Study: Texas Cows Contribute To Global Warming

WASHINGTON (November 25, 2013) A new study published Monday says the United States is spewing 50 percent more methane than the federal government estimates and much of it is coming from livestock and oil and gas drilling and refining in just three states, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Scientists say that means methane may be a bigger global warming issue than previously thought.

Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn't stay in the air as long.

Much of that extra methane seems to be coming from the belches, flatulence and manure of livestock, and leaks from refining and drilling for oil and gas.

The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study estimates that in 2008 the U.S. gave off 49 million tons of methane.

The researchers say the results cast doubt on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reduce its estimate of national natural gas emissions by 25 to 30 percent.

“Overall, we conclude that methane emissions associated with both the animal husbandry and fossil fuel industries have larger greenhouse gas impacts than indicated by existing inventories,” the study says.

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