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A New Way to Fight Global Warming: Squelch Belches


Burping, though in some cultures seen as a compliment to the chef when done after eating, is for the most part considered to be rude. But when cows burp, there’s more to worry about than poor manners—with each belch they emit the greenhouse gas methane. Given all the cows on the planet, these eructations add up: Cattle in the U.S., for instance, account for 20 percent of this country’s methane emissions.

Yup, it’s a pickle. But according to an article in the Guardian, German scientists may have come up with a way to cut bovine burping—and thus methane emissions. Considering that there seems to be a pill for everything that ails humans, it should come as no surprise the solution comes in the form of a tablet (a big, big tablet):

The fist-sized plant-based pill, known as a bolus, combined with a special diet and strict feeding times, is meant to reduce the methane produced by cows.

 

"Our aim is to increase the wellbeing of the cow, to reduce the greenhouse gases produced and to increase agricultural production all at once," said Winfried Drochner, professor of animal nutrition, who has led the ground-breaking project at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. "It is an effective way of fighting global warming."

 

Over the past 50 years the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has increased six-fold. With meat consumption growing, it is set to rise further.

No word on how widely the pill is expected to be used, but its development dovetails nicely with our recent post about offsetting flatulence.

Our take: Tee hee hee. Though global warming is nothing to laugh about, as anyone who has ever seen a Will Ferrell movie knows, bodily functions most certainly are.