French scientists reported it, and British scientists are working to develop an alternative. This is one of the continuing multinational efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gases that are a major contributor to global warming. What are the two nations’ scientists working to reduce? Read on…
The European scientists think that a major contributor to global warming is the methane emissions generated by cattle. Globally, 1.4 billion cows produce 500 liters of methane each day, approximately 14% of the world’s methane emissions.
By altering the animal’s diet, methane emissions can be reduced by up to 70%. This would be a significant change to the effect of global greenhouse gas, as methane has a warming capacity 23 times greater than carbon dioxide, the leading contributor to global warming. Reducing ruminant methane by 70% is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide production by 8,000 liters a day.
Scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland, have developed a bovine diet that includes a mixture of organic sugars and a bacterium. The resulting mixture is similar to fumaric acid that in experiments reduced methane emissions by 70%.
As of 2003, the most recent report I was able to access, U.S. energy production is the the largest producer of methane; however agriculture, including the production of ruminant animals, contributed 72% as much of the greenhouse gas, more than waste management and industrial process combined.
What’s surprising to me about this recent research is that it’s taken so long to consider ways to reduce methane emissions from ruminant animals.