Shortly before the end of its legislative session Wednesday, California’s legislature passed a new law on the latest threat to Earth’s climate: cow farts. According to KCBS, the new rules (which are expected to be signed into law) were passed in an effort to reduce cow methane emissions from the animal’s manure 40 percent below 2013 levels by the year 2030.
It would seem that there is a scientific basis for such a law. EPA estimates show that livestock methane emissions encompass less than half of the total methane emitted from the United States. Meanwhile, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says that animal agriculture makes up about 44 percent of global human methane production. A study released during 2014 by the EPA concluded that cows emit more methane (a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide) than the oil industry.
However, one man has been calling the link between cows farts and climate change a load of bullshit for quite a while. Dr. Frank Mitloehner is an air-quality specialist at the University of California-Davis and has been on a personal crusade to refute the attempt to link climate change to cattle emissions for years. While he does believe that human activity causes climate change, Mitloehner states livestock does not.
The Billings Gazette states in 2010, Dr. Mitloehner was able to convince the UN to retract its 2006 assertion that that the livestock industry was a big contributor to climate change. The report issued at the time made no difference between automobile carbon dioxide and livestock methane emissions. Rather than regulating farms, Mitloehner says they should be made more efficient through modernization.
It is no surprise that California passed this new law and I am sure Professor Mitloehner’s research on cow flatulence and climate change fell on deaf ears in the Golden State’s halls of power. The purpose of cow flatulence law was to gain more power and control over industry in order to eventually shut it down by driving up the price of meat. Environmentalists salivate at the prospect not only over less meat products being made due to reduced consumption, but the humans who will die off from a lack of nutrition resulting from not being able to eat meat as often.