Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Methane Greater Greenhouse Gas Concern than Carbon Dioxide

Those concerned about the burning of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions affecting the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect ought to be really concerned about the greenhouse gas methane. I see the future and as developing countries prosper they will want to eat more meat. See the Los Angeles Times October 15, 2007 Editorial Killer cow emissions noting “Livestock are a leading source of greenhouse gases. Why isn't anyone raising a stink?”

■ Methane is a “deadly source of greenhouse gases that contributes more to global warming than the entire world transportation sector”
■ “cows and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats, are walking gas factories that take in fodder and put out methane and nitrous oxide, two greenhouse gases that are far more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Methane, with 21 times the warming potential of CO2”
■ “All told, livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, according to the U.N. -- more than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet”
■ “Annual per-capita meat consumption in developing countries doubled from 31 pounds in 1980 to 62 pounds in 2002, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, which expects global meat production to more than double by 2050”
■ “Cows and other ruminants have four stomachs, the first of which, called the rumen, is where the trouble lies; bacteria in the rumen produce methane”
■ “nitrous oxide … has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, and livestock are its leading anthropogenic (human-caused) source”
■ “Manure lagoons can be covered, capturing gases that can be used to generate power or simply be burned away (burning the gases converts most of the emissions to CO2, which is far less destructive than methane)”
■ “in places like Brazil … forests are rapidly disappearing, to make cattle operations”
■ “Subsidies on crops such as corn and soybeans have traditionally kept the price of meat artificially low because these are key feedstocks”
■ “researchers found, cutting out meat would do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than trading in a gas guzzler for a hybrid car”
■ “The government should not only get out of the business of promoting unhealthful and environmentally destructive foods, it should be actively discouraging them”


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