Would you, could you, shoot a goat in the Name of Climate Change?

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By Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times.

O’Hare airport will finally get its goats. The Department of Aviation of the City of Chicago has awarded a contract to a private firm to provide 25 goats to munch vegetation at the city’s airport. These “green lawn mowers” will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to sustain the planet.

Last fall, when the project was bid, Amy Malick, head of sustainability at the Department of Aviation, commented on the planned use of goats in hard-to-mow areas, “They may have steep slopes, very hard to get to with heavy machinery, and those machines also emit pollution. They’re burning fossil fuel. So as a sustainability initiative we’re looking to bring in animals that do not have emissions associated with them, at least to the same extent that heavy machinery would.”

A shepherd will herd the goats across 120 acres at four different sites on airport property. The 25 fuzzy critters are expected to clear vegetation each day from a square at least sixteen feet on a side.

Chicago is not the first city to employ animals to reduce airport vegetation. Sheep are used at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and goats are used at San Francisco International. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport deployed goats as early as 2008, but stopped because “it was not cost effective.” How can a guy with a lawn mower be as cost effective as a herd of goats?

A single one-way Boeing 747 flight from Chicago to London emits about 200 tons of carbon dioxide, or about 5,000 times the annual emissions from a gasoline-powered lawn mower of a homeowner. It appears that emissions savings from O’Hare goats will be relatively small. But what about methane emissions from the herd?

On the other side of the world, about 10,000 miles from Chicago, the government of Australia has a different solution for global warming. More than a million wild camels, called “feral” camels, roam the outback of Australia. They munch up the foliage and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from both the nose end and the tail end. Each camel produces more than one ton of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. Feral goats are also part of this severe climate problem.

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But the enlightened Australian government passed the Carbon Farming Initiative Act in December of 2011. The act calls for “The reduction of methane emissions through the management, in a humane manner, of feral goats, feral deer, feral pigs, or feral camels.” “Management” companies are now flying over the outback, shooting goats and camels from helicopters, and earning carbon credits. Maybe the Aussies should use goats instead of lawn mowers at airports?

So goats are both grazed and shot to reduce those evil carbon dioxide emissions. It’s all part of this mad, mad, mad world of Climatism.

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Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the new book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.(which they don’t like at San Jose State Meteorology Dept.)

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120 Responses to Would you, could you, shoot a goat in the Name of Climate Change?

  1. Amr Marzouk says:

    You can’t make this up.

  2. cui bono says:

    So a small neutron bomb in the outback could earn big money?

  3. shepherdfj says:

    What they do to combat climate change is surely a bonanza of fresh material for stand up comedians.

  4. Eric Worrall says:

    I’d shoot a goat – they make a delicious stew, especially if you add some curry spices. Right up there with roast hog. Always looked forward to dinner at my Uncle’s farm.

  5. Tom J says:

    I was going to attempt to write something funny about this but then I realized it was hopeless. Completely hopeless. Thoroughly hopeless. As hopeless as hopeless can be. Jet aircraft travel juxtaposed with the Middle Ages. Forward!

  6. philincalifornia says:

    Has Kevin Trenberth officially reached goat status yet …. ?

  7. Why have a human shepherd herd the goats instead of a ‘natural’ herd management system….. like a pack of grey wolves….

    which would provide some entertainment during those long tarmac layovers….
    “Oh look Susie, the wolves are shredding another goat.”

  8. Chris @njsnowfan says:

    Goats munching grass along and near a major runway is a disaster than can be avoided by not having them there in the first place. I can see the headline now, Goat runs onto runway and is sucked into jet engine causing plane to crash and many people to die. WTF is wrong with people. I wonder how much $$ that guy or gal is making that came up with that brilliant plan and the man hours it has taken this far. Headline could read like this, Terrorist straps bomb to goat and blows up plane on runway. Goat shepherd from middle east…

  9. Gcapologist says:

    Mowing the lawn sucks. Well managed got herds do work. They also have a certain charm.
    Shooting feral camels is absurd (at least in my neighborhood.)

  10. Tim Beatty says:

    Isn’t the vegetation counted as sequestered carbon while eating and defecating is creating more CO2? As the Lorax, I say let it grow.

  11. Lew Skannen says:

    When I first heard that our amazing government was planning on killing goats to save the climate I thought it was one of those ridiculous ‘out of context’ misquotes that we sceptics are accused of all the time. Nope. Turns out it is true.
    So it now raises a couple of questions.
    Firstly – which animals next? I am not native to Australia so I may soon find myself on the list especially since I am a member of the animal group which emits the most CO2.
    Secondly, if the camels don’t eat the grass and digest it is there a possibility that something else might?!
    A kangaroo maybe. Admittedly they are native to Australia but so many?! Should there therefore not be some kind of upper limit to acceptible populations of kangaroos? This needs to be discussed, decided and implemented.
    I can only conclude that what we really need is a bigger bureucracy to save us…

  12. John Coleman says:

    When will this silly but very damaging extremism end? Will the climate scientists ever come to grip with the serious consequences of the bad CO2 science they are continuing to shamelessly promote leading so many well meaning people and government agencies to do amazingly stupid things. It appears that only the climate scientists can bring it to an end. Please, please do what must eventually be done to save our civilization. Just say it, “We were wrong. Carbon Dioxide is not a dangerous greenhouse gas. There is no significant man-made global warming. There is no crisis. In the name of responsible science let us reconsider the issue of man made climate change.”

  13. wws says:

    I’d gladly shoot that goat that was in that horrible Mountain Dew ad, whatever its name was. That was sick. Heard that they make great fajitas.

