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Fred Barber: Methane production in the USA

February 22, 2019 GMT

Editor: In just the USA alone there are 40 million cows, 10 million horses, 7 million sheep, 3 million goats, and several million dogs, cats, and other pets for a total of over 52 million—that’s not counting wild animals such as the grazers: deer, elk, moose, caribou (reindeer), a few buffalo, mountain sheep, goats, and a few Vicuna, Alpaca, and Llamas (camels) as pets from Peru—all producing methane as an output of the plant food they eat (and burping). AND the output of hundreds of thousands and thousands of lizards here in the Southwest that only eat plants.

Global emissions of methane are between 76 – 92 Tg per year (a Tg = 1 million metric tons). This is roughly equal to 15 percent of global methane emissions—the rest of the Earth produces 85 percent of the methane — we are a ‘drop’ in the proverbial bucket.


Methane is a more potent than CO2, which means that gram for gram methane warms the atmosphere more than CO2 (only if you believe we humans cause global warming—I don’t—G.W. is a natural phenomenon).

Methane also has a much shorter lifetime in the atmosphere compared to CO2. This also means that any reductions in methane emissions has a far less impact on our atmosphere than by reducing CO2 output.

But you must remember these grazing animals eat only plants. When plants rot, almost all produce methane—some in huge amounts. Plus mining, petroleum, natural gas, landfills, and fermentation action (grapes)—methane also comes from natural sources such as sediments, billions of termites, wildfires, lakes, oceans, and volcanoes.

So this 29 year old barista in the House of Representatives from NYC has never taken a Biology class or Botany class in her young life. And the ‘Spartan’ Booker has not taken the classes either.

Fred Barber

Lake Havasu City