Sunday, October 28, 2007
I knew cattle and sheep were responsible for a significant part of our greenhouse gas emissions but I was reminded of how much when I watched Countryfile today. Cows and sheep produce methane as part of their digestive process of which most comes out of the front end as a burp rather than the back end. Methane is 20 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, so astonishingly, the emissions from one cow is equal to running an SUV for the year!
There is work being done to see if by changing the diet of these animals, using additives such as garlic and changing the varieties of grass, we can reduce emissions, an scientist of hopeful of up to 30% reductions.
One large cattle/milk farmer spent £85,000 on a digester 17 years ago and it now heats two homes, including an rayburn and the energy used on the farm.
It's hard enough to suggest we should drive our cars less, to even think we should reduce the cows in our green fields seems almost sacrilegious.