  14. noaaprogrammer says:

    First they came for feral camels …

  15. Janice Moore says:

    Why were goat lawn mowers not cost-effective at Sea-Tac? Replacement cost for new goats (no doubt). The hungry, jobless, peasants of the Socialist State of Seattle kept killing the goats for food. (;|)

  16. Chris @njsnowfan says:

    Another Great Post from Joe Bastardi today. Do They Even Look?http://patriotpost.us/opinion/18098

  17. Allencic says:

    Do you suppose that a single jet taking off at O’Hare might undo any reduction in CO2 the goats provide? Of course since CO2 isn’t harmful to the Earth or climate, “What does it mattter?” To quote Hillary.

  18. Janice Moore says:

    Loose Cannon: “… it now raises a couple of questions.
    Firstly – which animals next?”

    noaaprogrammer: “First they came for feral camels …”

    I, for one, WILL SPEAK UP! — Before they come for… .

  19. OldWeirdHarold says:

    Steep slopes? Has this person in charge of O’Hare ever been to Chicago?

  20. philincalifornia says:

    John Coleman says:
    May 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm
    When will this silly but very damaging extremism end?
    ======================

    The way it works in the private sector is that the let’s call him or her “CEO” comes to work one morning, usually a Board Meeting, and then goes home without a job.

    Sometimes the reason is “We needed a change” – nothing more, nothing less.

    Then it’s over.

    It’s like being cured of constipation times 1000, or in this case (as far as the planet goes) times 1,000,000.

    It’s going to happen soon, hence the recent very nervous twitching from the lying frauds.

  21. AndyG55 says:

    Seriously? Goats on an air field.. what could possibly go wrong !!

    and wtf was Glyophosphate invent for ???

  22. imoira says:

    For sure the Union of Airport Goatherds will strike if a shepherd gets the job.

  23. Chris B says:

    Maybe there’s a crop that could be planted, grown and harvested on that 120 acres rather than simply feeding methane generators that require human supervision.

  24. AB says:

    It all sounds rather like Climategoat iv, sorry, I couldn’t help it ٩(͡๏̮͡๏)۶

  25. Bill H says:

    I wonder how planes will fair against goats on the runway? the smaller planes wont survive well..

    Chopped goat via propeller.. I guess gutted, hide removed and thinly sliced is the name of the game… :).

  26. Rob Dawg says:

    What is steep inaccessible terrain doing so close to a runway? Break out the D-9 dozer and fix it.

  27. Ric Werme says:

    Sounds like a job for Willis, From http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/13/to-sahel-and-back/

    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    The Sahel, that stretch of harsh territory south of the Sahara desert, is a bleak region. I did some work there, in a couple three countries. I came away with the conviction that if every day, every person in the Sahel planted one fruit tree and killed one goat, in about twenty years it would be worth visiting.

    For those reluctant to slaughter a goat, just send it to O’Hare.

  28. Martin Clark says:

    Had my say over at Jo Nova’s, but got a slight slap on the wrist from one of the posters, whose goats are apparently charming …
    My uncle’s goat would recycle all their waste, including the labels off the tin cans, and recycle a lot of other things that weren’t actually waste. He was also very affectionate, unless you turned round and walked away, then he would playfully butt you in the arse.
    Intelligent and resourceful animals. When it comes to climate scientists versus goats, the smart money is on the goats.

  29. Steve Goreham, have a look at the posts about methane on my blog (http://cementafriend.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/methane-good-or-bad/). Then go away and find some real proof about the BS and green scam that methane is anything more than an insignificant trace gas in the atmosphere.

  30. What is interesting is that feral animals (camels, goats, pigs, cats, foxes, and more) are far and away the biggest environmental problem in Australia, but any proposal to control them invariably has the greenie animal lovers up in arms. But they are willing to cull them to ‘stop climate change’.

    That is Greens in a nutshell. Refuse to deal with real problems, but more than happy to address imaginary problems.

  31. Nick says:

    So?! The West can’t beat the Goat Herders in Afgahnastan? so they’ve decided to join ‘em? Mental, Just Mental.

  32. R. de Haan says:

    It will only be a matter of time before they start culling Australians.

  33. DougS says:


    John Coleman says:
    May 9, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    “Please, please do what must eventually be done to save our civilization. Just say it, “We were wrong. Carbon Dioxide is not a dangerous greenhouse gas.””

    Very well said John.

  34. AndyG55 says:

    R. de Haan says:
    “It will only be a matter of time before they start culling Australians.”

    Sure, but let’ start right at the top. !! PLEASE !!

  35. A shepherd herds sheep. Goats are herded by a goat-herd. They’ve got the wrong person for the job.

  36. Evan Thomas says:

    Philip Bradley covered most of Downunder’s feral animal problems but left out rabbits, cane toads and Indian minors ? miners perhaps; the latter are birds. There are lots of great Outback stories about goats, which were very popular for those needing fresh milk for children. Some towns had rules that locals could only own nannies, the local govt owned the billies in order to maintain herd quality. Never park a car under trees for shade thereabouts as the local goats would spring onto the bonnet or boot (trunk) in order graze the low hanging leaves. Goats are excellent at grazing unwanted species such as wild blackberries. Our Aussie Muslins are very partial to goats meat. Cheers from sunny Sydney.

  37. SAMURAI says:

    LOL!! The world has gone completely mad.

    I think a strong case can now be made for a CAGM theory (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Moronism), where higher CO2 levels lead to an increase of moronic behavior.

    The cause/effect correlation of this phenomenon must have an r value close to .99.

    The gub’mint should give me a $billion grant to test this hypothesis.

    I think higher CO2 levels inhibit the production of Cholinesterase causing many forms of neuroses, especially Delusions of Grandeur, and general mental impairment.

  38. Hoser says:

    Wow. Shooting feral camels? Makes me want to throw a sandwich at mad Julia.
    It is true. Goat in a piquant masala is tasty, but a bit more chewy than most meat. It’s ornery even when it’s dead.

  39. Well Lew, are you Feral?

    Lew Skannen says: May 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm “Firstly – which animals next? I am not native to Australia so I may soon find myself on the list “

  40. Jean Parisot says:

    Why not just pave those areas and install some weather stations, there should be enough jet wash to meet current standards.

