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…
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.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: University adopts several steps to reduce carbon emissions
NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi to only allow bicycles on campus

Karachi: One of the biggest and oldest engineering universities in Pakistan, the NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi, will only allow the use of bicycles by the students, faculty, and staff on its sprawling campus every Friday in an effort to make it a carbon-neutral venue.

Vice-Chancellor of NED University Prof Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodi stated this as he was one of the keynote speakers at the Annual Environment Conference organized here at a hotel by National Forum for Environment & Health.

He said that only bicycles would be allowed to be used inside the campus when the university would formally resume academic activities from October 19th, 2020 after the coronavirus emergency.

He said that a number of environment friendly measures were being adopted by his university to make its campus a carbon-neutral venue by the year 2021 in connection with the centennial celebrations of its foundation.

Tree plantation
He said that extensive tree plantation, use of energy efficient appliances, energy conservation, reduction in carbon emissions with lesser use of fossil fuel, and greater reliance on renewable resources of energy would be some of the measures being adopted by the university to make its campus a carbon-neutral venue. The NED University has around 12,000 students and over 500 faculty-members as offsetting the Carbon Dioxide emissions on the campus is a major challenge.

Also speaking on the occasion, Sindh Forests and Wildlife Secretary Abdul Rahim Soomro said that tree plantation carried out along the Lyari Expressway in Karachi from Mauripur Bridge was the first successful scheme of urban forest in the province that is now visible to everyone. He said that urban forest schemes were also pursued at the University of Karachi, Shah Faisal Colony, Thaddo Dam in Gadap, areas of Karachi and at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

Major issue
He said that encroachment of the forest land was a major issue pertaining to his department as 1,39,000 acres of such forest area had been retrieved in the province from the encroachers. He said that forests had been regenerated on 40,000 acres area of Sindh. He said that tree plantation had been carried out along total 350 kilometres length of different roads and highways in the province.

Soomro said that services of up to 25 female forest officers of Sindh Forests Department had been utilized for a social mobilization campaign as they had been going to different schools to give lectures to students on the importance of greenery and tree plantation.

Sindh Information and Forests Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah informed the audience that Sindh government’s drive to grow mangrove forests along the coastal belt of the province had been recognized at the 2019 United Nations’ Climate Change Conference 2019 in Madrid where Pakistan was represented by Prime Minister’s Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. He said that this international recognition of the forestry drive of the Sindh government was a big achievement as the campaign to increase green cover in the province would continue in accordance with the global standards.
Riaz Haq said…
Wheat Can’t Catch a Break Right Now
India’s giant heat wave is having ripple effects for the world’s food supply.

By Robinson Meyer

For the past few days, a heat wave of mind-boggling scale and intensity has gripped South Asia. More than 1 billion people in India and Pakistan have endured daytime highs of 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Delhi, the world’s second-largest city, has suffered through back-to-back days of 110-degree Fahrenheit heat. And Nawabshah, Pakistan—a city of nearly 230,000 people in the country’s desert south—came within half a degree of 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), the temperature at which the human body starts to cook.

The heat wave has a horrific human cost. Dozens of people have died of heatstroke, according to reports from NPR. It will have a climate cost. Although only the richest Indians own air conditioners, electricity demand is so high that the country is planning to import additional coal to keep its power grid alive.

The heat wave will also have an economic cost—one that will ripple beyond the subcontinent. As I’ve written about before, the world is suffering through a shortage of crucial commodities, including keystone cereal crops such as wheat. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it scrambled an already strained global wheat market—Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter; Ukraine, the world’s sixth largest—and sent prices soaring. India, which has enjoyed five straight years of record wheat crops, jumped in and offered to export more than usual.

The heat wave has, for now, thrown those plans into doubt. Some Indian farmers have estimated that 10 to 15 percent of their crop has died, according to Monika Tothova, an economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. But it’s too early to know exactly how the heat wave will shape the crop.

Food shortages and rising grain prices can bend the trajectory of history. Some commentators assert they played an outsize role in the Arab Spring revolutions a decade ago. (Other experts disagree.) I have had a hard time keeping track of the many story lines involved in the current crunch, so earlier this week, I called Tothova to chat about why food prices are so high, how much climate change is to blame, and what might happen next. Here are a few takeaways from our conversation:

1. India will still probably have excess wheat. The only question is how much.

India’s biggest annual wheat crop is the rabi, which is planted from October to December and harvested in the early spring, Tothova told me. In each of the past five years, India has achieved record-breaking wheat production during its rabi season. It was on track for another bumper year when the heat wave struck.

The country got a little lucky on timing. In southern and central India, the rabi has already been harvested or is being gathered now. But big questions remain about the health of wheat in northern India, the country’s most productive region, where the crop remains largely unharvested and has therefore been baking in the searing heat. “The heat itself will not hurt the grain,” Tothova said. What agronomists worry about instead, she said, is a phenomenon called “terminal heat stress,” where extreme heat overtaxes the plant and prevents it from forming any grain at all.

If much of northern India’s wheat had yet to form its grain before the heat wave began, the effects could be severe. Northern India also drives most of the variation in India’s wheat crop: When the rabi has a bumper year, it’s because northern India boomed. Climate change actually contributed to that recent bump in a small but positive way. There’s more irrigation in northern fields now than there used to be, Tothova said, because melting glaciers in the Himalayas have increased river flow into the country. (Of course, now farmers are feeling the other side of that coin.)
Riaz Haq said…
#India ramps up #coal production & consumption amid record-setting #HeatWaves, although #Modi pledged to be a leader in #renewableenergy. #FossilFuels #Solar #Wind #climate #COP26 #BJP #energy #economy

But India has installed less than 100 gigawatts of solar and wind power so far, and most Indian analysts say the 175 gigawatt goal is beyond reach this year.

