Science

Methane emissions from livestock are too low - new study finds

Methane emissions from livestock are too low - new study finds”

Forbes noted methane gas is a natural byproduct of digestion, made by that microbes in an animal's gut that breakdown and ferment the food eaten - and a principle component of farts.

Scientists have underestimated just how much livestock feces and gas have contributed to global warming, a new study contends. Carbon dioxide is often blamed as the primary cause for global warming, but methane is actually 85% more effective at trapping heat.

Sources of methane are varied.

There are different sources of methane, a lot of which are natural, such as marshes and wetlands.

Researchers in the new study looked over data from 2006 and determined that over a 10 year period, there was an 8.4 percent increase in methane production from cows digesting food and a 36.7 percent increase in methane from manure.

It says this may be due to outdated information used to develop these emissions factors and used updated information based on reported recent changes in animal body mass, feed quality and quantity, milk productivity, and management of animals and manure. But the bulk of it comes from human activities, such as cattle farming. Taking into account the changes in the way humans use and keep livestock, they found that previous estimates that served as basis for the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, were off by 11 percent. "This, along with changes in livestock management, can lead to higher methane emissions".

"The revised estimates allow improved reconciliation of top-down and bottom-up estimates of methane emissions, will facilitate the development and evaluation of Earth system models, and provide consistent regional and global Tier 1 estimates for environmental assessments".



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