  41. I like camels. I like goats. Goats are wonderful animals! I don’t like climate scientists.

  42. Janice Moore says:

    ٩(͡๏̮͡๏)۶ [artwork by AB on 5/9/13 at 9:02PM] — COOL.

    “Hurrah for goats!”

    How did you DO that (with this primitive little “Leave a Reply” “word processor”)!

    Okay, I’m going to experiment to see if I can correctly guess at how to make /i/italics/i/ and /b/bold/b/ happen. And also /u/underline/u/.

    Here goes…

  43. Janice Moore says:

    Back to the drawing board!

  44. Marian says:

    Those goats mignt not be as very environmentally friendly as they seem.

    Remember goats eat all kinds of things. The Airport better have them very well fenced in as they can be right royal escape artists. Used to have 3 pet goats many years ago. They just loved stripping bark off trees. So they might end up taking out those CO2 saving carbon sink trees. Plus if they do escape they could start munching bits on parked aircraft. :-)

  45. Gene Selkov says:

    OldWeirdHarold says:
    > Steep slopes? Has this person in charge of O’Hare ever been to Chicago?

    Acoustic berms at O’Hare are both tall and steep, especially on the west side, where they also serve as flood barriers. You don’t need to have been to Chicago to imagine that; most airports located in populated places have them. MDW is an exception; it has a wall at the end of each runway — there is no space for berms or for much else besides the runways and taxiways. But at O’Hare the berms are substantial and mowing them with a riding mower is a challenge.

    No, can’t let the grass just grow at an airport. It is a fire hazard and airports require visibility on the ground. There must be no place to hide for anything or anyone that can get in the way of traffic. Geese and starlings are enough of a problem already. Goats can be easily shepherded with electric fences. Using them on the berms may or may not make sense, but people calling them “green” or “not green” are akin to neighbourhood dogs barking — get used to it.

  46. CodeTech says:

    First World problems?

    Third World solutions!

  47. Andrewmharding says:

    So the Australians are sending snipers to travel 100′s of miles in helicopters to shoot feral camels and goats to reduce greenhouse gas emissions! Which moron thought that one up?
    I have a better idea,maintain the grants for climate scientists but insist that instead of writing drivel and trying to put the fear of God into everyone, they are given scythes to cut grass at airports and rifles to walk in the outback and shoot anything that emits greenhouse gases! “Problem” solved!!!

  48. Goode 'nuff says:

    Been there, done that… couldn’t shoot the goat. So a high fence got stretched out instead.

    Had two Bobwhite Quail roosting in a tree maybe 100 yards from my bedroom windows. They would bob, bob, white all the way in of an evening and out next morning, going their separate ways. Then a feral cat ran across the back yard with one in its mouth. The other one also disappeared.

    An act that is aimed at the disappearance of feral cats, I could go for that one. Gotta be some way cats contribute climate change. I know quail numbers are down.

    Hope they read John Coleman, and it gets through.

  49. Rupert Bravery says:

    So they are using CO2 emitting helicopters to shoot camels and stop them emitting CO2. Has anyone done the maths..?

  50. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Rupert Bravery says:
    May 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Of course not – anyone who does the math, even on the back of an envelope, quickly realises that these schemes are a complete waste of time and often totally and utterly counterproductive (i.e. generate more CO2 than they save). Of course, in this instance, the methane question seems to have been somewhat ignored by the ‘assessors’?

  51. CodeTech says:

    Rupert Bravery, maybe the same ones who did the math on shooting 40,000 elephants.

  52. James Bull says:

    It could be so romantic.
    No one has yet done it so here it is…..
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDT8qJbYlI0&w=420&h=315%5D

    James Bull

  53. A.D. Everard says:

    Typical! Aussie Government’s solution is to kill animals to “save the planet”. These guys are total raving loonies. When is the white van arriving, please? You know, the one with the lovely loooong sleeved jackets that tie around the back.

  54. Steve C says:

    For anyone so softly humanitarian as to find shooting goats offensive, there’s an alternative. Stare at them.

  55. Colin Porter says:

    Perhaps O’Hare Airport should ask Father Christmas if they can borrow his reindeers to tow the planes in flight if they want to make a significant contribution to cutting their carbon footprint.

  56. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    Actually in parts of southern Cal. there are large swaths of steep open land that regularly get the goat treatment. This prevents a buildup of dry grasses and brush that will readily burn in summer. It can’t be cut with a mower so this works. Its basically a choice between goats or fires. Mainly this is done around inhabited areas.

    But somehow I don’t think the land around an airport is “steep”. This could work if they fenced in the entire area and let the goats breed and survive on their own — feral goats. No upkeep costs. If too many goats get born — shoot them.

    I don’t worry too much about PETA — but, this being Chicago I am afraid that someone would try to unionize the goats.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  57. There are roughly a million camels in Australia. I’ve read the population doubles every 9 years. Which means they have to shoot well in excess of 100,000 camels per annum to reduce numbers. Since they are nowhere close to that number, it is a complete and utter waste of time and money. The camels will breed faster than they are shot.

    And BTW, the camel shooters, riding in their helicopters, are getting carbon credits for their efforts.

  58. KenB says:

    A.D. Everard says – and my “toungue in cheek” reply……Hah.!.I guess your alligators must fart so bad they need culling too if my TV set is correct…..!! Or do they taste better to americans than camel……….

  59. Old Goat says:

    Eric Worrall, I shall be keeping a close eye on you…
    …and all those others who consider liking a goat to be purely in terms of dinner.

  60. ConTrari says:

    I could shoot a goat in any name. Nasty, smelly, tobacco-craving creatures!

  61. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    So on one side of the planet, goats eating grass “help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to sustain the planet”, while on the other side… “Feral goats (and camels) are also part of this severe climate problem.”

