Cows and Cars Re-engineering vs. Global Warming

 

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Just one of the things I had to endure in a yuppie’s life this past week. After two dry months of what supposedly should have started the rainy season, (June and July,) it just won’t stop raining these days. After concerns of the dams’ water levels going critical, we now get urban flashfloods for almost the entire month of August so far. The previous years might have gotten people to get used to rains and floods from storms this time of the year but back then, the typhoon visits were somewhat staggered compared to the continuous run of storms now.

Whether the change in climate has to do with the global warming issue or not, I hope to have a ceasefire from the rains soon. I sure could use a rain-free week, (or weekend at least.)  Anyway here’s a couple of global warming tidbits:

Cow Modifications

One nice thing about the attention and concern given to global warming is that it had scientists looking for a lot of ways to curb harmful emissions to the atmosphere even from those from where we least expect.

For instance, in the Christian Science Monitor report, “How better-fed cows could cool the planet“, cows are put in focus as they along with other “ruminant livestock – including… goats, and buffaloes – produce about 80 million metric tons of methane a year, accounting for about 28 percent of man-made methane emissions annually.” The article simply puts it:

When cows digest, they burp methane gas, a powerful greenhouse agent. Scientists are working to try to reduce that.

And proceeds to detail how scientists are looking at changing the grasses and livestocks these cows eat to playing around with their digestive mechanisms. Other important points and interesting facts from the said report include:

  • According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, pound for pound methane is about 21 times more effective at warming Earth’s atmosphere than carbon dioxide is.
  • According to researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba “the production of one kilogram of beef (2.2 pounds) results in the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 80 pounds of carbon dioxide. In other words: Serving steak to your family is the greenhouse-gas equivalent of driving 155 miles.”

Car Modifications

Fuel consuming transportation is one obvious aspect of Global Warming that has scientists’ and researchers’ attention for a good reason.

Late last June, a The Economist article came out featuring Thailand’s long shelved plan of coming up with environmental friendly car which are affordable and have low exhaust emissions and fuel consumption. Back in 2004, the Thaksin administration had the plan of the eco-car’s large-scale production in its priority but it was only last June 15 that the Board of Investment (BoI) “finalised a range of incentives for the production of such vehicles, and the government has also approved a large cut in excise taxes.”

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