Cows – the real reason for global warming

This morning I read it in the newspaper. It has to be more efficient and produce less greenhouse gas emissions so that we can limit the global warming. Mankind has to create the cow of the future…”Cow”? Well I was a little confused but the headline got my attention. So here is a short summary.

It’s about the methane. Cows eject Methane which has a much higher effect on global warming as for example Carbon Dioxide. In the article of the Financial Times Juan Tricarico explains “that we have to create a more productive, healthier and problem-free cow”. He is in charge of the Cow of the future project at the US Dairy Innovation Centre. But we also have such projects in Germany where the Chamber of Agriculture of North-Rhine Westphalia got the results that cows are burping less methane when eating more corn instead of grass. According to the FT article they even try to save the methane in backpacks which are directly connected with the stomach of the cows to use it as a source of gas.

To make sure everyone understands the maths. One cow approximately ejects 250 litre of methane every day. We have 1.02 billion cows in the world (in the year 2012). Calculated in an easy way that makes 250.5 billion litres of methane every day from the cow population. For comparison the world economy emitted 36 billion tons last year by burning fossil fuels. To compare these we have to know that under best conditions 16 grams of methane (1Mol) equal 22.4 litres. So we could say that each cow ejects 11 Mol per day which equals 176 grams. The total number of cows are ejecting 179.5 thousand tons per day which are 65.5 million tons per year which is 0.2 percent of the Carbon Dioxide the world economy emitted last year through fossil fuels.

Well that clearly shows that cows are the reason for global warming – “NOT”. Well I liked the approach to have a look on all possibilities to reduce emissions but again newspapers are not telling the whole story so be careful and always think twice or it will be as Jim Morrison said “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”

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