    Unbelievable! Clmatastrophists just make facts up as they go.

  62. DN says:

    I assume those fellows shooting camels in Oz are using wind-powered choppers, right?

  63. Mike Borgelt says:

    I said it over a Jo Nova’s . Lets arm our outback camels with MANPADS.
    I have a soft spot for our feral camels after encountering a family of them when driving across the Nullarbor Plain in my late mother’s Kombi Camper with her and my wife many years ago. We were discussing the different animals we had seen on that trip and previous ones but we had never seen camels. About then, on the horizon, appeared this family of camels. They took their time crossing the road as we approached, we slowed down and everyone went on their way. I’m glad they have made a home in the outback.

  64. Wrong animal for grass. Goats are browsers, they eat trees and shrubs etc., sheep are grazers and prefer grass. If your problem is grass then you need sheep. It might also have slipped these planners mind that plants use CO2 and will reduce its atmospheric concentration, goats eat plants and produce methane another GHG .
    Project failed.

  65. David Jones says:

    Rupert Bravery says:
    May 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm
    “So they are using CO2 emitting helicopters to shoot camels and stop them emitting CO2. Has anyone done the maths..?”

    I assume the question is rhetorical? You are talking leftwing politicians here. Not only that you are talking AUSTRALIAN leftwing politicians. Why would they do the maths?

  66. David Jones says:

    KenB says:
    May 10, 2013 at 1:32 am
    “A.D. Everard says – and my “toungue in cheek” reply……Hah.!.I guess your alligators must fart so bad they need culling too if my TV set is correct…..!! Or do they taste better to americans than camel……….”

    I do not know what camel tastes like but alligator tastes “like chicken.” On the other hand, if you want something that tastes like chicken why not eat………………chicken?

  67. bushbunny says:

    I know a bit here, having studied environments over the ages, and have a Diploma in Organic Agriculture. Ruminants fart and burp methane. (And methane is a trace gas, it is easily disapated. (So do we by the way and there is more of us on this planet) That dickhead employed by the climate change commission, reckoned if farmers switch to farming kangaroos, this would solve the problem.
    Mate! Kangaroos are marsupials, they are not domesticated, they do not come into season every year unless they want to, and hold fertilized pre embroniic eggs for years until the mum wants to eject it into her pouch and have avoided being domesticated for centuries. I give up! And quite honestly I don’t like their meat, to me it is like venison, that needs more to enhance the dish, like wine, garlic and herbs. Minced kangaroo, well my dogs don’t reject it.

  68. Ian W says:

    What everyone seems to have missed is that O’Hare and the Department of Aviation have accepted as ‘settled science’ the fact that CO2 is bad to the extent that they will spend money employing a “head of sustainability at the Department of Aviation” and justify using goats by quoting the CO2 emissions of a lawnmower. These are the people that will be difficult to convince that AGW is a hoax. They did a degree in ‘Sustainable Development’ and now have a job based on their ability on carbon equivalences. Telling them that they have been used will not be easy some of these people have formed departmental empires based on working to carbon dioxide reductions.

    I also note that the author quotes the ‘emissions’ from a 747 as a balance to the lawnmower and methane from the goats. This neatly falls into the trap of accepting the fallacy that Anthropogenic Global Warming exists and is caused by CO2 emissions.

    Another fallacy of the AGW proponents that the author provides support for is that of polluting aircraft. I would point out that the venerable 747 fuel burn is around 56 miles per gallon per paying passenger seat as good as many get from a Toyota Prius and that a modern 737 gets around 120 miles per gallon per paying passenger seat. The newer Airbus and Boeing aircraft are 20-25% better than that again.

    Arguing about emissions strengthens the AGW case. They should just be told to show the empirical evidence that atmospheric CO2 causes heat to be retained on the planet. No such evidence has been found despite huge resources for satellite and surface monitoring.

    Nevertheless, using goats and sheep is an excellent idea and is not a new idea. If the airport did this right the shepherds would be paying to have grazing land for their flocks. There could be an O’Hare goat’s cheese factory which could sell to the restaurants and passengers. There is no need for all the juju for the local AGW believers.

  69. Lew Skannen says:

    @Nicholas James

    I am not sure of the terminology to be honest. I think I am either feral or exotic. I am a European breed introduced to Australia from Africa.
    Whatever the story I am definitely not a friendly towards the current native government although I note that that is also headed by an exotic/feral which could also be classified as pest/vermin.

  70. Tim says:

    I haven’t noticed global Methane content in the atmosphere increasing? Surely this needs to be shown first?

  71. philjourdan says:

    Another interesting observation – domesticated animals good. Feral animals bad.

    Ya think PETA might have a problem with that?

  72. DirkH says:

    “So goats are both grazed and shot to reduce those evil carbon dioxide emissions. It’s all part of this mad, mad, mad world of Climatism.”

    Climatism is just a theological system that allows to run any number of scams. Each scam operates in the same basic fashion:
    a) Pick an activity
    b) show how that activity reduces some kind of emission
    c) ignore the emissions the activity itself causes

    Now you have “shown” that you help save the planet. (You often need the help of government “scientists” for this who must first “analyze” your scam and rubberstamp it by publishing a “study”.)

    d) Profit!

    As government “scientists” are eager to publish a lot of “studies” so they can rise to the rank of a globalist communitarian like Hansen or Schellnhuber, you don’t even have to bribe them. The funding for the “studies” is extorted from the taxpayer for you by the (super)state.

  73. Tom in Florida says:

    Eugene WR Gallun says:
    May 10, 2013 at 1:22 am
    “No upkeep costs. If too many goats get born — shoot them.
    I don’t worry too much about PETA — but, this being Chicago ….”

    Shooting goats won’t work in Chicago. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the Country so it is almost impossible to shoot anything or anyone there.

