Methane Madness: The Battle for our Grasslands and Livestock

By Viv Forbes (Earth Scientist, Grass Farmer, Sheep & Cattle Breeder, Australia)
Dr Albrecht Glatzle
(Agronomist and grazier, Paraguay)

With assistance and support from:

Howard Crozier (Ex CSIRO Admin, Former Exec Councillor NSW Farmers Association, Australia)
Robin Grieve (Chairman of Pastural Farming Climate Research, New Zealand)
Neil Henderson (Sheep and Cattle breeder, New Zealand)
Jim Lents
(Stud Hereford Cattle Breeder, Oklahoma, USA)
Geoff Maynard (Stud Senepol Cattle Breeder, Queensland, Australia)
Don Nicolson
(Former President, Federated Farmers of New Zealand)
Pownall Family (Fifth generations graziers, Carfax Cattle Co, Qld, Australia.)
Petra Scholtz
(Breeder of Exotic Wildlife, South Africa)

To view this release with all images intact click:

Keywords: Grasslands, trees, grass, grazing, ruminants, livestock, methane, nitrogen, emissions, wetlands, weeds, cattle, sheep, feedlot, pollution, biofuels, ethanol, carbon credits, forestry, fire, parks, CCS, sequestration, food, fart tax, Mitchell grass, landscapes.
“The whole purpose of farming is to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into useful products.”
Vincent Gray
New Zealand Scientist and IPCC Reviewer

Grasslands, arable lands and the oceans provide all mankind with food and fibre. But the productivity and health of our farms and livestock are under threat from global warming alarmists and green preservationists.

It is poor public policy that condones restrictions on grazing operations, or taxes on grazing animals, based on disputed theories that claim that bodily emissions from farm animals will cause dangerous global warming.

Ruminants such as sheep, cattle and goats cannot make long-term additions to the gases in the atmosphere – they just recycle atmospheric carbon and nitrogen nutrients in a cycle-of-life that has operated for millennia

Grazing ruminant animals with their emission products have always been part of healthy grasslands. Only when large numbers of animals are confined on the one patch of land do pollution problems appear.

Many otherwise genuine environmentalists are assisting the destruction of grasslands with their native pastures and endangered grass birds. Blinded by their love for the trees, they neglect the grasses, legumes, herbs and livestock that provide their food. In Australia they pass laws to protect weedy eucalypts invading the grasslands but ignore the valuable and declining Mitchell grass that once dominated Australia’s treeless plains.

Grasslands are also under threat from cultivation for biofuel crops, from subsidised carbon credit forests and from the remorseless encroachment of fire-prone government reserves and pest havens.

Trying to control atmospheric gases with taxes is futile and anti-life. Even if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere doubled, or more, the climate effect if any, is probably beneficial (warmer at night and near the poles and with more moisture in the atmosphere). More importantly, all life on Earth already benefits from the additional CO2 plant nutrient in the atmosphere, and would benefit even more were CO2 to double.

Nitrogen is the most abundant natural gas in the atmosphere, inhaled in every breath and an essential component of all protein. Grazing livestock merely recycle a few compounds of nitrogen, all of which either return to the atmosphere or provide valuable nitrogen fertilisers for the plants they graze on.

It is a foolish and costly fantasy to believe that Earth’s climate can be controlled by passing laws, imposing taxes, attempting to manipulate the bodily emissions of farm animals or trying to prevent farmers from clearing woody weeds invading their pastures.

Our Farms and Grasslands are precious.

70% of our blue planet is covered by oceans. Grasslands and arable land cover just 10% of Earth’s surface but produce most of our food and fibre. The remaining 20% is land covered by desert, ice, mountains, forests, cities, roads, quarries, swimming pools and mines which together produce almost no food for humans.

Plains, prairies, veldts and savannas with good soil and rainfall tend to be cultivated for domesticated grasses and legumes such as wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats, rye, lucerne and soy beans plus the giant grasses like sugar cane and the fibre crop, cotton. Grasses and legumes, not trees, are the key food resources for the world. (Even the lovable pandas rely on another giant grass, bamboo.)

“I saw very few tree species, but every place was covered
with vast quantities of grass.”

Sir Joseph Banks, 1770
The first great English botanist to visit Australia


However, the poorer grasslands are best utilised by grazing animals – cattle, sheep, goats, deer and llamas. No other method can economically harvest sparse grassland vegetation and convert it on site (using green energy) into edible protein and fats, with by-products of wool, leather and fertiliser.

Mankind relies far more on native and cultivated grasslands and grazing ruminants than on the trees, forests, wetlands and bio-fuel crops worshipped by green urbanites.
“Farmers and pastoralists have delivered incredible animal efficiency gain. That is, producing more with less inputs.
This achievement should be applauded, but is at risk because of misguided green policies, and that’s a travesty.”

