The dairy industry is fighting against the crackdown on the natural gas methane emissions from cows in California. The California Air Resources Board wants to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030. This supports the historic plans by the Obama administration to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, so it makes sense to plan accordingly. Plans include methods of methane collection.
But an executive from Western United Dairymen stated:
“The focus here is to highlight ARB’s efforts at over-regulating the dairy industry. By nature’s design, (cows) pass lots of gas. Quite frankly, we want them to expel gas so they don’t explode.”
It seems they have taken the same approach of hyperbole as a Donald Trump speech would. Rather than threaten the dairy industry, or have cows explode, however (a laughable talking point), the ARB has proposed strategies for reducing methane, including new diets, “gut microbial interventions”, changing from flush water lagoon systems that collect manure that contaminates groundwater, and investing in anaerobic digesters that can trap methane.
Methane is responsible for about 20 percent of current global warming. California has the most dairy cows in the country and the highest aggregated dairy methane emissions. But Western United Dairymen started campaigning against the idea that methane should be reduced on social media and the web. They claim the regulations would put the dairy industry out of business, and that attempts to reduce methane are “unachievable” and “unrealistic.” Sounds exactly like the hyperbole about the “war on coal,” doesn’t it?
From the Western United Dairymen Facebook page:
FLATULENCE: It is hard to believe but California Air Resources Board is actually planning to mandate a 25 percent reduction in “enteric emissions” from dairy cows and other cattle. That’s right, they want to regulate cow BURPS AND FARTS, even though their own Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy acknowledges there is no known way to achieve this reduction.
Join our joint industry effort to stop more regulations from putting the California dairy industry out of… https://t.co/3zubDxXkl1
— Western United Dairy (@WUDnews) August 9, 2016
Maybe the dairy industry in California should check out the solution that Argentina came up with a couple years ago. Cows were equipped with “methane backpacks,” otherwise known as “fartpacks” designed for methane collection directly from cows, and then use it exactly like natural gas. It can power a refrigerator for a day, and even power a car. With more than 1.5 billion cows on the planet, imagine all that methane! It certainly looks totally ridiculous at first glance. But watch this clip from the documentary, Racing Extinction:
Of course, a more reasonable solution may be not to put backpacks on cows, but to voluntarily change our own diets to less meat and more veggies. That wouldn’t make the dairymen in California happy either, of course, and there is a whole illuminating bovine documentary on the subject that you might consider watching: Cowspiracy. (see video below)
If backpacks on bovines make sense, then we why not take the same approach with politicians? I bet Donald Trump could make America great again if we were able to harness all that hot air emitted from his less-than-Presidential orifices.
Featured image: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0) with cow image from YouTube