Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Climate change study suggests cutting herds

Eric Mortenson in the Capital Press (Oregon): New report from an OSU scientist says reducing cattle and other ruminant herds is the most effective way to reduce methane gas emissions and ease climate change. A new climate change study issued by an Oregon State University professor and others concludes the best way to reduce methane gas emissions is to reduce cattle, sheep and other ruminant herds worldwide.

The conclusion isn’t likely to be favored by industry groups, but OSU forestry Professor William Ripple and co-authors said herd reduction should be considered an antidote to climate change along with cutting back on fossil fuel use. “Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” Ripple said in an OSU news release.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association dismissed the recommendation to reduce herds. Methane produced from “enteric fermentation” by livestock amounts to only about 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, association communications officer Lauren Montgomery said in an email. She said other sources, including wildfires, produce much more.

She said such studies have not taken into account what “substitute” greenhouse gases might be produced if livestock are reduced or even eliminated.

The association believes assessments of greenhouse gas impacts should include an accounting of energy used per gas unit produced...

A 1943 shot of livestock in Colorado, Clelland, Joe, War Relocation Authority photographer, Photographer (NARA record: 8464457)

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