Law Schools Ask Farmers to Reduce Bovine Gaseous Emissions

Proposal suggests solutions to limiting greenhouse gases in agriculture

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gary K
    Happy cows come from California, where they are warming the planet thanks to extreme flatulence.

    The environmental law leaders at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles want the state's farmers to cut back on cow farts.

    Okay, to put it more delicately:

    Dairy farmers can reduce methane emissions by altering feeding practices, improving animals’ diet to enhance digestion, and lengthening the productive life of dairy cows to generate fewer emissions per unit of milk produced.

    It's all part of a report on how the agriculture industry, which could face the worst of the effects of global climate change including droughts and changes to the growing season, could curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

    Cows produce significant amounts of methane, which is six times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    The other problem is nitrous oxide, which accounts for up to six percent of the heating effect of atmospheric gas, and the amounts related to agriculture could be significantly underestimated -- hence, the report asks that farmers also look for ways to reduce the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.

    The report proposes that businesses work with state and federal regulators to identify and amend farming practice regulations and educate farmers about ways to reduce both methane and nitrous oxide emissions from industrial farming.

    Photo by Chad K.

    Jackson West is exploring new ways to reduce his own methane production.