  74. klem says:

    “The reduction of methane emissions through the management, in a humane manner, of feral goats, feral deer, feral pigs, or feral camels.”
    ,
    You’ll note that most of these animals are kind of ugly. Only ugly animals can be culled. I guess cutesy ones do not emit methane apparently. Environmentalists would never endorse a seal cull for example, way too cutesy. And trading seal carcasses for carbon credits would never get off the ground.

    But hey, camels are soo ugly, trading their ugly carcasses for credits is encouraged.

    What has happened to modern environmentalism?

  75. banjo says:

    Quietly fishing on the canal side one day,the bucolic atmos was interrupted by what sounded like a riot in a tuba testing facility. Just three goats, apparently in training for the farting olymics.What an incredible noise! Much funnier than a lawnmower.
    The emissivity of a goats nether end is something to behold.
    Goat curry is a winner imho.

  76. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    This whole idea sounds completely crazy to me. That leaves only two possibilities (1) I am actually crazy and the idea is sane, or (2) there is a government subsidy involved. Readers here are free to venture other opinions, but I’m betting on #2.

    Even if we assume that the CO2 emitted by internal combustion lawn mowers is a bad thing, the idea is still crazy. Where are the goats going to live? If they don’t live at the airport, how do they commute from home to work, and how much CO2 does that emit?

    Maybe if the goats live at the airport, and you toss in a tourist petting zoo, plus a goat meat restaurant franchise it all makes economic and low-carbon sense.

    Nah, I’m still going with government subsidy.

  77. DJ says:

    Too bad we can’t buy tags for feral lawmakers. Goats are at least useful.

  78. Dave says:

    “So goats are both grazed and shot to reduce those evil carbon dioxide emissions.”

    That would only be an inherent contradiction if we’re talking about the same goats, in the same place. It’s perfectly possible that it makes sense to shoot feral goats which contribute nothing, and also to replace lawnmowers elsewhere with goats. (Of course, that assumes the CO2/methane thing isn’t complete nonsense…)

  79. rgbatduke says:

    Of course not – anyone who does the math, even on the back of an envelope, quickly realises that these schemes are a complete waste of time and often totally and utterly counterproductive (i.e. generate more CO2 than they save). Of course, in this instance, the methane question seems to have been somewhat ignored by the ‘assessors’?

    Not just methane. Goats, like all other animals, breathe in O_2 and breathe out CO_2. The methane they produce has a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere — it is mostly reduced by the hydroxy radical OH to CO_2 and water, but there are a number of alternative pathways including ones that involve ozone. This reduction occurs throughout the troposphere and into the stratosphere. The lifetime of methane in the atmosphere is cited as anywhere from 8 to 12 years — sometimes using two numbers in a single article (which suggests to me that nobody has any bloody idea how long it lasts, any more than they knew how long it lasted in the ocean until the Gulf Oil spill which released a few billion cubic meters over a matter of weeks and in the process did not produce so much as a measurable blip in the atmospheric methane concentration — they discovered that (to their surprise) methane is very tasty and was EATEN long before it got to the surface, in the process being converted to carbon dioxide).

    I have to say that I doubt a lot of the proposed chemistry for methane. For example, the wikipedia article on atmospheric methane fails to include the fact that we can now more or less cross clathrates off of the list of methane threats because methane tends to get eaten in the ocean faster than it can reach the surface even when it is released in truly astounding quantities. This same article completely fails to note that 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, and that the ocean is no doubt a one way sink for methane — methane in the ocean gets eaten and reduced by a biological, not a chemical, pathway, so that atmospheric methane that is dissolved in the biologically active surface layer rarely makes it back out as methane. Finally, I SERIOUSLY doubt the story that it is a “powerful greenhouse gas” in any concentration we are likely to achieve in its limited lifetime. In fact, I in all honesty don’t see how the arithmetic works out.

    Consider:

    a) The small absorptivity windows for methane occur square in the part of the atmosphere that is already totally opaque due to water. Opaque is opaque.

    b) One of the two methane bands that scatters LWIR occurs well outside of the LWIR blackbody curve for surface emission anyway. COMPLETELY irrelevant.

    c) Because of the band overlap with water overlap, the presence of methane is like adding a bit more water to the atmosphere. Because this addition occurs outside of the transparency window in the LWIR band, it is difficult to see how it can significantly impact global temperatures by altering the window itself. Yet it is estimated even at its current concentration as having 1/3 the forcing of CO_2! How’s that again? If you removed 100% of it today, you wouldn’t make the water band any more or less opaque on anything like a LINEAR basis in its band (it wouldn’t chop out a transparency hole, for example), and you wouldn’t significantly alter the mean free path of LWIR photons in any frequency anywhere in the troposphere. If you consider its contribution as a linearized fraction of the overall contribution of water, you might be able to assign a number like this, but once again, it isn’t LINEAR, it is logarithmic, and this really is way, way out there in the region of diminishing returns where the atmosphere is already completely opaque.

    d) I have a small quibble with the “well-mixed” hypothesis as well. Methane is a molecule that is significantly smaller than O_2 and N_2, and should experience a small but persistent buoyancy force. Just as CO_2 in still air can actually collect in basins, methane in still air will tend to rise. In addition, mixed methane is carried up into the stratosphere by the same processes that carry water vapor up. When it reaches the ozone layer in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere, it is one of the molecules that ozone easily reacts with (especially in the presence of sunlight) to form CO, OH, water, CO_2 and formaldehyde. Finally, methane in free clouds is exposed to water with a truly enormous surface to volume ratio — clouds are basically all water surface. One expects that just as clouds take up relatively small concentrations of e.g. NO or N2O or SO_2 and turns it into acid rain, that clouds adsorb free methane and carry it back down to the surface, where any methane carried into the warm ocean is quickly eaten and where a lot of it carried into the soil is similarly either sequestered or converted by both biological and chemical pathways to something else.

