The Eric Factor: Do cows really contribute to a warming climate?

Whether a cow makes you think of the animal in a pasture or a steak on a plate, very few of us think of cows as contributors to climate change.

But it’s true that livestock are contributors to the warming of Earth’s climate.

But they aren’t necessarily a significant source of the problem. When looking at the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, 9% comes from agriculture, according to the EPA.

And only a third of that is methane (CH4), produced by cow’s food digestion which is called enteric fermentation.

While cows produce methane, they aren’t nearly as significant producers as industry.

The Environmental Defense Fund reports the largest source of methane emissions comes from the oil and gas industry, not agriculture.

In May 2016, the EPA finalized the first-ever national rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations, unlocking a new opportunity to reduce climate pollution.

This year, as Congress is debating plans for a “Green New Deal,” it is the opinion of this Meteorologist that the focus should be on industry and transportation sectors, not agriculture.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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