Don Nicolson
Former President Federated Farmers of New Zealand.


The Destructive War on Carbon Dioxide

Farm animals are blamed for causing an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were to double (as has happened in the past) two things are certain.

First, there would still be argument as to whether the increased carbon dioxide had caused any harmful effect on climate. If there was any detectable increase in average world temperature, it would be experienced as benign changes such as warmer nights and more temperate climate near the poles.

And second, there would be obvious other benefits for all life on Earth – more growth of all plants and more food for all animals.

Already we can see that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are encouraging plant growth and vegetation cover, making our grasses, pastures and orchards more drought-tolerant, producing more food per unit of land and allowing plants to gradually recolonise the deserts. Both CSIRO (Australia) and NASA (USA) have testified to this greening and the production of wheat, corn and soybeans are at near record levels.

The War on Livestock

A report in “The World Watch Institute” (WWI) claims that livestock account for “at least 51%” of annual worldwide “greenhouse gas” emissions. The authors conclude that replacing livestock products with soy and other products would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They claim that this approach would even be better than trying to replace carbon energy with “renewable energy.”

There are big problems with these assumptions:

“The notion that half of our emissions comes from livestock occurs only
by using accounting methods that would see the directors in jail
if these methods were employed in a capital-raising prospectus.”
Neil Henderson
Sheep and Cattle Breeder, New Zealand


Australia’s Ross Garnaut, an economist, is even more far-out – he thinks Aussies should graze kangaroos, not cattle and sheep:
(He has not heard that kangaroos, like cattle and sheep, use bacteria to digest fibrous plant material by fermentation, chew their cud, and probably create similar gaseous emissions.)

Moreover, the WWI figures are wrong and ignore ecosystem functions and nutrient cycling. And even the more moderate Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) systematically overstate the man-made part of the emissions because they omit to subtract the sometimes considerable baseline emissions from the pre-agricultural native ecosystems.

If Green Politicians had their way, sheep, cattle and introduced grasses would be removed from the grasslands and replaced by kangaroos and dingos, bison and wolves, wildebeests and lions, scrubby forest and feral animals. They would lock up grazing lands, ban the occasional fires that cleanse weeds and rejuvenate grass, and outlaw attempts to control invasive woody weeds. This would have two effects: first, to slash food production and depopulate rural areas; second, to increase wildfire risk and encourage the spread of feral animals and weeds.

Livestock and Methane

Methane is a natural gas produced by many life forms and it also seeps naturally from marshes, oceans, tundras, oil seeps and coal seams. None of these natural sources can be measured, but livestock are wrongfully singled out as the main offenders. Unmeasured methane also seeps out of the growing city landfills and from leaky natural gas pipelines.

“High methane content in the atmosphere does not correlate with high livestock concentrations. Strong emitters seem to be wetlands in Siberia, humid tropical forests and rice paddy fields in China. Livestock emissions are totally dwarfed by methane leaching from the massive clathrate deposits below the permafrost in Siberia, on continental shelves and in the deep ocean. Earthquakes and submarine volcanism can disturb and suddenly release methane from clathrates.”

Dr Albrecht Glatzle,
Agronomist and Cattle Rancher, Paraguay.


Top – Global atmospheric methane distribution as measured by the ENVISAT satellite over three complete years, 2003-2005 [69, 70];
Bottom – Global total livestock distribution of both ruminants and monogastrics. There is no discernible geographical relationship between methane and livestock distribution.

Paradoxically, Greens also want to protect, enhance and enlarge wetlands that generate copious quantities of marsh gas, otherwise known as methane – that dreaded gas that attracts condemnation when emitted by ruminants.

Methane is supposedly far more effective than CO2 as a “greenhouse gas” (between 20 and 100 times, depending what you read). But methane can absorb incoming solar radiation as well as outgoing IR from Earth, thus reducing its claimed warming effect by day. Moreover the radiative warming potential of methane is largely masked by water vapour. Also, methane is lighter than air and it rises quickly, thus transporting and radiating much of its heat to space. It soon oxidises harmlessly in the upper atmosphere where each molecule of methane produces JUST ONE molecule of CO2 (not 20-100), and two molecules of that other dreadful “greenhouse gas”, water vapour.

Volcanic eruptions can have a large effect on methane in the atmosphere. There were four large eruptions in the 20th century. “Analysis shows that Mt Pinatubo created a pulse of some 26Mt of methane in 1991” (Tom Quirk, 2010).

And another 500 powerful methane vents have recently been discovered on the Pacific sea floor off the USA:
“It appears that the entire coast off Washington, Oregon and California is a giant methane seep,”

Massive herds of ruminants have roamed the grasslands since the last ice age.

