Want a relatively inexpensive method of removing carbon with small economic impact? Remove livestock from the vast acreage of public lands-

Story in the New York Times. Two camps. By John Broder  (story doesn’t mention the above because Obama team is unaware of how much cattle and sheep reduce the amount of carbon rangelands can sequester and just as bad, add methane to the air).

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

4 Responses to In Obama’s Team, 2 Camps on Climate

  1. avatar Mike Post says:

    Ralph, I am still looking for some empirical data on methane production by livestock (and wild ungulates for that matter). Anybody out there have something reliable? There is just too much discussion about livestock produced methane and too little published and peer reviewed research on the actual levels produced per AMU on a diet of rangeland forage.

  2. avatar JimT says:

    You could start your search with Google and “cows as point source” as a search term. EPA library online would be another place to look for studies.

  3. JimT,

    Thanks for the link.

    At the link it reads (among much more), “Ruminant livestock such as cattle and sheep are the largest source of methane emissions resulting from human activity. Scientists estimate that global ruminant livestock industries produce about 20 percent of the world’s methane emissions associated with human activity. Methane, produced as part of the animals’ normal digestive process, is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. By improving livestock production efficiency, producers can both increase profits and reduce methane emissions.”

    “One method of reducing methane emissions from livestock is to supplement the animal’s diet. Scientists have found that supplementing a cow’s diet with substances such as urea increase the animal’s ability to digest food. With improved digestion, less fermentation takes place during digestion, and methane emissions per unit of forage have been reduced 25-75 percent. In addition, as digestion improves, productivity also improves, as dairy cows produce more milk and beef cattle fatten faster.”


January 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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