Current climate plans are not enough to avoid disastrous climate change, UN says


Via Flickr

Grace Smith | October 28, 2022

The world’s governments haven’t dedicated enough attention or promise to bypass the catastrophic climate change effects, the United Nations said in a released report on Oct. 26. This puts the world on course for a 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures by the end of the century. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that CO2 emissions need to be cut by 43 percent by 2030, but existing climate plans demonstrate a 10.6 percent increase instead.

“The downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “But the science is clear and so are our climate goals under the Paris Agreement. We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” Stiell warned.

Cutting methane emissions — the second largest contributor to climate change — would be the quickest and most effective way to alter the fast pace of global warming. Methane emissions have an 80 times more significant warming effect than carbon dioxide over 20 years.

Stiell suggested an urgent call for global leaders to seal the gap between where emissions are leaning toward and where science displays levels should be, calling for nations to be focused on a few key aspects: mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.

New Zealand farm reduces cow burps, methane emissions


Via Flickr

Grace Smith | October 14, 2022

Trials in New Zealand suggest that calves emit 20 percent fewer methane emissions after receiving probiotics, according to Shalome Bassett, a scientist at Fonterra Research and Development Centre. Since the trial, New Zealand said it would cut biogenic methane emissions by 10% on 2017 levels by 2030 and up to 47% by 2050.

Cows in New Zealand are fed Kowbucha, a probiotic that reduces burps, or methane emissions. Scientists at Fonterra have been undergoing trials on cows since 2021 to determine if the Kowbucha reduces methane emissions.

“Probiotics are great because they’re a really natural solution,” Bassett told Reuters. “Whatever we do, it has to be something that’s easy for the farmer to use, has to be cost-effective, and we have to ensure that it’s good for the cow and doesn’t have any effect on the milk.”

In 2025, New Zealand will become the first country to charge for agricultural emissions, including cow and sheep burping. As of now, agricultural emissions account for over half of the country’s emissions. 

Fonterra hopes to have Kowbucha in stores by 2024 before prices are put on emissions.

Agricultural and environmental interests may be at odds


Photo by OakleyOriginals; Flickr
Photo by OakleyOriginals; Flickr

Earlier this week, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and several other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee met with U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. The aim of the closed-door meeting was to clarify several intersections between environmental regulations and agricultural practices.

However, the meeting failed to resolve tensions between the two interests. Grassley released a statement noting his discontent with the EPA’s efforts, stating that “the meeting did little to alleviate [his] concerns.”

Issues discussed in the meeting included methane emission regulations, the amount of ethanol in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and U. S. Supreme Court decisions on the 1972 Clean Water Act. EPA officials maintain that agricultural exemptions are still in place, while Republican senators claim that the Agency is overreaching.

Republican committee members had called for the meeting in a May 23 letter.