COP26: Climate Change, Modi, Methane and Cow Burps/Farts

India's largest cow herd in the world makes it the third biggest global methane emitter. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) 84 times greater than CO2. At COP26 in Glasgow, 104 nations agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. India, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, refused to join this agreement, as did the top two emitters China and Russia. Pakistan, the 8th largest methane emitter, did make the methane cut pledge. 

Top Global Emitters of Methane. Source: Financial Times

Cattle Emissions:

Cow burps and farts are major contributors to global warming. The digestive processes of ruminants, including buffalos and cows, produce methane, a greenhouse gas which is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet. India has over 300 million ruminants, about one-third of the global cattle herd population. Pakistan has about 100 million buffalos and cows. 

Methane Emissions From Fossil Fuels. 

The world's top 5 agriculture methane emitters are 1. India, 2. China, 3. Brazil, 4. United States and 5. Pakistan. 

Methane Emission Sources. Source: Financial Times

Industrial Emissions:

Majority of the methane emissions in the industrialized world come from fossil fuels, including natural gas, oil and coal. In India, about 30% of the methane comes from industrial processes while 70% is contributed by livestock. In Pakistan, industrial and domestic consumption of natural gas contributes 40% of methane emission while the rest come from agriculture.  There is strong correlation between industrial emissions and GDP intensity. The regions with the highest GDP per kilometer have the highest levels of industrial emissions of CO2 and methane. 

GDP Density Per Square Kilometer 


Both industrial and agriculture sources of methane emissions need to be managed to achieve 30% cut by 2030 pledged by 105 nations. Industrial emissions will require plugging leaks in the production, transmission and distribution networks of natural gas. 

There are a number of ideas being pursued to reduce emissions from buffalos and cows. These range from animal feed additives to produce less gas to the use of face masks.      

 A sensor in the animal face mask detects the percentage of methane that is expelled when the cow exhales. When methane levels exceed a certain limit, the mask channels the gas towards an oxidation mechanism inside, which contains a catalyst that converts methane into CO2 and water, and expels it from the device. 


Burps and farts from ruminants like buffalos and cows are a major source of global warming. These emissions contain methane gas which is 84 times more potent than CO2 in causing global warming. In addition, there are significant methane emissions from industrial and domestic use of fossil fuels like natural gas, oil and coal. At COP26 in Glasgow, 104 nations agreed to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. India refused to join this agreement. Pakistan, the 8th largest methane emitter, did make the methane cut pledge. 


Riaz Haq said…
How methane-producing cows leapt to the frontline of climate change
From garlic-infused pellets to face masks — the lengths employed by farmers to cut greenhouse gas emissions

As the impact of methane emissions has become clearer, the dairy and meat industries are in the direct line of fire. Domesticated animals emit about 5 per cent of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, although that rises to 14.5 per cent when feed production, transport and other factors are taken into account, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

About 1.5bn cattle produce 7 gigatonnes per year, or 60 per cent of livestock emissions, with almost 40 per cent coming in the form of methane. Although it lasts for less time in the atmosphere, the greenhouse gas is about 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a factor in global warming.

Cows, and other “ruminant” animals whose stomachs are divided into compartments, produce methane during “enteric fermentation”, the digestive process as enzymes in their gut break down grass, hay and other feed. The gas, which builds up in stomachs, is then emitted largely through their burps.

Tackling the methane problem is both urgent and difficult. While carbon dioxide is “the most important” contributor to human-induced warming, methane is the next most significant, a report from another UN body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded in August.


Agriculture is the leading source of global methane, accounting for about 40 per cent, the bulk of which comes from livestock. Brades Farm is part of a growing movement in the industry, with farmers and food companies competing to be viewed as green and responsible, by planting trees or switching to regenerative farming, largely focusing on natural methods to improve soil health and boost biodiversity.

“There are big climate risks for all of us if we don’t get on top of food system emissions,” says John Lynch, a researcher on the climate effects of meat and dairy production at Oxford university. Consumers in the west, especially the younger generation, are moving away from products with a significant climate footprint. “If the sector is not making serious attempts to reduce its impacts then it will start to lose its social licence,” he adds.

Riaz Haq said…
How methane-producing cows leapt to the frontline of climate change
From garlic-infused pellets to face masks — the lengths employed by farmers to cut greenhouse gas emissions

Incentivising farmers, especially those in developing countries, to start using methane-reducing solutions will be difficult. Companies including Mootral hope carbon offsets might help farmers by generating credits, which represent emissions avoided or removed from the atmosphere, and sell them for cash.

