someone writing in the Farmers Weekly has FINALLY got it

DaveGrohl

Member
Location
Cumbria

Courtesy of the Farmers Weekly obvs:

Joe Stanley

Opinion: Blaming livestock for global warming is ill-informed​

As some 400 private jets carrying the world’s climate-conscious business and political elite – plus the prerequisite sprinkling of actors – touched down in Glasgow, and a chap with a private space programme and billions in personal wealth lectured the rest of us on living within our means, the COP26 climate conference kicked off at the start of November.

Given the catastrophic weather events increasingly experienced around the globe (in many cases, felt most sharply by farmers of all nations), we must do all we can to rein in the worst-case climate-change scenarios.

And – hypocritical as they can seem – international shindigs such as COP are vital in our having any chance at achieving this.
If we do not face up to the realities of climate change, our children will inherit a world far crueller than that which we have enjoyed.

This is why the predictable media focus on red meat was so frustrating.

Farmers understand that sustainably produced livestock are not an existential threat to civilisation, but are in fact vital to healthy, functioning ecosystems and soils (and have existed for considerably longer than the oil and gas industry).

But for those who are sketchy of the details when pressed, let me elucidate as simply as I can.
Methane (as emitted by ruminant livestock) is a potent greenhouse gas, some 28 times more warming than carbon dioxide. Yet methane breaks down (into water and carbon dioxide) after only a decade.

This is a fact ignored by most climate modelling, which calculates ruminant methane’s warming potential over 100 years – nine times longer than the gas remains in the atmosphere, thereby exaggerating its impact.

The carbon dioxide produced after 10 years is then absorbed by plants via photosynthesis as part of the natural biogenic carbon cycle as a “flow gas”, before being grazed once again, turned to methane and so on and on in nature’s circular economy, dating back to the dawn of life.

Thus, after a decade, any stable population of ruminants has no additional warming effect, their emissions of 10 years ago cycled back into pastures.

The carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is part of no natural cycle: it was locked deep away, inert in oil, coal and gas until released into the atmosphere to power our factories, transport and homes, and to make the tat that fills our lives.

And, unlike methane, it endures in the atmosphere as a “stock gas” for centuries, exerting a constant warming effect with every day that passes.

Were we to stop burning all fossil fuels tomorrow, the air would not begin to cool for centuries. And, of course, the oil and gas industry emits more methane globally than do ruminants.

In the UK, where farmers plan to be net-zero producers by 2040, and where sheep and cattle contribute only some 5% of national emissions, livestock continue to be scapegoated by clueless celebrities, lazy journalists and greedy corporations looking to seize more of the profits from the food system by pushing hyper-processed, high-margin “plant-based” options.

This poses a real and present danger to us all, for the longer we distract ourselves from the other 95% of emissions, the worse will be the state of the world inherited by our children. The truth must out.
 

delilah

Member
In the UK, where farmers plan to be net-zero producers by 2040, and where sheep and cattle contribute only some 5% of national emissions, livestock continue to be scapegoated by clueless celebrities, lazy journalists and greedy corporations looking to seize more of the profits from the food system by pushing hyper-processed, high-margin “plant-based” options.

This poses a real and present danger to us all, for the longer we distract ourselves from the other 95% of emissions, the worse will be the state of the world inherited by our children. The truth must out.

All he is doing is trotting out the NFU line. 1% of the electorate are responsible for 10% of UK GHG emissions. Muppet.
 

delilah

Member
We can bring all of the cows indoors, feed them soya meal and milk them 3x a day, and UK GHG emissions will not rise.
We can kick all of the cows out onto a hillside to eat tor grass, fit them with methane masks, shove seaweed down their throats and milk them once a day, and UK GHG emissions will not fall.
We can have more cows, we can have less cows, we can stick to the exact same number of cows we have today, and UK GHG emissions wont change.
Saying anything else is to agree with those who would see us gone.
 

delilah

Member
Thats like saying airline pilots (probably 0.1% of the population) are responsible for whatever % of GHG emissions forgetting the 200 passengers behind them who want to sun themselves.

No its not.
If I had said 'herdspeople are responsible for 10% of UK GHG emissions' then your comparison would be valid.
I didn't, so its not.
 