    Given this, I find estimates of a DECADE for the lifetime of free methane to be difficult to understand. I would expect weeks to months. I’ve tried to find articles justifying the number (or rather, the wide range of NUMBERS, numbers that don’t agree within a factor of 1/2 for all that some of them are cited (as always) with a decimal and supposedly significant second digit and without error bars or uncertainty.

    I do think that the Gulf Oil spill places a strict upper bound on the lifetime far shorter than this. Even with bacteria, the water above the spill was boiling with methane released below. The event had to represent a bolus that was a measurable fraction of the annual methane production from all other sources, yet I cannot discern the slightest effect of it in the ongoing measurement of methane concentration in the atmosphere (which I agree, is going up, but quite possibly for the usual reason — the gradual shifting of heat around in the oceans that changes solubility, or possibly as a side effect of an unusually active CO_2-fed biosphere).

    Methane, in any event, is a valuable fuel. Wasting it by letting it go into the atmosphere is wasting money. Rather than shooting goats, build methane digesters that process goat excrement, just as many chicken farms or hog farms have done to process excrement there. That way, bacteria get a good meal, humans can burn the methane for fuel, and the end product is pure sterile fertilizer. As a valuable side effect, it keeps the smell from open hog lagoons contained and ultimately burns it up into CO_2 and water in a CLOSED biological cycle that will turn back into plants, be eaten once again by the goats, and turned back into fuel and fertilizer. And in the meantime, while goats are NOT the best table fare, unless you enjoy the flavor of tallow, they can be turned into curry or ropa vieja, their fat makes excellent candles, and down south we do know that they make the very best of land clearing instruments.

    I have friends who cleared acres of forest underscrub — a nasty tangle of thorn bushes, grass, small trees, filled with ticks and snakes — by simply penning a few goats in there and waiting. They eat everything — and I do mean everything — under six feet tall and maybe two inches in diameter. They ended up with a park-like high forest canopy over beautifully cleared ground. It would have been a nasty, dangerous, expensive job for humans, and then — goat curry!

    What else can convert poison ivy into food?

    rgb

  80. Milwaukee Bob says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    May 10, 2013 at 5:08 am
    Shooting goats won’t work in Chicago. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the Country so it is almost impossible to shoot anything or anyone there.

    Tom, you forgot the “” control code. Not about the “strictest gun laws”, but (if you didn’t forget the sarc off code) you can buy guns just about anywhere — even gas stations in Chicago.

    From 2003 to 2011, of the 4,251 people murdered, 3,371 died from being shot, (79%) with 98 percent of the murder weapons being a handgun. Thirty-seven people were killed with a rifle and 40 were killed with a shotgun. 506 died from being shot in 2012 and 87 so far this year.

    If I wasn’t afraid of being shot myself and wanted to buy a gun on the QT, I’d go to Chicago.

  81. dave ward says:

    I’ll bet that more CO2 is emitted by the aircraft employed by the “management” companies than is saved by shooting all those animals…

  82. Dell from Michigan says:

    So when a goat wanders onto the runway right in front of a taking off plane…. We’ll just think of all the reduced methane from the goat that will be saved when the jet plane crashes….

  83. OldWeirdHarold says:

    A friend of mine once had a ’65 mustang convertible. He got some goats. Next thing he knows, the goats are on top of the convertible top. He got rid of the goats.

    Goats will seek the high spot, wherever it is. That could be a problem at an airport.

  84. Ed. B says:

    Scapegoat, nothing more.

  85. I was talking to a work colleague today (everyone thought this story was hilarious!) and he seemed to remember reading that hunters got paid 50Aus dollars for each camel or goat they shot. I don’t know how true this is, but it would mean that the helicopter hunters were not just stupid, but stupid and mercenary!

  86. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    How much would CO2 be reduced if we could eliminate all of the politicians with crazy ideas?

    Just food for thought… I’m not advocating violence.

  87. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Being land next to airport runways thus not seeing virtually any foot traffic, which is frowned upon these days, I would wonder if people have tried planting certain plants in these generally inaccessible areas that are not getting regular maintenance. Considering how often pot plants are found in state parks, it would not be surprising to have those goats inadvertently munching on some whacky weed.

    Which would reveal another great possible way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions! Currently the officials are disposing giant bales of the stuff by incineration, or perhaps open pit burning. Well, if the goats would eat it, and like it, then we could just feed all that stuff to the goats and avoid the unnecessary releases of combustion products!

    What’s the worse that could happen? The goats might get the munchies, and be even more productive!

  88. Duster says:

    In the name of climate change, no. In the name of barbecue? Certainly.

  89. Tom in Florida says:

    Milwaukee Bob says:
    May 10, 2013 at 7:27 am

    “Tom in Florida says:
    May 10, 2013 at 5:08 am
    Shooting goats won’t work in Chicago. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the Country so it is almost impossible to shoot anything or anyone there.”

    Tom, you forgot the “” control code. Not about the “strictest gun laws”, but (if you didn’t forget the sarc off code) you can buy guns just about anywhere — even gas stations in Chicago.

    I really didn’t think I needed the sarc off code, most people know that Chicago is one of the top murder cities in the U.S. Thanks for providing the stats for those that didn’t.

    “From 2003 to 2011, of the 4,251 people murdered, 3,371 died from being shot, (79%) with 98 percent of the murder weapons being a handgun. Thirty-seven people were killed with a rifle and 40 were killed with a shotgun. 506 died from being shot in 2012 and 87 so far this year.”

  90. DaveG says:

    Will the nutters in Australia’s Green and ALP party’s pass a shoot, kill reward program for feral humans, Show a cut off nose and get a $10 bounty, after all we humans are an inconvenience in the grand scheme of the Al Gores and Hanson’s of the world!
    Pathetic politicians and evil bureaucrats!
    The same crowd would be the leading lights in the the inquisition, the murder and torture of innocents and accused unbelievers.

    Evil good times times for evil people in the guise of religion and so called pious people. Much like today’s extreme warmist believers!
    Jail the skeptics – David Suzuki!