Methane from modern ruminants is a non-problem.

Livestock, Nitrogen and Pollution

As Green activists lose the livestock battles on carbon dioxide and methane, a new livestock “problem” arrives – “nitrogen”.

Nitrogen is the most abundant atmospheric gas, making up 78% of the atmosphere.

It is true that ruminant (and human) urine and faeces contains compounds of nitrogen, and in another bit of nature’s serendipity, most soils contain less nitrogen than plants would like, so the foraging ruminants fertilise the pasture as they pass. Any nitrous oxide gas that directly enters the atmosphere gets oxidised by ozone to form water-soluble nitrogen dioxide which is washed out by rain to spread valuable fertiliser over large areas of land.

All livestock “waste” is plant food.

However there can always be too much of a good thing. If animals (or humans) are confined in feedlots producing large amounts of waste on a small area of land there will be pollution unless these “wastes” are treated to produce valuable fertiliser and applied lightly and sensibly to the land. City pollution has certainly killed people, but no one has been killed by emissions from freely grazing ruminants.

Natural grasslands and well-run grass farms try to mimic the operations of the massive herds of wild ruminants. The concentrated herds are used in rotation to prune the grass, spread fertiliser and seeds, break any soil hard crusts with animal impact, and then move on, allowing the grass to recover.

Trees are Invading our Grasslands

Most natural grasslands were treeless or nearly so.

However, some landowners have been bribed to encumber their land with a growing green liability – the carbon credit forests. They have signed contracts with carbon farming entrepreneurs to plant and maintain forests of trees on the promise of generous “carbon credit” payments for the carbon being stored in the trees as they grow. But they can never clear these trees without triggering a liability.

All such schemes, being supported only by the promises of politicians, are doomed to failure. Some have already collapsed, leaving the gullible landowners with another liability – a thicket of woody weeds filled with wild dogs, wild pigs and feral cattle too smart to be mustered out of the thickening scrub. Farmers who choose to integrate a forestry enterprise with their grazing activities (without subsidies or mandates), should be free to do so – such activities can profitably benefit the health of the trees, grasses and animals. But the pointless and costly mandating or subsidising of carbon forests must stop.

Greens have also ensured that the ever-expanding national parks and reserves have become a danger and liability to their grazing neighbours. The lock-out of grazing animals, the slaughter of wild brumbies, buffalo and camels, the fire restrictions, and the banning of sporting shooters have filled many national parks with feral pests and a tinder-box of weedy rubbish just waiting for a lightning strike, a bonfire or an arsonist to start an un-controllable wild-fire.

Should Carbon Dioxide be Buried?
Livestock Capture Carbon

There are some extremists with such a morbid fear of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that they want to extract it and bury it deep in the Earth, as if it were radioactive waste. For example:

“Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is considered a crucial strategy for meeting CO2 emission reduction targets”:

Most of the grass in grasslands is either eaten by grazing animals or removed by fire – some decays and becomes humus. Fire immediately pours the carbon dioxide from burning plants (plus smoke, ash, soot and charcoal) back to the atmosphere and soil whereas cattle and sheep capture and store much of it.

“Cows are nature’s carbon capture technology as well as a cheap source of protein for the world.”
See: (NB Watch this short clip)
Geoff Maynard
Australian cattleman & Director of MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia)
Greens promote trees over grasslands and grazing animals as a method of “sequestering carbon”. However, unless mature trees are continually logged and turned into long-life timber or furniture, they eventually die, decay or are burnt, thus returning their carbon to the atmosphere. The forest inevitably reaches a state where there is zero net capture and storage of carbon from the atmosphere.

In grassland grazing, mature grazing animals are methodically mustered and removed from the land, to be turned into food supplies for expanding populations. Much of this carbon in cattle and sheep ends up in long-life repositories like leather, bones, humus or in the bodies of humans who eat the meat and then, in the long run, are sealed in coffins and buried.

The great Australian bush singer, Tex Morton, says it all:

“Wrap me up in my stockwhip and blanket
And bury me deep down below
Where the dingos and crows can’t molest me
On the flats where the coolabahs grow”

Once again greens have got it “Bass Ackwards” (to steal a phrase from the great Dr Howard Hayden) – grazed grasslands are more sustainable than unlogged forests if you want to sequester carbon.

The Carbon Cycle of Life

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the ultimate source for the carbon in all plants and animals. Every blade of native pasture and every ear of cultivated corn are composed of various compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and minerals, all extracted from air, soil and water. In the long run, every atom of carbon in these plants originates from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Because it is only present in trace quantities, carbon dioxide is often the limiting plant growth factor (at mid-day over a field of growing corn, all CO2 is often removed from the air above the crop).

