Methane Emissions from Animal Agriculture are 11% Worse Than We Thought

Methane Emissions from Animal Agriculture are 11% Worse Than We Thought

Methane (CH4) is largely overlooked when addressing global warming and climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) governs the greenhouse gases (GHGs) addressed in policies targeted to curb global warming — but methane is a grave danger to the planet, too.

New data poses an unavoidable acknowledgement of this much ignored climate threat. Revised statistics reveal that methane emissions from livestock are 11% higher than previously estimated, accounting for a large part of the sharp increase in methane emissions since 2007.

CH4’s warming effect on the Earth is 82-86 times that of CO2, initially. Because it has a life of around two decades before it decays into CO2, however, this damage is downplayed and can be deemed inconsequential. But highly absorbent CH4 traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to intense, devastating weather. And as the atmosphere heats up, the cumulative effects of methane are growing more destructive.

The problem lies with the fact that when dealing with policy, the global warming potential (GWP) of a gas is looked at as a factor of CO2 within the time frame of 100 years (GWP100). But this time frame is arbitrary and devalues the effects of CH4. A GWP20 would be a better choice.

The easiest way to curb methane emissions is to stop producing so much meat. For us on a personal level, the smartest solution is to go vegan. Not eating meat and dairy is the largest single contribution one can make to save the environment. Livestock releasing methane by farting and burping is natural, but having so many animals for our consumption is not. It’s mostly cows that cause the abundance of methane, but raising all livestock for food uses 30% of the Earth’s land mass. And roughly 50% of water used in the U.S. alone is used for animal agriculture.

As a society, we have barely touched the surface of tackling climate change and controlling global warming. We seem to have entered a place and time where we think maintaining the status quo will be just fine. Despite all of the scientific evidence and warnings, we take the smallest of baby steps in confronting what we have seen cause destruction and devastation to the Earth. The fact is, we need to take bold steps and we need to take them now. This new information gives us one more reason to do so.


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  1. Judy Gerdes

    The suggestion that we, as a nation, could even make a dent in the over-all production of the world’s methane is not even reasonable, as well as the notion of the general population giving up it’s taste for beef to go vegan. That’ll never happen.

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  2. Leanne

    I refuse to go vegan oor vegetarian. We need meat as a protein. The world will never go completely vegan.

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  3. Thomas

    Methane emissions?
    You mean cow farts?
    Just give ’em some GAS-X.
    Ever thing’ll be just fine.
    The little woman makes me take it before bed ever night.

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  4. Nina

    I knew about global warming some thirty years ago but people did not believe it. Yes Studies have shown that Animal agriculture, raising millions and cows and hogs especially is contributing huge amounts of pollution to our atmosphere causing greenhouse gasses causing global warming. It is now some 51 % greenhouse gasses caused by factory farming. Humans must consider the potential destruction and give up beef and pork

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  5. Judy Gerdes

    More than likely, within a few years, technology will have a solution for the effects of green house gasses so all of this angst will be for naught.

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  6. chuck

    Nonsense, there are more humans then there are cows who make more of the methane in the air…let’s not blame i t all on the animals who can’t defend themselves!

    We mass produce cows to feed and cloth us then we blame them for the problems they create which by the way we meat consumers mass-fart all day and night world wide too!.. We want to have our cake and eat it too…

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  7. DJ

    Sorry Eve but I disagree…mind you a lot of my views about animals has changed for the better in the past umpteen years, BUT a far greater cause of methane is all that garbage that we have placed at the curbs, and into landfills, for decades..You would be surprised how much methane is actually being extruded from those areas.

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  8. Arlette Bellomy

    Well I can tell u what you are eating is not all beef.i used to working in the packing industry when it was not torturing the animals from Wisconsin farmland I remember when it merged to mass production it was sad farmers tried to hang on an not go that route it was horrible president Nixon handed china all our resources work an food .so your eating chinas farmed meat.i remember the day I left .we were the last packing line left an Chinese were running the plant an they hand truck loads of ground dog an horse meat mixed in with beef.they started buying up all plants when the heat started coming down on them about dog meat they closed an everything packaged an processed their. The cheaper steaks in the stores are dog an horse ribeye tbone an they look EXACTLY like beef steak they bleach the meat with lye red food coloring to make it now all the restraunts buy the mixed an dog horse steaks it’s cheaper an they make ALOT of money so 70 %restraunts inU.S. have been serving that for YEARS .the generation today I can bet never had beef I knew right when I took a bite it was NOT beef an stop after I found out Panda Express not teriyaki chic teriyaki dog meat.what your eating is rabid dog .thats why ther not civilized thinks an the stupid generation today also not right in the head from eating domeat wth rabies. Your choice not to believe but I can assure u I seen an refused to package it.i loved meat I have a hard time not eating it cuz I I have a hard time getting protein satisfied but it’s not worth it to eat those poor dogs

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  9. Arlette Bellomy

    An you exactly right about the mass reproduction of cattle .with all the land built up wth homes an friggn every other block Walmart tearing out the trees the neutralizer / filter of methane the greed of the Frankenstein farmers today.those cows are piled 3layers on top of each other.cuz they can’t walk busted deformed legs because of one cow equal 2 10 humans so 20 would put out more that land that mentality posted “we as a nation unable to make a dent’ in over all population of methane..” tells me that’s the generation I.q difference an function development.your suppose to make a change .not wait for your parrot crew.if this generation could do something without ther friends or someone holding their handle while google tells them how to walk an think.thats how americans keep the government in control Gov knows this gener. Is followers an this lady freethinker peta. An others .thank god for them

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