India to fight climate change through less flatulent livestock 

Posted: July 7, 2016 by oldbrew in Emissions
Tags: ,



You couldn’t make it up. Heartlander Magazine reporting.

Despite its recent announcement it may not adopt the Paris Climate agreement before the end of 2016, India is moving ahead with a unique effort attempting to reduce the greenhouse gases its agricultural sector emits into the atmosphere: creating cows and livestock that burp and fart less. 

India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminants, including sheep, goats, yaks and water buffalo. According to an analysis of satellite data from the country’s space program, these animals’ emit 13 million tons of methane into the atmosphere every year.

Since methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does on a per molecule basis, reducing animal flatulence could make a difference in India’s emissions accounting, where it is actually likely to increase its carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades, due to increasing demand for energy. The country expects to double its coal production by 2019.

Experimenting with Feed and DNA
The New York Times reports, scientists at the Cow Research Institute in Mathura, India are tinkering with cattle feed, in an effort to create a formula that creates less gas for the cows to belch out. A separate team of researchers is working on a different way to solve the same problem: using cross breeding techniques to produce less flatulent dwarf cows. 

E.M. Muhammed, Ph.D., has been experimenting with an indigenous strain of miniature cattle that, while producing less milk than typical crossbred cows, are significantly better at withstanding extreme heat and, simultaneously, produce only one-seventh the manure and one-tenth the methane as typical cows. 

“In a side-by-side field trial on a blistering summer afternoon, Dr. Muhammed said, the dwarf cattle did fine while ‘the crossbred animals were struggling to survive — one of them fainted,'” reports the Times. As a result, Muhammed is attempting to isolate what he calls the “thermometer genes” in the miniature cows’ DNA, so his team can develop a heat-tolerant, low emission breed of cattle.

Source: India to Fight Climate Change Through Less Flatulent Livestock | Heartlander Magazine

  1. Gary says:

    Thermometer cows? Alert Michael Mann he may have a new proxy coming on line soon.

  2. Richard111 says:

    Can anyone please explain to this layman how radiative gases like methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere trap heat.
    I believe the population of India is in the order of 1.1billion and increasing and my guess is that mass of humanity far outweighs those 280 million cows, and 200 million other ruminants, so what is the point?

  3. oldbrew says:

    Richard says ‘what is the point?’

    Some kind of virtue signalling perhaps.

    Gases can’t ‘trap’ heat as such. The theory seems to be that a delay in the escape of heat can take place due to radiation (by the ‘greenhouse gas’) occurring in all directions including downwards.

    But such delays are extremely small so does it really amount to much? Some heat escape could also be accelerated, so does that tend to cancel out any opposite effect? Does it matter anyway when we’re only talking about trace gases?

  4. tom0mason says:

    Surely they are just following the Europeans ideas on mowing, and curbing emissions.

  5. J Martin says:

    When are we going to see a study that includes the inputs as well as the outputs. Cattle eat grass, which grows courtesy of co2. The methane farted converts to co2 which feeds the grass which feeds the cattle which fart. There may not be a conservation of gas law as there is with the conservation of energy law, but all these studies completely ignore the amount of co2 disguised as grass that the cattle eat.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    Reducing the amount of manure produced will not help the farmers who use it for fuel and fertiliser. And who will pay for the special feed for cows which typically are left to roam while feeding.
    This is purely to deflect criticism over not signing the Paris accord until the Earth cools.

  7. catweazle666 says:

    “produce only one-seventh the manure and one-tenth the methane as typical cows. “

    Hence probably around one-seventh of the meat too, if they’re lucky. The implications of which…

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Buy Beano Futures now 🙂

    Per the “thermometer gene”: Someone needs to teach them some geometry…

    Surface area goes up as the square of linear dimension, heat production with volume as the cube. Large animals always have more heat stress than small and it isn’t genetic.

    At about the 1 to 2 ton point, summer heat is limiting for cattle like herbivores. At a county fair circa 1965 I saw a very large bull on display. All he could do was stand in front of fans during midday heat (about 100 F or so) and this was directly attributed to his size.

  9. dennisambler says:

    CountryFile did a big splurge on methane from cattle at the weekend, with Climate Change Committee Mitigation sub-committee chairman, Professor Krebs, sounding the alarm and Tom Heap duly taking in the pearls of wisdom.

  10. JohnM says:

    Umm, 25 times more than CO2 but methane levels are measured in ppb rather than ppm. This adds up to a big fat nothing …. but never let the facts queer the pitch regards gietting funding.

  11. p.g.sharrow says:

    There is something about government money that greatly reduces Intelligence…pg

  12. oldmanK says:

    From p.g.sharrow :”There is something about government money that greatly reduces Intelligence…pg”.

    It is a matter of how intelligence is used. Some use it to benefit the job; others use it to benefit themselves; and some have to use it after they get caught in the middle.

  13. Ned Nikolov says:

    These types of absurd efforts to save the climate (such as trying to genetically modify the cattle stock of to make it fart less) will one day (hopefully soon!) go into a World Museum of Humanity’s Infinite Stupidity… 🙂

    We need such a museum to keep future generation sane.

  14. oldbrew says:

    Ned N: ‘We need such a museum to keep future generation sane.’

    Try Ripley’s Believe It Or Not…