Really, Bovine Flatulence?
April 25th, 2015
Thank you Wayne Trembly for the suggestion.
When I got the request to blog bovine flatulence of course I thought it was udder bullshit. It is and it isn’t. it’s cow farts and even more so burps. According to AGResearch up to 95% of the greenhouse gases that come from cows come from the cattle’s mouth. Do Cow Farts Actually Contribute to Global Warming? Belching is an integral part of the cows digestive process.
Would you believe as of 2003 all the 1.3 to 1.5 billion heads of cattle we have came from about 80 heads 10,500 years ago. This is a huge factor in the interest of this blog. Obviously the more the cows the more the cow flatulence.
Methane is good old Bessy’s part in all this along with fuel production and organic waste. Below are percentages of the greenhouse gas mixture. Though there is 200 times more carbon dioxide than methane, methane contributes 28% of the global warming that carbon dioxide does because it a more powerful greenhouse gas.
Fuel production and organic waste make up 10% of methane’s global warming leaving 18% to the flatulence of livestock (not to be confused with the 17% of total methane gas in the atmosphere). Cows alone are responsible for 4% of greenhouse gases alone and I believe that to be a very conservative number based on comparative articles. So is that enough to take notice of? It is for some scientist and the United States Government as well as other governments around the world.
The US Government intends to slash an ambitious 25% of methane emissions by 2020. Of course the projection of a new tax or fee is part of the governments solution. EPA’s Air Pollution Target… I don’t see how charging farmers for their cattle will get less emissions unless they intend to take the meat off of the plate and the wool blankys off of the beds of most of the working class. The way I see it the farmers will have to charge more for beef, dairy and other livestock such as sheep and pigs to be able to pay the new flatulence tax. Unless your a vegetarian this is quite the unsavory solution.
95% of the time I think it’s better to turn to science for a remedy than politics and here’s an example of why. Scientist aim to get less flatulence, healthier cattle, and more cost effective diet (quite a bit less money for feed). Cow’s on diets? While scientist are years away from the threefold goal there are some answers for the sooner rather than later. To get a cow to digest grass like a kangaroo with almost no flatulence is a lot of work and a lot of time. Today some German scientist have developed a plant based pill that turns some of the cow’s methane gases into extra milk and British scientist are developing grasses with more sugar. The sugar helps the bovine to process food.
If there’s anything the last century (or last 10,500 years) has taught us, it’s that in a system where one thing is balanced to another a sweeping change will have ripples and they must have containment or breakers or both. I believe we’re up to the challenge. The Human Element‘s presents should actually provide more relief than it currently does. The answer to air pollution could be a matter of recompounding elemental space. HomeKeeperU takes a look at that very idea. Until next week keep your homes well.