Following up on my earlier article about the IPCC reducing their estimate of the human impact on climate change comes this incredible report entitled “Livestock’s long shadow” by the LEAD (Livestock, Environment and Development) Initiative, which is supported by the World Bank, the EU, various government minstries and departments in Europe and the US, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Let me get right to the heart of the issue, quoting from their report:

The livestock sector is…responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.

Let’s be very clear here: What this says is that between deforestation to create pastures, the emissions of greenhouse gasses in the process of making cow feed, and mostly from good old fashioned cow farts, cows are responsible for more of the pollution that people fear is causing global warming than cars, airplanes, trains, and ships combined.

While this does seem like quite a funny bit of news, it is yet another reason that we must be incredibly skeptical of dangerous and expensive policy suggestions like the Kyoto Protocols, which aim to possibly alter climate change by a fraction of a degree over decades at the cost of billions of dollars of economic output. And, if “economic output” sounds a bit theoretical to you, think of it as the likelihood that your and your children will be able to find a job.

I’ll never look at a cow the same way again. Maybe the world needs to spend a billion dollars on very large corks….

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