How Do Cattle Produce Methane?

When animals are criticized for the part they play in climate change, most often it’s the cattle that take it on the chin. While beef and other products that come from cattle are popular in the United States and abroad, what cattle are often singled out for is the result of a digestive system that differs from those of poultry and swine, two other favorite sources of protein. 

Is Meat Bad for the Environment?

Perhaps more helpful than asking if meat is bad for the planet is engaging in a dialogue about the effect meat and dairy production have on the environment and what the downside and significant upside of animal agriculture are all about.

What is the Greenhouse Gas Effect?

The term “greenhouse gas effect” generally has negative connotations these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. The phenomena whereby certain gaseous compounds trap the sun’s heat and act as a blanket of insulation around Earth is what makes our planet hospitable to life. (See “What is a Greenhouse Gas?”)

 

What is a Greenhouse Gas?

The term greenhouse gas (GHG) is often bandied about – and with good reason. A number of human activities over the last several centuries have led to unprecedented increases in GHG emissions worldwide.

Simply put, a GHG is a gaseous compound that soaks up the sun’s infrared radiation, the energy that warms the Earth and its atmosphere. The GHGs trap the sun's heat and hold it, serving as a warm blanket around the planet. (See “What is the Greenhouse Gas Effect?”)

What are Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Emissions are substances released into the air. When we're talking about greenhouse gas emissions, or GHGs, the main emissions are water vapor (H20), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

What is Carbon Sequestration and How Does it Work?

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing, securing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The idea is to stabilize carbon in solid and dissolved forms so that it doesn’t cause the atmosphere to warm. The process shows tremendous promise for reducing the human “carbon footprint.” There are two main types of carbon sequestration: biological and geological.