California to regulate cow farts to combat global warming

California to regulate cow farts to combat global warming

California cow farts
New California climate law will now regulate cow farts
California cow farts
New California climate law will now regulate cow farts

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the People’s Democratic Republic state of California has targeted flatulence produced by dairy cows in an effort to combat non-existent global warming.

According to the AP:

Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.

Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.

“If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.

Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.

Wait, what?  Let’s parse that last sentence, shall we?

“Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions…”

How are human beings responsible for cow farts?

The AP added:

In the nation’s largest milk-producing state, the new law aims to reduce methane emissions from dairies and livestock operations to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030, McCarthy said. State officials are developing the regulations, which take effect in 2024.

“We expect that this package … and everything we’re doing on climate, does show an effective model forward for others,” McCarthy said.

Dairy farmers in the state aren’t impressed and warn of higher prices.  Moreover, they say the new regulations will force farmers to leave the state.

“We think it’s very foolish for the state of California to be taking this position,” Rob Vandenheuvel, general manager for the Milk Producers Council, told the AP. “A single state like California is not going to make a meaningful impact on the climate.”

So how does California want farmers to control cow emissions?

The AP explained: “State regulators want more farmers to reduce emissions with methane digesters, which capture methane from manure in large storage tanks and convert the gas into electricity.”

The report continued:

The state has set aside $50 million to help dairies set up digesters, but farmers say that’s not nearly enough to equip the state’s roughly 1,500 dairies.

New Hope Dairy, which has 1,500 cows in Sacramento County, installed a $4 million methane digester in 2013, thanks to state grants and a partnership with California Biogas LLC, which operates the system to generate renewable power for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

Co-owner Arlin Van Groningen, a third-generation farmer, says he couldn’t afford one if he had to buy and run it himself.

“The bottom line is it’s going to negatively impact the economics of the California dairy industry,” Van Groningen said of the new law. “In the dairy business, the margins are so slim that something like this will force us out of state.”

Maybe that’s the idea…

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