the Disillusioned kid: How To Stop Climate Change: Become a Vegetarian
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Sunday, December 04, 2005

How To Stop Climate Change: Become a Vegetarian

Believe it or not, the title's actually half-serious.

According to today's Sunday Times, flatulent cows shoulder at least some of the blame for global warming:
There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas.

Carbon dioxide is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times the warming potential of CO2 so reducing its emission is also considered important.

In Scotland, where there is a greater concentration of agriculture than in other countries, cows produce 46% of all methane emissions.
In response to this problem, scientists at the Rowett Reasearch Insititue in Aberdeen have developed a new diet which they claim reduces the amount of methane produced by cows:
They introduced a food additive, a mixture of organic sugars and a bacterium developed at the institute, into the cows’ diet. It is based on fumaric acid, a naturally occurring chemical essential to respiration of animal and vegetable tissues.

"In some experiments we got a 70% decrease in methane emissions, which is quite staggering," said John Wallace, a biochemist at the institute who is leading the research team. In total about 14% of global methane comes from the guts of farm animals. It is worth doing something about."
Now I'm sure you'll agree that's all very impressive, but wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to deal with the problem by reducing the number of cows? In case you hadn't realised, most of them are not wild animals and are breed primarily to be served up between bread rolls with a side-order of supersize fries in a McDicks somewhere. Kick the habit and do your bit for the planet.

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