[rotated_ad] New Zealand tackles climate change with cow burp tax -

New Zealand tackles climate change with cow burp tax

June 10, 2022 – A draft proposal in New Zealand aims to tackle methane emissions linked to global warming, one cow and sheep burp at a time. If the plan passes, the nation would become the first to charge farmers for methane emissions from their livestock.

“There is no doubt that we need to reduce the amount of methane we put into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key role in how we achieve this,” explained the New Zealand’s climate change minister, James Shaw. BBC News.

New Zealand’s resolution comes amid growing global concern over methane emissions and growing criticism over the country’s past inaction over the farming sector’s hand in global warming.

The science of cow burping explained

Although the docile animals don’t appear to be a global threat, they are prolific when it comes to their methane emissions.

Cows and sheep belong to a class of mammals called ruminants because they have stomachs separated into compartments, the largest of which is the rumen. The rumen chamber is populated by a community of microbes that help break down fibrous plant cellulose that animals are unable to digest.

This process, known as enteric fermentation, releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere every time one of the beasts burps – which is quite often.

Globally, cattle burps are responsible for about 10% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization United Nations. Each of the 1.4 billion cows in the world burps up to 500 liters of methane a day. In Australia, farm animals are responsible for nearly half of the country’s methane emissions.

Climatologists are interested in the containment of carbon dioxide and methane, the two most common greenhouse gases. Methane is 80 times more potent for global warming than carbon dioxide, with atmospheric methane proliferating faster than ever, in the United States The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration complaints.

A tax on animal fuel

New Zealand’s proposal would start taxing livestock belching in 2025 while offering incentives to cut emissions by feeding farm animals a special diet and planting trees to offset their pollution. The tax revenue thus generated would be reinvested in research and agricultural support services.

Other strategies to clean the air include face masks for cows that trap and turn methane into water and carbon dioxide, a method that cuts emissions by more than 50% according to Zelp, the company that invented the gear. Some farmers are already experimenting seaweed foods. And scientists tinker with cow genetics to increase their digestive efficiency.

The proposal could potentially be the biggest regulatory disruption to farming since farm subsidies were scrapped in the 1980s, said Susan Kilsby, agricultural economist at ANZ Bank. Reuters.

A final decision on the plan is expected by the end of the year, she said.

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