Sunday, March 23, 2008

The future really is here

Cows are back, and better than ever. Remember Mad Max: Return to Thunderdrome?

That's right folks, we're already collecting methane from livestock manure to generate energy - although it also has a positive effect of eliminating one of the worst causes of global warming gases, that of animal-generated methane.

Seen on Inhabitat:

http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/03/13/poop-power-giant-vat-of-crap-to-produce-natural-gas-for-ca/

The manure from the cows in the article are from a dairy farm, not for meat consumption. So even if every US citizen became a vegetarian, everyone in the US would have to give up milk and we would have to kill every cow in the US to otherwise eliminate methane released into the atmosphere from cows in the US.

There is a lot of cow manure that is generated in the US, and it has a severe impact on global warming: dairy farms in California produce more greenhouse gas emissions than every car in the LA metropolitan area. This is largely because molecule per molecule, Methane is 21 TIMES more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2. Thus, eliminating 1 pound of methane gas from the atmosphere eliminates the equivalent of 21 pounds of CO2. If all you do is burn that Methane and release the CO2 into the atmosphere, it will eliminated 95% of the greenhouse gas effect!

Frat boys have nothing on bovines, as it's estimated that a single cow can belch out anywhere from 25 to 130 gallons of methane a day.
source: http://globalwarminglife.com

Additionally, all this Methane is generated from food and grass, which grabbed its carbon from the atmosphere anyway. So it is carbon neutral - except for the small amount of oil that is used as pesticides/herbicides/fertilizer in growing the corn. However, that is already a sunk cost, as Americans consume a lot of milk.

"Livestock are responsible for 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide, according to the U.N. -- more than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet."


See source:
http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livestock's_Long_Shadow
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0220/p03s01-ussc.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-cosub2sub-from-cars-427843.html

Pretty bad:
http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/factor/stcal.asp

Also, total happiness:
http://www.communicationagents.com/sepp/2005/02/01/global_warming_methane_could_be_far_worse_than_carbon_dioxide.htm

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