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posted by martyb on Saturday July 12 2014, @06:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the jumpin'-jack-flash dept.

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.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by kbahey on Sunday July 13 2014, @03:32AM

    by kbahey (1147) on Sunday July 13 2014, @03:32AM (#68352) Homepage

    Vast herds of cattle are not the issue. After all, North America had huge herds roaming freely for millennia. Similar herds were in Europe as well. All these produced methane as well with no ill effect on earth's climate.

    The above is about methane only. That is not the whole picture.
    How about all the CO2 that is emitted by burning fossil fuel since the early 19th century?

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  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Sunday July 13 2014, @05:58AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Sunday July 13 2014, @05:58AM (#68389)

    How about the methane emitted by the hordes of humanity that is occupying the same space as hordes of wildlife did 200 years ago?

    / not talking about my ex

    // nope, not at all

    /// won't someone think of the, uh, buffalo?

    for (glee in 1..34) println("Guilty!")