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The Heat Is On For Greenhouse Gas Methane

by 5m Editor
30 April 2007, at 10:10am

BANGKOK - Across the globe, chickens and pigs are doing their bit to curb global warming. But cows and sheep still have some catching up to do.

The farm animals produce lots of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide yet is at the heart of efforts to fight climate change.

Government policies and a U.N.-backed system of emission credits is proving a money-spinner for investors, farmers and big polluters such as power stations wanting to offset their own emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2).

The reason is simple: methane is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere and it is relatively simple to capture the gas from animal waste, landfills, coal mines or leaky natural gas pipes.

"A fifth of all greenhouse gas-induced global warming has been due to methane since pre-industrial times," said climate scientist Paul Fraser of Australia, where ruminant farm animals belch out vast amounts of the gas.

Source: Reuters

5m Editor