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Nov 28

Cows and Global Warming When you hear the word methane you probably think of cow farts, but cow burps are also a big contributer to methane levels in the atmosphere. Methane, however, breaks down after about 12 years, while carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, warming the planet for millennia. Not only is this claim untrue, but eliminating cows, which notoriously produce the greenhouse gas methane, isn’t necessary to address climate change, according to University of Oxford researchers. “Cows are pretty disgusting eaters, with methane coming from both ends,” said Christopher Field at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Cows are causing global warming! However, experts studying the effects of greenhouse gas emissions say it is more important to focus on carbon dioxide emissions rather than methane. Still, governments should not ignore methane emissions in climate policy, as all greenhouse gases warm the planet, Lynch said. In order to graze, cows need grasslands. The longer it takes to reach net-zero CO2 emissions, the more severe these effects will be. To put that into context, each year 558m tons of methane is produced globally, with 188m tons coming from agriculture. However, Lynch’s research shows that, for some purposes, the GWP metric may be misleading. In fact, with cattle numbers decreasing thanks to increased production efficiencies and improved genetics — the US beef herd has shrunk by about a third since 1975, while dairy cattle numbers have fallen from 25m to 9m in 70 years — methane production from livestock is actually decreasing. But cow burps are worse for the climate. Medill Reports. Almost that entire quantity — 548m tons — is broken down through oxidation and absorbed by plants and soils as part of the sink effect. Home » Cows are causing global warming! Fighting Global Warming Requires Changes In How Cows Are Fed Stopping climate change won't just mean a halt to burning coal and gasoline. Cows are ruminants, meaning that microbes in their multichambered stomachs help them digest by fermenting their food. “If we don’t, we’ll never stop the temperature going up.”. “More and more people are asking questions about their food, and farmers can no longer say they don’t want to talk to the media or the public. In the first few decades after it’s emitted, methane causes more warming per kilogram than carbon dioxide does. Livestock’s impact has been hugely overstated, while the major culprit — the use of fossil fuels, particularly for transportation — has largely been allowed to slip under the radar. This process produces … By Grace Rodgers and Carlyn Kranking But while animal agriculture is by no means blameless in the global warming debate, it seems the industry’s impact on the environment is not as significant as critics suggest. “Never have we had smaller flocks and herds than we do today, but we are producing the same amount of meat as we did when we had larger numbers. But because governments have limited will and resources to address the problem, he said it is more important to achieve net zero carbon emissions before cutting methane. Animal agriculture is causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to rise, say critics, and if we’re serious about tackling climate change then we need to cut red meat from our diets and switch cow’s milk for nut juices in our tea. Methane gas produced by bovine flatulence contributes a significant portion of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, according to the United Nations. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause … “There’s a lot of harm in delaying things that address carbon emissions,” said physicist Raymond Pierrehumbert, a professor and statutory chair in the physics department at the University of Oxford. That means that provided no new animals are added to the system, then the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by livestock is actually used by plants during photosynthesis. “Metrics that try and treat the gases in the same way are always going to have limitations,” Lynch said. Farmers are the experts, they need to answer them.”, A version of this article first appeared in Farm Business, Oceans Get Zero-Emission Ship in Step Toward Cleaner Cargo, Let’s Talk About People of Color’s Trauma in the Environmental Sector, 5 Reasons Why it Makes Cents to Shop Secondhand, Why Most Planets Will Either Be Lush or Dead, Threading the Needle: How to Save Nature and Humanity without Sacrificing Either Part II, Wildfires Wreak Havoc on California’s $58 Billion Wine Industry.

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