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Farmers in California have been ordered to stop their cows from farting, or face paying an unspecified fine by State regulators.
In an attempt to reduce methane emissions by 40 per cent in order to tackle global warming, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law regulating the amount of methane ‘allowed’ to be released from cows.
According to scientists, gasses produced by cow farts are a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
“If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,” said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.
Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.
Since the passage of its landmark global warming law in 2006, California has been reducing carbon emissions from cars, trucks, homes and factories, while boosting production of renewable energy.
In the nation’s largest milk-producing state, the new law aims to reduce methane emissions from dairies and livestock operations to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030, McCarthy said. State officials are developing the regulations, which take effect in 2024.
“We expect that this package … and everything we’re doing on climate, does show an effective model forward for others,” McCarthy said.