A solution to methane emissions?

The Herald reports:

New Zealand scientists have unveiled major leaps toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions from our belching sheep and cattle, with animal-safe compounds that can slash methane emissions by up to 90 per cent.

Curbing the release of methane gas from ruminant livestock, such as sheep and cattle, has been a long-standing headache among farmers and scientists.

The methane emissions amount to almost a third of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, and is the largest contributor compared with other sources. …

At a conference in Palmerston North this morning, the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium announced new research progress from animal trials.

More than 100,000 compounds have been screened, and many thousands tested in laboratory experiments over the past several years.

To date five compounds, selected as the most promising options, had been tested on sheep and resulted in reductions of methane emissions from 30 per cent to more than 90 per cent.

That’s extremely encouraging results.

There are many ways one can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I much prefer using science to reduce emissions, to shooting one in five cows, as the Greens propose.

Dr Rick Pridmore, the consortium’s chairman and steering group member of the Manawatu-based New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, said the successful tests of methane inhibitors was news Kiwi farmers could “get excited about”.

“The results are significant for two reasons. First, because they work on livestock consuming a grass-based diet and, second because the short-term trials showed such dramatic results,” he said.

“It must be stressed that these are early days. Further trials are needed to confirm these compounds can reduce emissions in the long term, have no adverse effects on productivity and leave no residues in meat or milk.

“We are already looking to engage with a commercial partner and, all going well, we could possibly see a commercial product within five years.”

Early days but indeed encouraging. If the research holds up, this will have global ramifications.

Comments (80)

Login to comment or vote