We can bring all of the cows indoors, feed them soya meal and milk them 3x a day, and UK GHG emissions will not rise.
We can kick all of the cows out onto a hillside to eat tor grass, fit them with methane masks, shove seaweed down their throats and milk them once a day, and UK GHG emissions will not fall.
We can have more cows, we can have less cows, we can stick to the exact same number of cows we have today, and UK GHG emissions wont change.
Saying anything else is to agree with those who would see us gone.


Pretty much.

Wetlands create Methane but you don't see the Environment Agency suggesting wetlands should be drained.

Methane is created by life and natural processes. Methane will happen regardless of what politicians or anyone else says.

In fact thinking about it Beavers will create Methane via their ponds.
 

HatsOff

Member
Mixed Farmer
The 100 year measure is an equivalent thing, so they're not quite right to dismiss it just because the half life of methane is about a decade (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential).

I'd have been pointing at the fact that herd numbers haven't increased nearly as much as atmospheric methane has, so cattle are not the cause of the increases observed. Also because herd numbers are relatively stable, there is a steady state relationship so cattle aren't contributing to rising CO2e. And finally, there are definitely potential additives to reduce methane, especially for dairy cattle.
 

Timmy k

Member
I wonder if these clueless politicians now consider the first American settlers who nearly wiped out the American bison as hero's . Surly the bison was emitting methane as much as any cow! And as such they must see the few men who brought it back from extinction (if i remember right it was 13 animals) as villains. Strange world we live in, like a comic book
 

egbert

Member
We can bring all of the cows indoors, feed them soya meal and milk them 3x a day, and UK GHG emissions will not rise.
We can kick all of the cows out onto a hillside to eat tor grass, fit them with methane masks, shove seaweed down their throats and milk them once a day, and UK GHG emissions will not fall.
We can have more cows, we can have less cows, we can stick to the exact same number of cows we have today, and UK GHG emissions wont change.
Saying anything else is to agree with those who would see us gone.
Here you go again.
If a cow feeds itself from unimproved pasture, the cycle is neat and short.
If she comes indoors, and we burn diesel to put food in front of her...it isn't.
 

yellowbelly

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
N.Lincs
All he is doing is trotting out the NFU line. 1% of the electorate are responsible for 10% of UK GHG emissions. Muppet.
Yeah but he should have just gone on and extrapolated it...
1% of the population are maybe responsible for 10% of the emissions , BUT, they are feeding 40% (I think I"m right in saying we are only 40% self sufficient now) of the population which is what, 65 million??), so those emissions are surely attributable to them.
 

DaveGrohl

Member
Location
Cumbria
The 100 year measure is an equivalent thing, so they're not quite right to dismiss it just because the half life of methane is about a decade (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential).

I'd have been pointing at the fact that herd numbers haven't increased nearly as much as atmospheric methane has, so cattle are not the cause of the increases observed. Also because herd numbers are relatively stable, there is a steady state relationship so cattle aren't contributing to rising CO2e. And finally, there are definitely potential additives to reduce methane, especially for dairy cattle.
Your source states methane half life of 9.1 years and 12.4 it's gone. I'm not certain of either of these numbers, but Frank M always uses the 12.4 years (gone) so that's good enough for me. In a static population the 100 year metric doesn't work. It's a construct to "start somewhere", nothing more than that scientifically.
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
I wonder if these clueless politicians now consider the first American settlers who nearly wiped out the American bison as hero's . Surly the bison was emitting methane as much as any cow! And as such they must see the few men who brought it back from extinction (if i remember right it was 13 animals) as villains. Strange world we live in, like a comic book
No this is a Mis-truth often peddled. You have to remember the bison were part of a huge ecosystem and were constantly on the move grazing the plains. What they have over there now is intensive chemical mono cropping on those plains and cattle being fed that produce in feed lots. It’s a very, very weak argument.
 

Top Tip.

Member
Location
highland
Pretty much.

Wetlands create Methane but you don't see the Environment Agency suggesting wetlands should be drained.

Methane is created by life and natural processes. Methane will happen regardless of what politicians or anyone else says.

In fact thinking about it Beavers will create Methane via their ponds.
This is one that I find baffling in that the saviours of the planet are always preaching about creating wetlands but it is fairly common knowledge that wetlands create methane. Joined up thinking I think not!!
 

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