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Tag Archive: methane

  1. Well-managed grazing and grass-finishing systems in Midwest can reduce carbon footprint of beef, while lowering overall CO2

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    Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America

    Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 4 (3) Winter 2016

    Jason E Rowntree Rebecca Ryals +4 more authors  [note that Rebecca Ryals co-authored some of the Marin Carbon Project studies]

    Conclusion: The recent call for improved management of grazing systems as part of an international climate change mitigation strategy is critical, particularly in light of many existing beef LCAs [life cycle assessments] that have concluded that beef cattle produced in grazing systems are a particularly large sources of GHG emissions. To identify the best opportunities to reduce GHG emissions from beef production, a systems approach that considers the potential to increase soil C and reduce ecosystem-level GHG emissions is essential. Using a combination of on-farm collected data, literature values, and IPCC Tier 1 methodology, we generated an LCA that indicates highly-managed grass-finished beef systems in the Upper Midwestern United States can mitigate GHG emissions through SCS while contributing to food provisioning at stocking rates as high as 2.5 AU ha-1. From this data, we conclude that well-managed grazing and grass-finishing systems in environmentally appropriate settings can positively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of beef cattle, while lowering overall atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

  2. Methane Seeps Out as Arctic Permafrost Starts to Resemble Swiss Cheese

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    • Measurements over Canada’s Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas deposits.
    • The conclusion of the authors: The warming climate triggers not only the natural production of biogenic methane, it can also lead to stronger emissions of fossil gas. This contributes significantly to the permafrost-carbon-climate feedback

    Thawing permafrost releases old greenhouse gas  July 19, 2017  ScienceDaily

    Study in the Mackenzie Delta in Canada shows high amount of geological methane emission 
    The thawing permafrost soils in the Arctic regions might contribute to the greenhouse effect in two respects: on the one hand rising temperatures lead to higher microbial methane production close to the surface. On the other hand thawing subsurface opens increasingly pathways for old, geologic methane
    Katrin Kohnert, Andrei Serafimovich, Stefan Metzger, Jörg Hartmann, Torsten Sachs. Strong geologic methane emissions from discontinuous terrestrial permafrost in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05783-2
  3. Senate keeps climate change rule on methane from public lands oil and gas wells

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    May 10, 2017 NY Times  full article here

    In a surprising victory for President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, the Senate voted 51-49 on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land….to repeal the 2016 Interior Department rule to curb emissions of methane, a powerful planet-warming greenhouse gas. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, all Republicans who have expressed concern about climate change and backed legislation to tackle the issue, broke with their party to join Democrats and defeat the resolution.

    The vote also was the first, and probably the only, defeat of a stream of resolutions over the last four months — pursued through the once-obscure Congressional Review Act — to unwind regulations approved late in the Obama administration

    …On Tuesday, Gwen Lachelt, a county commissioner from La Plata County, Colo., which sits near the Four Corners where the state abuts New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, buttonholed Mr. McCain in a Senate elevator to tell him that county residents have suffered from methane pollution drifting over from New Mexico, and she noted that the same pollution could affect his state.

    “I’m not taking credit for swaying Senator McCain’s vote, but I told him that right across the state line from my county are 35,000 oil and gas wells in New Mexico,” she said. “We all share an airshed and the winds that bring methane pollution our way, and without this federal rule, I have no way as a county commissioner to protect the people in my county. In the Four Corners, we all live under the largest methane cloud.”…

  4. Making cows more environmentally friendly

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    Posted: 29 Mar 2017 09:26 AM PDT ScienceDaily summary here

    An important discovery surrounding plants used to feed livestock has been released by scientists. They report that plants growing in warmer conditions are tougher and have lower nutritional value to grazing livestock, potentially inhibiting milk and meat yields and raising the amount of methane released by the animals. Higher amounts of methane are produced when plants are tougher to digest — an effect of a warmer environment. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, around 25 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. More than 95% of the methane produced by cows comes from their breath through eructation (belching) as they “chew the cud.”

    “Our research has shown that cultivating more nutritious plants may help us to combat the challenges of warmer temperatures. We are undertaking work at Kew to identify the native forage plants that are associated with high meat and milk production and less methane, attempting to increase their presence on the grazing landscape. We are also developing our models to identify regions where livestock are going to be exposed to reductions in forage quality with greater precision. It is going to be important to put plans in place to help those countries exposed to the most severe challenges from climate change to adapt to a changing world” said Dr Mark Lee.

    Mark A. Lee, Aaron P. Davis, Mizeck G. G. Chagunda, Pete Manning. Forage quality declines with rising temperatures, with implications for livestock production and methane emissions. Biogeosciences, 2017; 14 (6): 1403 DOI: 10.5194/bg-14-1403-2017

  5. Measuring methane emissions from cows is elusive, but we’re getting closer

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    Photo credit: aleks.k

    Photo credit: aleks.k

    Americans’ fondness for milk, yogurt, cheese and juicy burgers requires a huge livestock industry, with nearly 90 million head of cattle in the U.S. in any one year. All those cows mean significant methane emissions.

    With estimates from the United Nations that methane accounts for 44 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production, and new determination – including legislation in California – to reduce methane emissions from farms, we need to figure out how to quantify and then reduce those emissions….

  6. Cows Targeted in Global Warming Battle

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    http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-11-29/california-targets-dairy-cows-to-combat-global-warming

    California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm

    By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press  Nov 29 2016

    GALT, Calif. (AP) — California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. The nation’s leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.

    Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills. Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.

    “If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science advisor for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.

    Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report….