  91. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    banjo says:
    May 10, 2013 at 5:57 am


    The emissivity of a goats nether end is something to behold.
    Goat curry is a winner imho.

    Sounds like goats not only eat otherwise inedible stuff and turn it into milk and meat, but they also provide the fuel for their own cooking. Now that’s sustainability!

  92. Some herein need to keep in mind that goats require care including herding, generally that takes good local contractor – someone who has a herd, knows how to take care of them, and likes working with the critters (they can be independent and pushy, especially male goats).

    Sheep would be more useful on flatter terrain (to avoid mowing grass) as they are not as smart as goats at avoiding hazards, and not as tolerant of rough food. (Cows are like sheep, horses can tolerate rougher food, but both may be too tall for airports, goats can tolerate much rougher food.)

    As for terrain, that varies with the airport – some have ravines off the edge of runways (a 747 slid into a depression at Anchorage years ago, Toronto has a ravine off the end of one runway). Would be good to fill them in, off the north end of SeaTac’s main runway you’d have to build a wide bridge across that canyon (the south end has some steep sides that goats may be suited for, I do not know about the runways to the west of the main one).

  93. Ric Werme says:

    Janice Moore says:
    May 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    ٩(͡๏̮͡๏)۶ [artwork by AB on 5/9/13 at 9:02PM] — COOL.

    How did you DO that (with this primitive little “Leave a Reply” “word processor”)!

    Okay, I’m going to experiment to see if I can correctly guess at how to make /i/italics/i/ and /b/bold/b/ happen. And also /u/underline/u/.

    The cute artwork is done with characters that most people don’t know exist, I don’t have good tools for working with them.

    italics and bolding are easy, you need commands in angle brackets, e.g. <i>italics</i> – See the bottom of my Guide to WUWT at http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/index.html

    WordPress used to have very terse (and wrong) notes near the comment box.

    BTW, there are so many glyphs for various weird things that you can write ʇɐɥʇ ɥʇıʍ dn sʇʇɐʍ upside down. Search for |upside down text generator| or something like that.

  94. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Does this mean some engineer somewhere has adapted NASA’s chicken gun to test fire goats at aircraft?

  95. Janice Moore says:

    Hi, Ric Werme! er, I mean Hi, Ric Werme!

    Thank you so much for so generously sharing your excellent WUWT posting tips

    with me. As you can

    see I still need a lot of practice. It would be so cool if A–th–y linked to your great page in WUWT’s navigation bar.

    Thank you! I have sometimes felt pretty sheepish using ALL CAPS for my ONLY EMPHASIS. Like I kept suddenly YELLING every so OFTEN. Well, we’ll see how far down the learning curve I get. LOL

  96. Janice Moore says:

    Oh, dear. (red face) Uh, Ric Werme, just want to be sure SOMETHING I post makes it past the spam bin so you will know how grateful I am for your sharing your posting tips with me. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I had a fun time creating an intentionally messed up thank you note to you (to show you how well I am learning, heh, heh…) well, whatever I did (I used Heading twice, hm), WordPress did not think it was safe to publish. Sigh. Of COURSE I did not save it.

    Anyway, I think A-th–y should link to your wonderful guide in WUWT’s navigation bar (or, if you prefer, and you have certainly EARNED it, you could sell your index and tips in the WUWT Store!).

    Thanks for taking the time to help me!

  97. Janice Moore says:

    Test: bolditalics … underline

  98. Janice Moore says:

    2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

  99. Janice Moore says:

    mwhite — Thanks for sharing goat curry video, heh, heh. The bit about “can’t have too much onions, good for it” says it all (and the HUGE pile of garlic, LOL).

  100. philjourdan says:

    @ Janice Moore says: May 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Meatloaf! Love the song!

  101. Janice Moore says:

    Oh, [sniff, sniff] Phil Jourdan (whose logic is impeccable — ALL criminals blameshift), I had forgotten all the lyrics except for the line above, so, inspired by your comment (grrr), I went on line and listened… WAAAAA! That hurt.

    Well, a good cry is always welcome.

    It is, musically, a good song, but I sure don’t want to listen to it again any time soon!

    WHY do you love that song? Hmm? You BROKE SOME POOR WOMAN’S HEART, didn’t you!

  102. Dave Bufalo says:

    Well, let’s see. Goats are ruminents. Ruminents emit green house gasses as well as liquid and solid bio wastes, all of which will pollute the environment to some degree. Anybody study this?

  103. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Dear Janice,

    Up at the top toolbar is an item that says “Test”. Click on it. There you’ll find formatting suggestions, and a place where you can try out formatting and play around with stuff like linking, see how it’ll look in your comments.

    And please, don’t read that as me being condescending, I’m not trying to be that, and you’re far from the first person to try out stuff in the regular comments. Hope you’re having fun here.

  104. Janice Moore says:

    Thanks, K. D., your kindly advice is much appreciated. You did not come off as condescending in the least, but how kind of you to clarify. I am grateful you took the time to help me! Others are, no doubt, even more grateful, LOL.

    I am having TOO much fun, here. [I do try to wait until the main discussion has petered out or comment on threads where my zaniness is closer to being OT]

    Learning a lot – even about formatting.

    Bye for now and, until next time,

    PRAISE THE LORD (for helpful people like you)! #[:)]

  105. philjourdan says:

    @ Janice Moore May 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    We have a “all genre” station and they just played it yesterday. And yea, I am a Meatloaf fan.

    I am glad the experience was melancholy! It was for me.

  106. Janice Moore says:

    Sorry to hear that, K.D.. Thanks again for being a parakleto (sp?). (Aw, shucks, I’d better just say it in English in case my Greek spelling is waaaay off: one who comes alongside to help.)
    ******************************

    “OT” — ON or OFF topic? Ooops! in post above, I meant ON topic — time to quit. (%’)zzzzzzz

  107. Drave Robber says:

    No story of goats and aviation is complete without a reference to The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble (which was originally published in 2003, not after 2008 as one might think). It’s well worth reading, as carbon ‘credit’ ‘markets’ in their best days displayed unnerving similarities to the events described in this story.