Offsets are generated by activities including tree planting, carbon capture technology and even Mootral’s supplement, and are increasingly sought after by organisations aiming to compensate for their own emissions. DSM says it is exploring the launch of a carbon credit scheme to coincide with when its supplement hits the market.

Back in Lancashire, the Towers family says its quest for lower emissions has sparked interest from customers and fellow farmers. “There are a lot of people under a lot of pressure” to reduce their emissions, says Towers’ father, John. “Our industry is waking up to the fact that it has to change.”

The younger Towers says the switch to lower methane milk has been easier for Brades than it would be for many dairy farmers, since they sell premium milk to upmarket suppliers and caf├ęs in London, such as Allpress Espresso and Gails. “We’re lucky because our customers are discerning and they generally can afford to choose to use us.” 

Even with the additional revenue from the sale of offsets, farmers are likely to need government support to start investing in emissions reduction solutions. More consumers need to start purchasing low-methane products to support the effort, but the products cost more. A 2-litre bottle of Brades milk retails for about £2.70, more than double what supermarkets charge for own-label milk.

“Some people need to buy the cheapest [milk] they can find to feed their families,” says Towers. Supermarkets, he adds, have “a disproportionate amount of power.” They could choose to buy climate-friendly products, rather than engaging in a “race to be the cheapest”.

Nevertheless, he believes that the whole industry can make that shift. “The most important industry around climate change is farming . . . we really are the [one] that has the ability collectively to have a really positive impact, [and] the biggest responsibility, which is feeding everyone else who doesn’t farm.”
Riaz Haq said…
As of 2018, agricultural methane emissions in India was 498,490 thousand metric tons of CO2 equivalent that accounts for 14.19% of the world's agricultural methane emissions. The top 5 countries (others are China, Brazil, the United States of America, and Pakistan) account for 42.47% of it.
Riaz Haq said…
#America Isn’t Ready for the #ElectricVehicle Revolution. #China controls Lithium-ion battery supply chain. #Russia's #Putin predicts #oil will reach $100 a barrel next year. #energy #FossilFuels #EnergyTransition #RenewableEnergy by Steve LeVine

China’s buildup continues to this day. Just a few weeks ago, Contemporary Amperex Technology, China’s largest battery manufacturer, said it would invest up to $4.96 billion on a plant to recycle used E.V. batteries. That was on top of the company’s $297 million acquisition of Canada’s Millennial Lithium Corporation, which was announced in September.

Can the United States hope to ever catch up? In recent months, General Motors, Stellantis and Toyota have each announced plans to build massive battery factories in North America. Ford said it and its South Korean partner will build three U.S. battery plants by 2025 with enough capacity to equip one million E.V.s a year. But no one seems to know exactly how the battery supply chain will come together and where they will obtain each of the necessary precursors, like cobalt and manganese.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, last month added his voice to a bullish chorus predicting $100-a-barrel oil — double the price at the start of the year. He may have been showing restraint: Some traders are betting on an unprecedented $200 a barrel by the end of 2022. The return of a frenzied oil market is conjuring up unwelcome memories of a global petroleum goliath with the power to influence Western geostrategy and roil societies everywhere.

Yet this is the old story. We now stand at the precipice of the age of batteries and electric vehicles, technologies likely to steamroll fossil-fuel companies and petro states. From a few thousand fully electric cars sold around the world in the late aughts, consumers are on track to buy four million of them this year.

So far, the United States appears to be little more than a spectator to this revolution. While its battery makers and automakers are poised to produce cutting-edge batteries and popular electric vehicles, they will rely almost entirely on a supply chain controlled by China. Over the past decade, China has built up most of the world’s capacity to process the metals that make lithium-ion batteries — the heart of the electric vehicle revolution — work. It is this capacity that puts China in the catbird seat in the race for the future while America falls farther and farther behind.

Following the financial crash of 2008, the United States and China, along with Japan, South Korea and other countries, began an undeclared race to create and reap the dividends of the E.V. industry, including associated businesses such as battery production. This led the United States and China to inject stout public funding into battery and E.V. start-ups and established companies, in hopes of kick-starting an economic recovery.

In the United States, initially buoyant public and political support for President Barack Obama’s strategy eroded within just a couple of years, following accusations of squandered public funds in a government-backed loan to Solyndra, a California solar panel company that fell victim to cheap Chinese imports.

In China, by contrast, state-backed companies have secured a reliable supply of the raw metals and elements behind E.V. batteries. In the last three and a half years alone, Chinese companies have been the biggest international buyers of additional lithium assets amid soaring prices for the metal.

