The ‘Moo’ problem

In the fight to save the environment and control emissions has brought farm animals into focus, in the UK they account for 7-10% of all methane emissions. Methane is 23 times more damaging to the environment than C02. So what is to be done? David Milliband has warned the agreicutural sector it may face heavy fines unless it reduces emissions. A major source is dairy cows, each one producing 500 litres of methane a day, are we prepared to drop our consumption of dairy products to save the earth? The type of grass has an effect with local farming practice already along the best lines and new supplements are being tested such as fish oil and other natural additives but an initiative in New Zealand raised the question, who should pay for the research and if successful the cost of purchasing the feed?

  • bootman

    Really just a distraction from the real problems of industrial society as currently structured being unsustainable. Cows have always been around after all.

  • Yokel

    When’s the peak time for cows to produce methane? Is it a regular 24/7, is it more in morning or afternoons?

  • Sammy Morse

    So cow farts are vastly larger contributors to greenhouse gas emissions than cheap flights? But then as cows don’t take chavs to Prague for a weekend on the liquor I don’t suppose the green lobby and the Independent will be making too much of this one any time soon.

    Just shows where the stupidity of taking the greenies at face value on everything ends up.

  • parcifal

    Am more concerned about the “wind” coming from the DUP and SF, and rather than heavy fines being imposed, let’s just sack them if they can’t sort things out.

  • aquifer

    Methane degrades to water and Carbon dioxide over time, so is less of a problem than say, english jetsetters going to Barbados and everywhere else. CO2 accumulating will produce climate change likely to displace millions in africa and asia, and to liberate megatonnes of underground and undersea methane, risking runaway climate change.

  • circles

    Aquifer could you explain that a gain?
    CH4 become CO2 right and CO2 accumulation is a problem right – so why are cow farts (and the decomposition of cow and animal shit) less of a problem? I mean 1 mole of CH4 produce 1 mole of CO2 so its a problem anyway you look at.

    As for cows having always been around – that may be so but never in the numbers we have industrially farmed them as meat and milk machines.

  • BeardyBoy

    I am glad to see that the United States are way ahead and can assert their green credentials to the world – after all they wiped out those perilously flatulent bison herds which filled the prairies and replaced them with maize farms.

    So lay of the US and follow their lead – death to ruminates and let us eat the grass

  • Crataegus

    I don’t suppose the green lobby and the Independent will be making too much of this one

    The problem with that whole group is that it is a many headed hydra.

    Don’t want wind farms. Do want wind farms.
    Want nuclear. Don’t want nuclear.
    Goats are good. Goats are bad.
    Don’t want cows, what else can we grow?
    We should all be vegans. Tell that to the Eskimos.
    We should keep what’s there and preserve. No we should utilise our resources.

    There are on one hand the loony brigade that postulate some pet phobia and on the other people who would like us to reconsider our basic assumptions.

    Another problem is there is too many well paid jobs in lobbying. Environmentalism has become an industry and like all industries quite capable of being self serving.

  • BeardyBoy

    Can anyone prove that the CAUSE of the present bout of climate change is due to mans activities and not normal climatological phenomena?

    If it is not can anyone measure what way our activities are affectingthe latest change?

    Remember monks grew grapes in York and Vikings Wheat in Iceland

    Seems to me in recent (comparatively) times it was even warmer than now

  • Crataegus

    Methane burns wonder if there is a way of collecting it? Fart boxes. Prime cut cooked in its own gas what a delight in our brave new world. Wonder how much methane the average humane produces?


    I think there is fair consensus on that point; most agree there is reason to be concerned. The problem is the interrelationship of various factors is so complex we cannot prove conclusively. Indeed it may be worse than we thing as the pollution is also reducing the amount of direct sunlight hitting the earth and slowing down warming. For myself I think this is one (global warming and energy production not cows) that we really do need to move on. I can’t see too many downsides in getting on with it, even for national security reasons it isn’t clever to be over dependent on imported oil and gas.

  • BeardyBoy

    Yes indeed – look at the stranglehold Russia had Georgia? in – and they soon will have it on the rest of us, not good position to be in whichever way you look at it.

    We need imaginative long term thinking here which means it will not happen in a democracy. Politicians live for now were the votes are. (I agree with Galbraith on this one).

    I think anything we do now is too little too late to affect global warming and we would be better served to take a two prong approach

    1. accept it is coming and we cannot stop it so to survive we have to be prepared and adaopt in terms of the basics, food, water, shelter and the defence of these.

    2. try to develop alternative fuels so we do not rely on others – most of whom are in unstable areas of the world – and learn to use what we have better to cut down waste (as we have been conditioned by capitalism to do) and turn to a more responsible economic model

  • Crataegus

    sorry above
    human not humane; think not thing etc