Thursday, February 4, 2016

Oregano to Combat Methane in Danish Cattle

Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark are using a novel way to combat methane emissions produced by cows. With a goal of reducing emissions by 25%, the university has partnered with Organic Denmark in this planet-friendly experiment.

The source of the problem in cows is the rumen, which is part of their digestive process. Methane is a bi-product of the microbial process in the rumen. They hope that by incorporating organic oregano into cattle feed, the established antimicrobial properties of the oregano will help to cut out a large portion of methane production in the process.

In addition to the environmental benefits, researchers anticipate a beneficial improvement to the resulting milk's fatty acid composition.

Source: The Cattle Site

Monday, February 1, 2016

How Going Vegan Can Help the Atmosphere

Did you know that farming livestock creates 37% of methane? Although most people think of cars and emissions as the most damaging to the atmosphere, it’s actually largely due to the animals we farm for food. The fastest way to cut down methane would be to cut out meat completely from our diets. By going vegan, we also wouldn’t be putting such a high toll on our natural resources, such as the high usage of water, and the destruction of the rain forests.

Below is a fun video from Refinery29 of Lucie Fink trying out a vegan lifestyle for 5 days, take a look to see what she learns by going 5 days without meat or animal products.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Methane and the Near Future

As far as greenhouse gases go, methane is one of the most dangerous, and one of the most underestimated.  Looking towards the future, one can see many of the negative possibilities that can result from the currently undisturbed methane emissions just waiting to pour out into the environment.
It has been made quite plain through research that the methane problem is far direr than even the EPA has estimated. Much of the world's methane is concentrated in the form of so-called gas "hydrates," icelike solids that form from methane and water at cold temperatures and high pressures, for example, deep beneath the ocean floor. According to the US Geological Survey, the total global carbon content of such methane hydrates is estimated to equal some 1,800 gigatons (to be sure, there is considerable uncertainty about this estimate). The amount of methane in the sea floor is thought to be greater than that of all hydrocarbon gases stored in reservoirs on land. A significant amount of the Earth’s methane is currently frozen in ice, and as the effects of global warming cause this ice to melt, they will worsen due to the released methane.
Over time, this released methane will create a snowballing effect, with more released methane releasing more methane, contributing further and further to the damages of global climate change. Pound for pound, the comparative impact of methane on climate change is more than 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.  This compounding effect could prove far more hazardous and irreversible than CO2, the effects of which we’re experiencing as the result of fossil fuel burning a generation ago. The delayed effects of both CO2 and methane indicate that immediate precautions and preventive action must be taken immediately to prevent global climate change from ramping up even higher.

Solving The Methane Problem

Methane accounts for nearly 9% of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and are predicted to increase through 2030 is actions are not immediately taken. Methane makes up a small portion of the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide, but is a significant component of the greenhouse effect. Methane molecules absorb 20-30 times more infrared energy than carbon dioxide molecules in their respective lifetimes in the atmosphere, and their overall contribution to the greenhouse effect is estimated at 18% compared to 63% for CO2. Add this potency to the fact that it has a short lifespan in the atmosphere of between 9-12 years (compared to 100 years for CO2), and you can start to see why cutting methane emissions now could make sense.

Methane is also the primary component of natural gas, and therefore its leaking represents a loss of useful material. It’s been suggested that the reduction of methane emissions will not only positively impact global warming, but the recovery of the gas that would have been emitted will improve power generation through natural gas.

Methane comes from a variety of sources including:

 -Coal mines
-The oil and gas sector.

All of these sources contribute to the accumulation of methane in our atmosphere, and therefore all must be addressed if the problem is to be halted entirely. One scary fact is that a large proportion of methane emissions is natural, and cannot be stopped easily. Wetlands, for example, produce a significant amount of methane, but cannot simply be drained, as this will result in a release of CO2. Scientists such as Dr. Vincent Gauci have studied this problem, but have come to the conclusion that a solution is not easily within reach.

The largest unused method of reducing man-made emissions is regulation. Many reports have been made demonstrating the effects these regulations could have on these emissions, in many cases reducing them by up to 40%.  Rules implemented by the EPA could act to severely cut down the man-made methane emissions, while further studies into the natural problem could develop a definite solution to methane released from wetlands and melting ice. Acting now is absolutely essential, as independent research suggests that even EPA reports are recording only half of the actual methane emissions the world is experiencing.