Had India stuck to its pledge on renewables, it would not have faced a power shortage this spring, according to estimates from the Climate Risk Horizons consultancy in New Delhi. Even on April 29, when Delhi reached 110 degrees — the second-highest temperature for that month in 70 years — and peak electricity demand hit a record high, India could have met the need had it been on track to install 160 gigawatts of solar and wind power by the end of the year, said Ashish Fernandes, the consultancy’s chief executive.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has long touted his vision of turning India into a leader in renewable energy. Recent weeks have revealed a more complicated reality.

In the past month, as India broiled under a historic heat wave and consumed a record amount of electricity for cooling, the Coal Ministry announced it would reopen old mines and increase output by 100 million tons. As cities went into rolling blackouts because of electricity shortages, the Power Ministry ordered plants that burn imported coal to run at full capacity.

The environment ministry has given coal mines permission to boost production by up to 50 percent without seeking new permits, according to a May 7 memo. The memo attributed the relaxed environmental regulations to “huge pressure on domestic coal supply in the country” and said “all efforts are being made to meet the demand of coal.”

The developments highlight the persistent, even growing, reliance on coal in the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases — and one of the foremost victims of climate change.

Although analysts acknowledge that India faces a genuine dilemma in how to meet its soaring energy demands, many say the government is sending mixed policy signals by promoting coal mining and power generation as it trumpets its green ambitions on the international stage. In the run-up to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Modi pledged to install 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022. He later raised that target to 450 gigawatts by 2030.

Riaz Haq said…
A new low: India is last in environmental performance index for 2022


Pakistan Rank 176 EPI Score 24.60 Ten Year Change 1.40

India Rank 180 EPI Score 18.90 Ten Year Change -0.60

Bangladesh Rank 177 EPI Score 23.10 Ten Year Change -1.90


As per EPI estimates, only a handful of countries, including Denmark and the United Kingdom, are on track to meet net zero emission goals by 2050. Nations such as China, India, and Russia are headed towards the wrong direction with rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions.

India scored the lowest among 180 countries in the 2022 Environment Performance Index (EPI), an analysis by researchers of Yale and Columbia University which provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. The EPI ranks 180 countries on 40 performance indicators including climate change, environmental public health, biodiversity, among others.

India ranked at the bottom with a total score of 18.9, while Denmark was the top scorer as the world’s most sustainable country.

“…For the overall performance and ranking EPI, each country’s performance is viewed across numerous (18) categories like ecosystem vitality, biodiversity and habitat, ecosystem services and grassland loss. Unfortunately, India is consistently ranking either at the bottom or close to the bottom in almost all the categories, both regionally and globally," as per a statement by EPI.

“This is fundamentally a question of the development model and pathways we want to pursue and the lifestyles that we as citizens want to adopt. Destroying the environment and nature in the name of ‘development’ should no longer be the path, whatever might be the justification. Such an approach is just not tenable any more," said Ravi Chellam, CEO, Metastring Foundation & Coordinator, Biodiversity Collaborative.

The United States placed at the 20th spot of the 22 wealthy democracies in the global west and 43rd overall. The relatively low ranking reflects the rollback of environmental protections during the Trump administration. “The withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and weakened methane emission rules meant that US lost time to mitigate climate change while many of its peers in the developed world enacted policies to significantly reduce their greenhouse emissions."

The conclusions from the EPI analysis suggest that efficient policy results are directly associated with GDP per capita. The economic prosperity makes it possible for the nations to invest in policies and programs that help lead desirable outcomes.

For the pursuit of economic prosperity manifested in industrialisation and urbanisation, trends that pose climate change strains ecosystem vitality, especially in the developing world where air and water emissions remain significant.

Data suggests, according to EPI, that developing countries do not have to sacrifice sustainability for economic security. The steps taken for climate action initiated by policymakers and stakeholders in leading countries demonstrate that focused attention can mobilise communities to protect natural resources and human well being.
Riaz Haq said…
India has opposed the developed world's efforts to extend the scope of mitigation to agriculture at the ongoing U.N. climate summit in Egypt, saying rich nations do not want to change their lifestyles to reduce emissions and are "searching for cheaper solutions abroad", sources said on Thursday.

Expressing concern over the draft decision text on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, India said developed countries are blocking a pro-poor and pro-farmer decision by insisting on expanding the scope for mitigation to agriculture, thereby compromising the very foundation of food security in the world, a source in the Indian delegation said.

In most developing countries across the world, agriculture is done by small and marginal farmers who toil hard and brave the vagaries of extreme weather and climate variability as well as the additional stress of climate change.
Riaz Haq said…
Green investment on rise, Pakistan to get 30 % renewable energy - Pakistan Observer

Until now, renewable energy sources make up a very minor fraction of Pakistan’s overall power generation mix. According to a recent report of the National Electric Power Regulatovry Authority, the installed capacity for wind and solar accounts for roughly 4.2% (1,831 MW) and 1.4% (630 MW) of a total of 43,775 MW, respectively.

China is already the biggest investor in green energy in Pakistan. Currently, out of the $144 million in foreign investment in solar PV plants in Pakistan, $125 million is from China, accounting for nearly 87% of the total.

Thanks to Chinese investments, a few weeks ago Federal Power Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan inaugurated two new wind energy projects in Jhimpir, Thatta District, Sindh, with an aim to produce cheaper and clean electricity through indigenous energy sources. Wind projects in this region have been one of several renewable energy projects to have received Chinese investment in recent years. Around 90 kilometers from Karachi, Jhimpir is the heartland of the country’s largest ‘Wind corridor’, which has the potential to produce 11,000 megawatts (MW) of energy from green resources.

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