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Cows and Rice Linked to Global Warming

Angel Mahecha

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A study from a French laboratory has shown that the creation of methane emissions – a significant contributor to global warming – occurring from agriculture has increased in recent years. Cattle and rice farming is being cited as the main causes for this increase in methane production.

Methane is considered a major greenhouse gas because of its greater ability to trap heat – about 28 times that of carbon dioxide – compared to other harmful emissions. A study conducted by the Laboratory des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), reported that methane emissions started to grow around 2007, with a massive spike occurring from 2014 to 2015. According to Marielle Saunois, a professor at the Universite de Versailles, an increase of methane emissions would threaten efforts to keep global warming under control.

The increase in methane concentration in recent years is believed to be attributed to agricultural activities, notably cattle and rice farming. Cows are known to produce methane on their own while rice paddies used in the production of rice may become homes for methane producing microbes. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, worldwide livestock production has grown significantly between 1994 and 2014. Production of rice is reported to have increased by similar amounts. This growth is believed to have lead to the increased methane emissions.

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