Bovine flatulence and global warming have at least one thing in common: they’re both full of hot air.
The White House announced plans to curb agricultural methane emissions by 25% by 2020, in addition to curbing other methane sources. According to the White House’s website:
Today, the Administration is releasing another key element called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan – a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The strategy summarizes the sources of methane emissions, commits to new steps to cut emissions of this potent greenhouse gas, and outlines the Administration’s efforts to improve the measurement of these emissions. The strategy builds on progress to date and takes steps to further cut methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, and agriculture, and oil and gas systems through cost-effective voluntary actions and common-sense standards. Key steps include:
- Landfills: In the summer of 2014, the EPA will propose updated standards to reduce methane from new landfills and take public comment on whether to update standards for existing landfills.
- Coal Mines: In April 2014, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to gather public input on the development of a program for the capture and sale, or disposal of waste mine methane on lands leased by the Federal government.
- Agriculture: In June, in partnership with the dairy industry, the USDA, EPA and DOE will jointly release a “Biogas Roadmap” outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
- Oil and Gas: Building on success in reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector through voluntary programs and targeted regulations, the Administration will take new actions to encourage additional cost-effective reductions.
According to the EPA, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions released through animal belching and flatulence account for only about 9% of total greenhouse gases. But they won’t allow even the slightest amount of gas to pass them by.
If they’re so concerned with cattle’s greenhouse gas problem, perhaps the solution is nothing more than green grass. Studies have shown that cows that graze on green pasture grass not only yield more milk than their industrial counterparts, but they also emit about 18% less methane. From Mother Earth News:
Scientists working for Groupe Danone, makers of Dannon yogurt, found that when cattle were on pasture in the spring, they were healthier. When they added omega-3-rich grasses to their feed year-round, the cows not only released less methane, but also produced about 10 percent more milk. Now U.S. dairy producer Stonyfield Farm is piloting a program in Vermont, adjusting grain feed to include alfalfa, flax, and other plants high in omega-3s.
The cows’ methane emissions are calculated by the University of Vermont, which analyzes the chemical composition of their milk through a process called gas chromatography. With the right pasture and a winter feed that simulates pasture, some farmers are seeing an 18-percent reduction in methane emissions. If achieved nationwide, that kind of mitigation could account for almost three-quarters of the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the dairy industry 25 percent by 2020.
This would be the most common sense solution for the dairy industry to implement, but in the Obama administration’s lust for top-down control, they’re not interested in real solutions. They just want more excuses to create and increase taxes.