and certainly didn't shy away from acknowledging his disagreements with Clinton, he said what is most important is electing a "sane, competent person."

"Join with me not out of party loyalty but out of love of country," Bloomberg said. "Your votes matter now." Becca Stanek

10:00 p.m. ET
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Vice President Joe Biden is confident that the United States is on the right path, but the "threats are too great" and the "times are too uncertain" for Donald Trump to ever come close to the Oval Office.

"His cynicism is unbounded and his lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in a phrase I suspect he is most proud of making famous: 'You're fired,'" Biden said. "He's trying to tell us he cares about the middle class? Give me a break, that's a bunch of malarky!" Trump "doesn't have a clue about the middle class," Biden continued. "He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually, he has no clue, period." The audience, thrilled by Biden's words, began to chant, "Not a clue! Not a clue!"

Biden was just getting warmed up. "No major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security," he said. "We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists, who has no plan whatsoever to make us safer. A man who embraces the tactics of our enemies: Torture, religious intolerance."

It wasn't all doom and gloom. Biden began his speech by calling Obama "one of the finest presidents we've ever had," and received a standing ovation when he mentioned his late son, Beau Biden, who died from cancer in 2015. He shared details about his personal relationship with Hillary Clinton, and what having a woman president would mean for his daughter and granddaughters. Biden ended his speech on a rah-rah note, saying that it's "never been a good bet to bet against America" and the country can get through anything. "We endure, we overcome, and we always move forward. That why I can say with absolute conviction I am more optimistic about our chances today than when I was a 29-year-old kid in the Senate. The 21st century is going to be the American century, because we lead not only by example of our power but by the power of our example. … God willing, Hillary will write the next chapter of our journey." Catherine Garcia

9:52 p.m. ET
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In a speech Wednesday before the Democratic National Convention, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly insinuated that Democrats have some bad ideas, saying "I don't believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership...I look at the candidate, not the party label."

The idea, presumably, is to get some crossover support from Republicans disgusted by Donald Trump. But Bloomberg is a questionable choice for this role. A recent poll — ironically conducted by Bloomberg, his own publication — found a mere 9 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the former mayor. Democrats were only slightly better disposed, with a 17 percent favorable view. Ouch. Ryan Cooper

9:32 p.m. ET
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Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta fought through chants from protesters to take down Donald Trump in his Wednesday night address to the Democratic National Convention. As the crowd chanted "No more war," Panetta made the case for why — especially now, as America "faces flashpoints and threats from around the globe" — Trump cannot become the next commander-in-chief. "In an unstable world, we cannot afford unstable leadership," Panetta said, pointing out that Trump "says he gets his foreign policy experience from watching TV and running the Miss Universe Pageant."

Panetta also tore into Trump for taking "Russia's side" Wednesday amid the Democratic National Committee email hack investigation by asking the country to hack into Hillary Clinton's email and, essentially, "interfere in American politics." "It is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible," Panetta said.

Catch a moment of the speech below. Becca Stanek

9:22 p.m. ET
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During a Democratic convention address by former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Wednesday, delegates interrupted him several times with chants of "no more war!" He appeared confused and uncertain how to respond, and ended up pausing his speech for a moment. A second chant of "lies, lies!" started up slightly later, which was drowned out by a counter-chant of "USA, USA!"

Panetta is a longstanding fixture of the Washington foreign policy establishment, and his speech focused on how Donald Trump's bizarre antics make him a questionable choice to become president. But he's also hawkish on the military, and his speech also argued that America should not "withdraw from the world." That is usually code for continued police actions and drone strikes around the globe, and predictably riled up the antiwar faction in the party. Ryan Cooper

9:15 p.m. ET

A lot has changed since 2012 — four years after he ran against President Obama, Mitt Romney received cheers at the Democratic National Convention.

Romney appeared in a video that featured prominent Republicans and conservatives commenting on their opposition to Trump. He wasn't the only one to get applause — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki were also well-received. After the video played, John Hutson, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general, came onstage, and announced, "Unlike Donald Trump, there are two things that I know an awful lot about: Law and order." He called Trump out for "endorsing torture at a minimum" and inviting Russia to hack a U.S. entity. "It's embarrassing enough that he's the face of one of our political parties," Hutson said. "The real disaster would be if we let Donald Trump become the face of the country we love."

Hutson urged people to listen to the more than 120 Republican national security leaders who have warned that Trump would "make America less safe," and brought up Trump's comments on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). "I served in the same Navy as John McCain," he said. "I used to vote in the same party as John McCain. Donald, you're not fit to polish John McCain's boots." The room erupted in more unlikely cheers, this time not for McCain the Republican, but McCain the war hero. Catherine Garcia

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