By 2018, Chinese companies also owned half of the largest cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the source of most of the world’s supply of the metal. Government funding for China’s electric vehicle sector during the past decade amounted to more than $100 billion, according to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Riaz Haq said…
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of #Indian state of Madhya Pradesh: "Cow dung and urine can strengthen #India's #economy.....a lot of work cannot progress without #cows or ox. Therefore, they are very crucial" #Hindutva #BJP #Modi via @IndianExpress

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said that cows, along with their dung and urine, can play a crucial role in strengthening the economy of the country.

“A lot of work cannot progress without cows or ox. Therefore, they are very crucial. Cows, their dung and urine can help strengthen the economy of the state and the country if a proper system is put in place,” Singh said while addressing a convention of the women’s wing of the Indian Veterinary Association in Bhopal.

He added, “We are trying our best to lend support. And with the contribution of women in this field, I am sure that we will succeed. From cow dung and urine, you can make a range of important substances, starting from pesticides to medicines.”

Madhya Pradesh boasts of the country’s first cow sanctuary whose foundation was laid by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Last year, the BJP government in the state had announced the constitution of a “gau cabinet” (cow cabinet) with ministers of six departments who would work towards the protection of cows and promotion of cow produce in the state.

The Congress manifesto for the 2018 Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh had also focused on cows, with the grand old party having promised to build gaushalas in every panchayat and start the commercial production of gau mutra (cow urine). The Congress had promised to build many more cow sanctuaries and provide grants for their upkeep and maintenance.

In 2018, Tripura CM Biplab Deb had insisted on rearing cows as means of employment for the youth, saying that unlike setting up big industries in which “one has to invest Rs 10,000 crore for employing 2000 people”, giving 10,000 cows to 5,000 families will help people start earning in “6 months”.
Riaz Haq said…
#India waters down #COP26 #ClimateChange agreement with “phasing down unabated coal", not "phasing out unabated coal". India relies on #coal for bulk of its #energy needs. Coal is the dirtiest fuel. Coal is the biggest contributor to #GlobalWarming.

The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow has ended with nearly 200 countries endorsing an agreement to cut carbon emissions, scale back the use of coal and fossil fuels and provide more support to developing nations to help them adapt to global warming.

The agreement, called the Glasgow Climate Pact, came late Saturday at the United Nations conference after a one-day delay and three draft proposals. It builds on the 2015 Paris climate treaty by listing a series of decisions and resolutions that all countries have agreed to adopt. They include a commitment to accelerating national action plans to limit global warming.

The overall objective of the pact is to cap the rise in the global temperature at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, which scientists say is critical to avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.

The deal nearly fell through when India’s Environment Minister, Bhupender Yadav, introduced a change that diluted language relating to coal just seconds before delegates were set to approve the agreement.

Instead of countries agreeing to “phase out” the use of unabated coal, Mr. Yadav proposed “phase down.” Many delegates were furious at the intervention, but in the end they had little choice but to accept India’s amendment or risk the deal falling apart.

COP26 President Alok Sharma apologized for putting delegates in a bind over India’s intervention. Afterward, he told reporters: “Of course I wish that we had managed to preserve the language on coal that was originally agreed.”

John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, called the pact a “powerful statement” that raised global ambitions to protect the planet. “Not everyone in public life gets to make choices about life and death,” he said during a plenary session on Saturday. “Not everyone gets to make choices that actually affect an entire planet. We here are privileged today to do exactly that.”

However, the deal received only lukewarm backing from delegates representing dozens of poorer countries. They said it contains far too many compromises and fails to commit developed countries to paying for the damage climate change has already done to the developing world.

The deal “does not bring hope to our hearts, but serves as yet another conversation where we put our homes on the line while those who have other options decide how quickly they want to act,” said Shauna Aminath, the minister of environment for the Maldives.

“I need some more reassurance from our developed-country partners,” said Gabon’s environment minister, Lee White. “Africa risks being destabilized by climate change. It’s already, in certain of our countries, a matter of life and death. Already we are seeing some of our nations failing.”

There were also questions about whether the agreement will achieve its main objective: meeting the 1.5-degree target.

As part of the COP process, more than 100 countries, including Canada, have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 or 2050, although China’s target is 2060 and India’s is 2070. However, a recent report from Climate Action Tracker, a coalition of scientists from around the world, said the goals are little more than “false hope.” The group said that, based on the commitments made at COP26, the Earth is set to warm by 2.4 degrees by 2100. Even if every country fully met its targets, a 1.8-degree rise was likely, the report added.

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