Cows producing greenhouse gas? New study suggests we may have underestimated how…


Research published in Carbon Balance and Management suggests that livestock are producing more methane gas than previously estimated.

The research showed that methane produced by livestock in 2011 was 11 percent higher than previous estimations made by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2006, according to the journal.

Methane, a natural byproduct of digestion, is roughly 30 times more efficient at trapping the Sun’s heat than carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Other sources of methane include the production and transport of gas, oil and coal, along with the decay of our organic waste, also contribute to global methane emissions, according to Gizmodo.

There are about 1.5 billion cows on earth with each producing 30 to 50 gallons of methane per day, according to Gizmodo. The chief culprit: belches, which account for 95 percent of the methane produced by cows.

Researchers in the new study looked over data from 2006 and determined that over a 10 year period, there was an 8.4 percent increase in methane production from cows digesting food and a 36.7 percent increase in methane from manure.

The the new estimates in the research are also 15 percent higher than global estimates published by the EPA and the Emission Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research, according to Gizmodo.



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