Saturday, September 25, 2004


Don't laugh! And definitely don't burp:
Belches and, to a far lesser degree, farts from sheep, cows and other farm animals account for around 20% of global methane emissions. The gas is a potent source of global warming because, volume for volume, it traps 23 times as much heat as the more plentiful carbon dioxide.
Turns out stopping those damn cows from burping is one way for nations to comply with that extremely polite climate change treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol. This is a big deal to places like sheep-choked New Zealand. Half of greenhouse gases produced by that country are from animal face farts. In desperation, New Zealand has even considered taxing the flatulence. Farmers there are understandably raising a stink.

So what to do? Scientists have tried getting the livestock drunk (or, more accurately, feeding them plants high in condensed tannins) and now someone has come up with a burp vaccine. Unfortunately, the vaccine so far only reduces methane production by about 8% so it's probably not worth force-feeding it to your little brother.


Post a Comment