  108. Mark says:

    AndyG55 says:
    Seriously? Goats on an air field.. what could possibly go wrong !!

    It’s not just goats which can be a problem, there have been incidents to groundskeepers operating next to active runways without radios. (Possibly also some with radios but without understanding ATC terms, airport layout or that runways have two designations.)

    Maybe the goats could be fitted with transponder collars so they would show on ground radar.
    There are airports where large animals, both wild and domestic, are a common problem.

  109. Mark says:

    Chris B says:

    Maybe there’s a crop that could be planted, grown and harvested on that 120 acres rather than simply feeding methane generators that require human supervision.

    How many crops would you have left once you eliminate those which could attract birds or where the plant itself is potentially hazardous to aircraft? Planting and harvesting crops also tends to require people (together with tools and machines.)
    Grass still looks like a good choice given those criteria. Domestic grazing animals produce milk, meat and leather as useful byproducts.

  110. Mark says:

    Philip Bradley says:

    What is interesting is that feral animals (camels, goats, pigs, cats, foxes, and more) are far and away the biggest environmental problem in Australia, but any proposal to control them invariably has the greenie animal lovers up in arms.

    All of which are recently introduced species… Anyway shouldn’t “rabbits” be first on the list.

    IIRC the “greenies” also give aboriginal hunters a pass. Probably because most of them arn’t stupid enough to get into a fight with people better armed than they are.

  111. Crustacean says:

    I’m more than a bit confused by the statement that a 747 flying between London and Chicago would emit 200 tons of CO2. As far as I know, a 747 can carry somewhat more than 200 tons of fuel. Don’t know how much would typically be consumed on the flight in question, but the claim of emissions possibly exceeding the entire weight of fuel on board, and certainly exceeding the weight of the aircraft (which I believe to be about 33-35 tons empty,) strikes me as dubious. Any insights into this would be appreciated.

  112. Bruce Cobb says:

    Best thing to use for hard-to-mow areas is something called a DR Field and Brush Mower. Using it, one man could probably mow the 256 sq feet the goats are expected to do in a day in ten minutes. One would think that an airport would have better sense than hiring goats to do the job, at probably 4x the cost.

  113. Ric Werme says:

    Janice Moore says:
    May 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Anyway, I think A-th–y should link to your wonderful guide in WUWT’s navigation bar (or, if you prefer, and you have certainly EARNED it, you could sell your index and tips in the WUWT Store!).

    He did – look in the right side nav bar under the May calendar and above the links to other sites. “Ric Werme’s guide to WUWT (updated daily)” Well, usually updated daily. It gets tripped up by novel unicode characters in titles.

    Suggestion to everyone (including me) – take an occasional tour of both nav bars and revisit (or visit) some of the links that look intriguing.

  114. CodeTech says:

    Crustacean, carbon in the fuel, bound with hydrogen, is liberated and bonds with Oxygen from the atmosphere. You can do the math from there, but O is a lot heavier than H, and there are 2 atoms of O bonding with those C atoms.

  115. Ric Werme says:

    The hydrogen liberated from the fuel also combines with oxygen and that gets emitted as Evil Greenhouse gas. It often turns into Evil Albedo Increasing Cirrus.

    When Zepplins ruled the sky (well, when zepplins zipped between the US and Europe), the water in the engine exhaust was condensed and saved to maintain the weight of the aircraft to keep it close to neutrally buoyant.

  116. Yeah, goats are good jumpers.
    My father learned that, had to keep raising the fence (so ended up with a higher fence than if he’d started hight).
    Worse, some sheep emulated the goats and found they could jump fairly high. Goats can take care of themselves far better than sheep – which are a dumb domestic species. So if the sheep get out you now have a dumb tasty animal on the outside of the fence.
    Running sheep and goats together protected the sheep – goats would sense danger and run for home, the sheep would be sheep and follow. I’ve seen the whole collection run a third of a mile to home.

    Emission of methane by mammals probably depends on what they are eating.

    PETA? The t-shirt in hog country of eastern IA said “People Eating Tasty Animals”. I was raised on goat milk and meat, as millions of Mexicans may have been, and many millions around the world were. (They are more manageable on a small scale, including they can be grabbed and manipulated by a human – can’t do that with cows and horses. Do note however they are normally de-horned when quite young, unlike the goat in your illustration.)

  117. The goats will bed down at the site, tethered as needed, as the need for their services is only in warmer weather when the offending vegetation grows. In winter they live on a farm elsewhere (Maybe they could be moved around as bees are to match the season, though with greater difficulty – summer at ORD, winter at LAX.) Rain shelter can be made with tarps, or tents, or an old trailer especially for the herders. At Chicago airport the goats will be outside the security fence.

    This is all more feasible than people unfamiliar with goats grasp – some herein are behaving like climate alarmists: assuming, extrapolating from a little knowledge, etc.
    The cities of Kamloops BC and Seattle WA use goats in some locations – tough terrain, rough foliage, that’s their niche. Goats supplied and tended by a specialized service.

    Whether or not it is economic I don’t know, but I point out that chemical weed control is expensive. I do like Alan Watt’s idea of having a goat farm at the airport to improve the economics. :-)

  118. happycrow says:

    I see a booming trade in coastal Aussies who want some free goat/camel meat. Both are GREAT if handled right. All *I* get to shoot are the **** feral hogs here in TX, and while they’re tasty, they can also kill you and are surprisingly stealthy. Y’all Aussies won this one.

  119. Crustacean says:

    CodeTech and Ric Werme–

    Thanks for the CO2 explanation; saved me from making ill-informed statements in less congenial venues.

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