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Cows are causing global warming!

- Friday, June 12, 2009

Just when the farm sector was hoping that it might be ignored in debates about greenhouse emissions and how to curb them, a columnist in The Australian has highlighted that cows are a major source of greenhouse emissions and need to be included in policies aimed at reducing emissions.

The article makes the claim that  “The global-warming sins of the SUV seem almost mild compared with the malodorous eructations of the average friesian, particularly when one takes into account the deforestation of land, the fuel burned to make fertiliser to grow cattle fodder and the 16,000 litres of water needed to produce 1kg of beef”.

Meanwhile, the US National Academy of sciences has published a report identifying that the routine treatment of dairy cows with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) would result in a major reduction in greenhouse emissions associated with dairy production. An article on the subject can be viewed here.

Graham Faichney commented on 19-Jun-2009 11:24 AM
Livestock methane emissions involve the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and its slow return but fossil methane adds new carbon to the atmosphere so why is the global warming potential of fossil methane applied to both of them? Livestock methane would be calculated to have only half the warming effect of fossil methane if it is recognised as part of the contemporary carbon cycle.

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