Thursday, July 12, 2007

Preventing deadly cow emissions

Like many officials, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is out to help protect the environment by putting the brakes to auto emissions.

According to the BBC television new report I saw the other night, it looks like he's barking up the wrong tree ... er ... or, chewing the wrong cud.

No, the BBC says, methane (in Brit talk, pronounced MEE-thane), coming from emission points at both the front and back ends of bovines, is responsible for an enormous amount of global air pollution/global warming.

Not even cattle can stand the stench.

British scientists are hard at work on a solution to this problem. In hi-tech laboratories, they are sequestering test cows in air-tight quarters, and trying different feeds on them. Then, dressed in hazmat-white suits, technicians go in and measure bovine methane output, to determine which feed produces the lowest emission rate.

What a job to list on a resumé!

I wonder if they have tried dosing the cows with Beano.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Why is it that when we walk in a cow pasture, we are not overcome by the odor of the huge clouds of methane emitted by the cows? Do the farts of cows not stink?

Saint Pat said...

Apparently the methane odor is more noticeable in a confined space - its particles tend to rise into the atmosphere, where it adds to global warming. I don't know this from firsthand experience; however, I have noticed the stink coming from cow manure, when I lived in dairy-cattle country!

"Do the farts of cows not stink" makes me think of Shakespeare -- "If you prick me, do I not bleed?"

Saint Pat said...

According to the BBC Web site,

"Experts consider cows the biggest single source of methane - a gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.

The average dairy cow is capable of producing up to 500 litres of the gas every day, mostly through belching.

Reduce that, claim the experts, and farming could not only be made greener and more efficient, but it could also help Britain achieve its commitments under the Kyoto agreement."

PseudoPiskie said...

Why do people spend so much time and effort trying to get rid of something when they could profit by finding a use for it? Perhaps they should try to capture the methane and burn it to power the farm? snicker

Saint Pat said...

Actually that's not a bad idea, Pseudo. It seems like they have some kind of methane-capturing device at the local landfill that's used to generate some energy.

"Back up here, Bessie! That'll do it!"