Prague Twin

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Other Factors

Following up on the post below, I have been looking into other factors related to emissions and global warming. First of all, the issue of methane gas released from cows has recently come to the worlds attention because of a United Nations report that says methane from cows is the number one contributor to the greehouse effect.

This could be true, but does anyone else see the irony that the same people who want the United Nations to be a thing of the past suddenly are latching on to this report? Well, I guess most aren't latching on to it because they don't believe in global warming anyway. It does sound kind of stupid to say, "I don't believe in global warming, but if I did, I would think that cows are more to blame than cars and industry." Pretty weak.

There are some doubts about this report, but suffice to say, cows release a lot of methane. What releases more? Well according to the EPA landfills are the number one source in the U.S. They state that 60% of methane is from human activity, and cows are near the top of the list.

Now, depending on who you listen to, cows are responsible for between 2% and 18% of greenhouse gasses. They multiply methane by 20 to get effective CO2 but methane breaks down quickly unlike CO2.

What to do? Well some California dairy farmers are turning manure into electricity. Also, Australian scientists are working on isolating bacteria in Kangaroos which allow them to eat grass and release no methane. The magic bacteria could hopefully be introduced into sheep, pigs, and cattle to reduce or eliminate methane realease. And since more methane comes from garbage in the U.S. than from any other source, maybe we could find a way to harness that gas, or at least burn it off as it seeps out.

However, it seems like the best thing to do is to become a vegitarian. No matter if it is cars, industry, or cows, the fact remains that human activity is accelerating global warming. And human activity is having other negative effects on the planet as well.

Next up, ocean acidification.

Note: This post was edited from it's original form


  • PT, I was looking at manure conversion in BC where the stuff is held liquid in massive pits then sprayed on fields.
    The smell apart, the whole process of manure storage and spreading is archaic.
    On my calculations, farms could easily supply their own power and heating needs and still have excess to sell into the system.
    But they won't do it unless someone else pays.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 9:14 PM  

  • Well according to the link, these California dairy farmers figure they can get their investment back in about 3 years. They can get their power for free, but the electric company won't buy their power back...yet.

    The government could make a no interest loan to get the process started. Could being the key word.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:23 PM  

  • Boy, do I have a link for you!

    Good blog to read: deep sea news

    By Anonymous romunov, at 10:59 PM  

  • Romunov,

    Thanks for the links! They are very good!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:24 PM  

  • My girlfriend and I are both vegetarians. We eat no meat, no fish, no eggs. Occasionally we have dairy, but that's only if we are in some place where it's hard to get a vegan meal (like outside NYC.) But we can happily live w/out dairy too. I never ever push my diet on others, but I do believe, without being too sanctimonious about it, that it's probably better for the planet.

    In addition, we live in an apt. building, own no auto, walk to work (or take the train - but never a bus), and recycle vigorously. We try to buy local produce only, as that helps the environment as well by discouraging the flying in of produce from, say Argentina, but it's hard to do this in winter. In the summer, we only buy at the Green Grocers and farmers' markets in NYC from the local growers around here however, and not only do the fruit and veggies taste better, we feel like we're doing the right thing for our economy and our world.

    I do feel if more people lived this, the world would be better off. Unfortunately many Americans believe it is their god-given right to own three or four big-ass cars and SUVs, drive 60 miles each way to work, live in 4000 square foot McMansions, recycle nothing, and drive everywhere.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 1:12 PM  

  • LOL, people don't even realize our original atmosphere on earth was mostly methane...untill blue green algae began pumping large amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere, 2.4 billion years ago.

    By Blogger Frederick, at 1:15 PM  

  • RBE,

    The facts bear you out on helping the planet. You are doing your part, I would say.


    That is true. That is why I will be getting into ocean acidification next. We need that algae!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:57 PM  

  • However, it seems like the best thing to do is to become a vegitarian.

    I'm ready, goddamnit! I gave up the car. I can give up meat. Probably live longer too. The Frogette, on the other hand...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:22 AM  

  • Naturally, every responsible individual should start pondering about the size of the ecological footprint they live behind. The whole question seems to be an attitude issue and in that there are huge differences between the nations.

    So much of our collective survival is mainly based, in one hand, on the heavy and wealthy polluters such as Canada and the U.S. and, in another, on the new emerging giants such as China and India. These before mentioned early polluters have both shown severe reluctance to curb theirs and the unfortunate early signs from the latter ones do not look encouraging. The leaderships' role in this fight is crucial. Too bad, though, that they tend to represent exactly those interests that are most responsible for this problem in the first place. If the course of this Titanic can be corrected, it is bound to take a long time. Too much time. perhaps?

    By Anonymous pekka, at 7:00 AM  

  • Yo! RBE, lighten up. Remember you live in NYC and the rules of the road there my not apply elsewhere.

    You choose to live in a place where you can walk to work. For those of us who live in the country or who did not plan our communities, that simply is not an option.

    4000 sq feet? 4000 sq feet? That isn't a McMansion. That's a McMansion guest house or a McMansion garage.

    Do I recall that somewhere along the blogtrail in past few months you advised you did not plan to have children? If you do not have children, you can afford to live one type of life style which sometimes becomes < desirable when you start a family. Quick. Answer this question. If you had a choice. would you raise a child in NYC?

    Thing 2. You have some good ideas. So did the Shakers.

    I agree w/ Pekka that we should examine the implications of the ecological footprint we leave.

    It is well to be like the eagle in its flight. But I prefer guidelines to follow rather than strict philosophies. See above comment re the USSR and the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 8:13 PM  

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