Ruminant agriculture can help deliver zero emissions
New science shows that methane from ruminant agriculture is not categorically causing global warming. Cattle and sheep do produce methane, but we are looking at the facts the wrong way. It’s not the emission itself that counts; it’s the warming impact that matters, states ffinlo Costain, Chief Executive of Farmwell in an article for the British Veterinary Association.
It takes a decade for methane emissions to break down into carbon dioxide that gets used in photosynthesis by the same plants the cows eat. This means that without an increase of the herd size, the methane emissions from 100 cows 10 years ago, is simply replaced today by the current herd. Under the newly updated metric, CO2 and N2O levels remain the same, but methane impact on global warming in the United Kingdom is calculated as a negative emission, close to zero.
However, if we want to continue having this negative methane impact, things do need to change. Why? Because the population is growing and this will prompt an increase in meat and dairy consumption. Maintaining a neutral impact requires emissions in the UK to fall by 0,3% each year. Based on this forecast, we can still eat meat and dairy. As long as we eat meat, leftover hides will be produced, which enable us to keep using leather goods, keeping them away from landfill. When it comes to our consumption, more sustainable choices are necessary.
Read the entire article HERE.