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Scientist says U.S. livestock are not cause of global warming

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s take the claim that livestock cause global warming.

It is said that all domestic livestock contribute 14.5-percent of total greenhouse gasses, which cause global warming.

That number stands up, but how do we compare in the United States? I spoke to an air quality professor at the University of California at Davis who argues in favor of the U.S. model of more efficient livestock.

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Dr. Frank Mitloehner, from UC Davis, recently published a paper entitled Livestock and Climate Change: Facts and Fiction. Mitloehner is in the Department of Animal Science and is an Air Quality Specialist. I asked him to defend the claim that the carbon footprint of United States livestock is vastly smaller than the world average.

Dr. Mitloehner also pointed out an inconvenient truth for urban dwellers who disparage dairy cows.

“There are nine-and-a-half million horses in this country,” Mitloehner says. “There are more horses than dairy cows.”

Finally, he made the point that there are three greenhouse gasses; carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. Methane, expelled by animals is the worst, but has a redeeming quality – it oxidizes and destroys itself.

“A livestock operation that has kept its number of animals steady for 10 years or longer, has not increased its contribution to global warming.”

You can read Dr. Frank Mitloehner’s recent observations here.