Wednesday 20 May 2020


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Although much of the world is focused on transitioning away from fossil fuels as a way to fight climate change, there is another, often-overlooked climate change culprit. It is animal agriculture and its environmental impact on our climate. Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas

Methane is released from enteric fermentation and partially from animal manure and it contributes to climate change. In the United States, methane from the normal digestive processes (farting) of animals totalled 164.3 million metric tons of methane in every year. Cattle are by far the biggest source of gas emissions from animals.

A widely-cited 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates about 14.5 percent of global GHG emissions, or 7.1 gigatons of CO2 equivalent, can be attributed to the livestock sector annually. This is broadly equivalent to the emissions from all the fuel burned by all the world’s transport vehicles, including cars, trucks, trains, boats and airplanes. It also accounts for five percent of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions which slso contributes to climate change.

It represents 44 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions, the primary driver of  climate change related to livestock, as methane which is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the past /

Cow farts, and cow burps are also a big contributer of methane levels in the atmosphere. Livestock (cows, pigs, sheep and other animals) are definitely responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the last  100 years. It makes up 75-80 percent of the total agricultural methane emissions.

Furthermore, air and water pollution can be directly attributed to the livestock sector, which is the largest contributor to global water pollution. The livestock sector is also one of the leading drivers of global deforestation, and is linked to 75 percent of historic deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

Concentrated animal farming operations present additional public health risks to nearby communities, as viral diseases may spread from sick livestock to humans and the increased use of antibiotics encourages antibiotic resistance. Irresponsible manure management from high-volume facilities risks aerosolizing fecal matter that may reach nearby homes and cause respiratory problems. Livestock waste can also pass through the soil to groundwater, which may then contaminate nearby streams and rivers with nitrates and pathogens.

Global emissions from the livestock sector increased by 51 percent between 1961 and 2010, spurred by a 54 percent increase in methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock manure. Moreover, approximately one gigaton of carbon dioxide equivalent worth of animal-based foods is wasted globally every year. Incidentally , a gigaton is 1,000,000,000 metric tons

Animal agriculture and meat consumption are significant contributors to global warming, but far less so than fossil fuel combustion.

According to the United Nations (2017), the world population increased by approximately 1 billion inhabitants during the last 12 years, reaching nearly 7.6 billion in 2017. Although this growth is slower than 10 years ago (1.24% vs. 1.10% per year), with an average increase of 83 million people annually, global population will reach about 8.6 billion in 2030 and 9.8 billion in 2050. Population growth, urbanization, and income rise in developing countries are the main driver of the increase.

What this means is that more people are going to be farting and burping while breathing in air that has less breathable  air that isn’t  isn’t infected by the dangers in the air.

The good news is that none of us in this era will be around in 2050 gasping for breathable air.  

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