Humane Being's S.C.R.A.P. Library
How Factory Farming Harms People, Planet and Animals

The full potential of more radical change away from animal agriculture

the full potential benefit of a more radical change remains underappreciated

Methane the second most important greenhouse gas.

Its not the whole answer but represents an easily missed opportunity


Getting clear about the important differences between Co2 (Carbon Dioxide) and CH4 (Methane)


Important sources of methane

Factory farmed cattle


Seasonally flooded trees of the Amazon

Sunitha Pangala, a British post-doc researcher, spent two months traveling the Amazon’s waterway

“We found a consistent story that the trees all emit a lot of methane,” she says. “In the seasonally flooded part of the Amazon, the trees become a massive chimney for pumping out methane.” Emissions from individual trees were more than 200 times higher than any previously measured anywhere.  This was not trivial. Every hectare of flooded forests was emitting several kilograms of methane each day. The on-the-ground findings doubled previous estimates of Amazon methane emissions to around 40 million tons a year. The trees were emitting as much methane as all the tundra ecosystems of the Arctic, whose permafrost contains huge amounts of the gas — a store that is expected to be released in ever-greater quantities as the region warms and its soils thaw.
🔗Source: Scientists Zero in on Trees as a Surprisingly Large Source of Methane

GWP* — a better way of measuring methane and how it impacts global temperatures


How big is the problem / opportunity

Estimates suggest that cattle methane represents 19% of total emissions that reach the atmosphere, CO2 by comparison is absorb in various ways but not Methane

Why has this been missed - short answer its complicated


Counting based on individual animals underestimates the problem

Matthew N. Hayek Department of Environmental Studies New York University

Animal emissions are estimated using complex models, but these models can contain multiple errors that often go unreported. Modeled emissions estimates can be corroborated using measurements of greenhouse gases in the air above and downwind of areas where animals are raised, using planes, tall towers, and satellites. These atmospheric measurements suggest that total global animal emissions are accurately estimated by models. However, in the US, where production is predominantly industrialized, animal emissions are frequently underestimated by models.

and he continues

Top-down estimates indicate that total US animal methane emissions are 39-90% higher than bottom-up models predict. This implies that animal emissions in the United States, in official reports by government, such as the US EPA, and in numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, are routinely underestimated.
🔗 Source: Underestimates of US emissions and global implications for industrializing animal agriculture
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