How Can I Be Expected to Take Global Warming Seriously?

Lately many of the studies, reports, and ideas that have come out about global warming and ways to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmostphere have been down right silly and ridiculous.  How can I be expected to take it seriously?  honestly, it baffles the mind.  One of the things that verges on ridiculous are the popular “carbon offsets” that hypocritcal rich people use to justify their extravagant lifestyle while still feeling good about criticizing middle-class moms for driving SUV’s, that is stupid, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Hollywood.  What really gets ridiculous and makes it hard to believe the claims of some scientists about global warming is when I see unbelievable articles like this one on Yahoo!, titled:

Cows that Burp Less Seen Helping in Climate Fight 

The opening paragraph:

Manners aside, getting cows to burp less can help reduce global warming.

Using modern plant-breeding methods to find new diets for cows that make them belch less is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said on Monday.

Seriously? Is this what science has been reduced to?   They are trying to tell me that getting cows to burp just a little less each day would make an impact on the amount of methane in the atmosphere?  This is among the stupidest thing I have ever heard. If I had seen this article in The Onion I would have laughed a lot, sadly I didn’t.  Let’s read more:

He (Michael Abberton) noted the average dairy cow belches out about 100 to 200 liters of methane each day, making diet changes a key potential factor in reducing this greenhouse gas.

“There is a common misperception about how methane gets into the atmosphere,” he said. “It is actually through belching rather than the other end.”

What really upsets me about articles like this is that some crazy politician in Britain and, likely, here in the U.S. will use this as a rally call to establish more rules and regulations on our cattle industries, thus causing breeders to spend more money, go through more red-tape, and be subject to more inspections.  As a result, the cost of everything cow related will go up ranging from steaks to milk to leather.  Not only that, it would eventually harm certain grain industries that rely on producing cow feed or, for those ranches where cattle simply feed from whatever grass and grains grow on the land, ranchers will be forced to buy specific, FDA approved feed for their cows.  So what does it come down too?  More government control, less freedom, and higher costs for consumers.   All in order to minimize the amount of times a cow burps in order to save us all from global warming, nevermind the likelyhood that this would have little to no impact whatsoever.


Filed under Climate, Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Earth, Election 2008, Environment, Global Warming, Liberal, Liberalism, Media, Meteorology, People, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Republicans, Science, Weather

9 responses to “How Can I Be Expected to Take Global Warming Seriously?

  1. Joe

    So you disagree with this simply because it sounds ridiculous to you? Have you looked at the evidence?

    Your knee-jerk reaction to this certainly reduces the credibility of the anti-global warming crowd in my eyes.

  2. Whether global warming is real or not, this stuff is just plain crazy. I’d like to see the animal rights activists and environmentalists square off in a battle to see how much they’ll let a cow burp. These ridiculous “problems” reduce the credibility of environmentalists in my eyes.

  3. Joe

    So this stuff is crazy whether cows are significant producers methane or not? Why is it crazy to study whether or not a simple change in the diet of cows can reduce the production of a green house gas?

    You wouldn’t be willing to pay an extra penny a pound for your beef to help reduce green house gas emissions? If so, shouldn’t we be willing to look into the possibility?

  4. Joe,

    Here’s why this is dumb: Even if we were to have a not-really-achievable result and reduce our cows belching by 50%. All the time, energy and money that it would take to regulate AND ENFORCE the change in diet required to make that would probably trump the 3% reduction of green house gases. In other words, we’re talking about wasting bullets on skinny rabbits.

    A smart world leader would take the number one offender of greenhouse gas emissions, and attempt to reduce the overall total emissions by trimming the “fat rabbit” as it were.

    Speaking of the $0.01 / lb scenario. I would gladly chip in the 1.95 for my families estimated consumption this year, but it won’t be a penny. The new diet is going to be more expensive than it is now, and I’m betting it’s going to me more than 4 dollars a pound of total cost (which would be about the minimum cost, assuming no difference in overhead cost; which is also wrong).

    I think our fight against global warming needs to be in the alternative fuel market, which our politicians are currently being convinced by lobbyist to not pursue because of stupid red herring theories like this one.

    My $.02


  5. Joe

    Not many alternative fuels would reduce green house gas emissions.

    You will never know the amount of contributions that cows make to green house gases or how much it would cost to change that if you dismiss the pursuit of the issue as ridiculous.

    Your original disagreement was not that the cow contribution was insignificant. That’s a legitimate argument that could be supported by data. It is not ridiculous to pursue it at all. It is ridiculous to dismiss it on the basis that it is ridiculous. It wouldn’t be if it is an insignificant contribution.

    There are a lot of cows out there. 😉

  6. No I wouldn’t spend one more penny per pound so cows won’t burp. Call me careless when it comes to the environment or just plain frugal. Cows have been around for as long as we have, so why should they have to change their burping habits? We’ve got bigger fish to fry when it comes to the environment. Oops, does frying hurt the environment? Looks like we’re screwed any way we go.

  7. Joe,

    They (the scientists) have already estimated that in worldwide numbers, cow’s methane burping comprises somewhere 8-9% of total emissions.

    The numbers I gave you were assuming (which is wrong, but we err on the side of liberal) that 50% of the cows in the world that are currently belching are in the United States. Thus a 50% reduction of 4.5 % is 3% (rounding up of course).

    My whole point is that it’s not near probable to re-engineer the cow’s digestive process to the tune of 50% efficiency gain. Even if we, the US, did hit that pie in the sky number, the regulation and enforcement of the policy that created that gain would negate the gain itself. Then we’d have to figure out how to transport the dietary content to the third world cows in China for this to become even remotely effective. It’s a stupid idea, because they are missing the mark, as I said, let’s go after the fat rabbit.

    RE: Alternative fuels. You don’t believe that alternative energy will reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Where my friend do you believe the majority of these gases are coming from? Clean burning energy powering the world’s factories, transit systems and inefficient cars will reduce greenhouse emissions. If you don’t believe me, ask the scientists.


  8. Joe

    It depends on what the alternatives are. Using biofuel at this point is not even viable in the United States let alone able to work while producing less pollution.

    Don’t get me wrong we need alternative fuels, because fossil fuels won’t last forever. But the only real way to reduce the greenhouse effect is to use energy from hydroelectric, wind, solar, etc and drop the burning of things all together. That and reduce energy consumption overall as well.

    Braden: Cows have not been around as long as humans. They are a domesticated animal. They depend on us to survive. We have already re engineered the cow. All I am suggesting is that we should be willing to look into changing their diet to reduce methane.

    I’m not sure why it is so controversial to suggest we at least follow up on the possibility. Certainly if we find it isn’t worth the cost of trying it, we shouldn’t do it. It is much better to actually figure that out though, than simply to discard the whole idea as ridiculous.

  9. spence

    if we fund development of a grain that will cause cows to burp less, will we fund research to develop a way to cause less burping/flatulating amongst us humans? just something to think about……

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