Cows and Gas

The following is a small excerpt from Chapter 11 of Stop Feeding Us Lies.

“Grass grows by taking CO2 out of the air. With the help of energy from sunshine and water from rainfall, grass converts atmospheric CO2 into molecules of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Some of these carbohydrate molecules, called cellulose, are used to create new blades of grass and some, which are more simple sugars, are passed down the plant and into the roots. To keep the arithmetic simple let’s assume a blade of grass absorbs 100 molecules of CO2 and that 80 of them are used for growth and 20 of those carbon atoms go down to the roots, where they will stay if the ground is left undisturbed.

            Constance the cow comes along and eats all of those 80 carbon atoms in the grass. The bacteria in her rumen get to work and convert plant cellulose into the fatty acids and proteins that Constance needs to grow. A by-product of this process is methane gas which is produced at a rate of approximately 5% of the food Constance eats. Therefore for every 100 molecules of CO2 absorbed by grass, cows return 4 or 5 of them to the air as methane. Simple arithmetic and basic biology show it is impossible for cows, or sheep, to add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. They simply recycle a few of them.”

Cow burps and climate

The graph below is courtesy of the 2 Degrees Institute. It shows the level of atmospheric methane over the last thousand years. We are told that the methane burped by cows and sheep is a significant cause of global warming.

If the number of ruminant animals on the planet had tripled in the last 100 years, I might believe this. The truth is that methane-belching ruminants have been here for tens of millions of years. Before the advance of European farmers across America’s mid-west, there were an estimated 75 million bison, deer and elk roaming those plains with no on-going rise in green-house gases. About one hundred years ago, when we started taking coal, oil and gas deposits out of the ground and burning them, methane and CO2 levels rose exponentially. Vested interests, however, want you to be gullible enough to believe this rise is caused by cow burps.