A just-published analysis of data received from a satellite in 2004 has shown that at least during that year, livestock in the U.S. emitted more methane into the atmosphere than did the oil and gas industry. In their article published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a team of researchers from Harvard University, California Institute of Technology and the University of California studying the data note that such emissions were far higher than was reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Specifically, the researchers found satellite data showed livestock emitted 13 million tons of methane over the summer in 2004 (the EPA reported 9.7 million tons). They found the satellite data also showed that the combined emissions of the oil and gas industry amounted to 7 million tons (the EPA reported 9.9 million tons).
Unfortunately the sensor on the satellite was unable to show methane amounts after 2004, thus more data is not available. That will, however, change soon as a new satellite with sophisticated atmospheric gas monitoring sensors aboard is set to launch next year. More information on the role that methane plays in changing our climate can be found here.
There are more than seven billion people on this planet nearly all of whom fart at least once a day. As you get older farting becomes more common. God knows the bout of farting I had last night while trying to sleep rather unsuccessfully released a lot of methane.
Even those who never fart (every woman I've ever known claims to be in that class), the poo processing generates quite a bit of methane, (and Nitrous Oxide and a few other things), and while much lip-service was paid toward energy recovery by methane capture, very few plants do so. And when they do, they burn it for fuel [co2offsetresearch.org], so it all gets released as co2.
CO2 is less damaging then methane, so I suppose that is a net good.