Every landscape, natural or managed, is subject to digestion and decomposition processes which result in returning carbon (usually CO2 with some methane) and nitrogen to the atmosphere. Grazing livestock have always been part of this natural cycle.

“Cows and caribou, sheep and springboks are not alchemists –
they cannot create carbon or nitrogen out of nothing.
“Every atom of these elements in livestock emissions can only have come from the grass they eat or the air they breathe.
This natural cycle of life is a zero sum game.”

Viv Forbes
Earth Scientist, Grass Farmer, Sheep and Cattle Breeder, Australia

When native grasses, legumes, herbs and their seeds are eaten by grazing ruminants every atom of carbon and nitrogen they absorb from the fodder goes to build meat, milk, fat, hair, wool, leather, horns and bone, or it is returned to the biosphere via emissions such as respiration, and digestive functions that produce burps, farts, urine or manure.

This carbon/nitrogen extraction process starts the day the animal is conceived and ceases on the day it dies. It is the cycle of life.

Ethanol Roulette – Food or Fuel?

When a cultivated grass like corn is harvested and fermented to create ethyl alcohol, this is either consumed as an alcoholic drink or burnt as motor fuel. Eventually every atom of carbon is returned to the atmosphere in emission products via the production and consumption of the alcohol, or via the burning or natural decomposition of waste products.

In both cases the agricultural part of the carbon cycle is a zero sum game. Plants grow by harvesting carbon, nitrogen, moisture and minerals using solar energy. Seeds and plants are then consumed by animals, humans or motor vehicles, and sooner or later, the carbon returns to the atmosphere via emissions. If cattle and sheep are to be taxed, so should motor vehicles running on ethanol.

There is no justification for subsidising farmers to destroy grasslands, farms or forests with ethanol or bio-diesel mono-cultures of corn, beets or palm olive.

The Laughable Livestock Fart Tax

New Zealand was the first country to propose a “livestock fart tax”. Kiwi farmers organised a petition of objectors which attracted 64,000 signatures. Four hundred farmers then drove 20 tractors to the Parliament in Wellington waving placards and banners saying “STOP THE FART TAX”. The proposal was laughed out of Parliament.


Permission is given to reproduce this cartoon providing the source ( is credited.
If the image is missing click

Grassland grazing operations using stockmen, drovers and dogs for mustering and moving animals produce a ZERO net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact all farm animals merit a carbon credit, because they provide medium to long-term sequestration of part of the carbon extracted from the air in bones, meat, milk, wool, leather and humus.

Naturally, where quad bikes, utilities, helicopters, road trains and diesel-driven water pumps have replaced horses and wind mills, the mustering, transport and processing needed to put grassland meat onto the plates of city consumers uses hydrocarbon fuels. But the grazing animals still use grass power.

Changing Landscapes

The type and quantity of vegetation covering any area of land depends on the geology, topography, climate, soil, fire regime and grazing pressure.

Plains and gentle hills, in climates with a pronounced wet and dry season, and subject to nomadic grazing and periodic patchwork fires produced the grasslands. But nature never stands still. A change in any of these factors will cause the vegetation to change.

Pioneer graziers recognised these factors, and their fire and grazing management reflected them.

The unnatural suppression of periodic fires and the exclusion of grazing animals will destroy the grasslands while encouraging woodlands, scrub and weeds, which can then only be controlled by dozers and blade ploughs or herbicides.

Of course, poor grazing managers who overstock their land, have insufficient water points, poorly designed fences, clear steep slopes, burn off too often and do not spell their pastures will cause land degradation and erosion.

But to crucify grazing animals on the spurious grounds that their bodily emissions will cause dangerous global warming is ludicrous.

It is amazing that most organisations supposedly representing farmers and graziers cannot acknowledge the beneficial effect of grazing livestock on the biosphere.

“Twenty years ago I opposed the idea that a levy on livestock emissions may help the climate. I also opposed the preservation of useless native vegetation at the expense of grazing cattle and sheep.
Unfortunately, this long battle continues.”
Howard Crozier BA Hons, OAM, Australia
Retired from: CSIRO Admin, Farmer, Local Government &
Executive Councillor NSW Farmers Association

All attempts to tax and penalise domestic ruminants for their natural emissions must be exposed as fraud and opposed, especially when emissions from forests, termites, wetlands, wild ruminant herds and mega-cities are persistently disregarded.

“Man-made global warming resulting in climate change
is the hoax to end all hoaxes.”
Jim Lents
Stud Hereford Breeder, Oklahoma, USA

Time to Protect the Grasslands

Grasslands have been a natural feature of every continent (except Antarctica) for thousands of years, existing in harmony with grazing ruminants (often in massive herds), predators, indigenous hunters and the periodic bushfires.

Now we have Green armies “protecting” trees and forests, pandas and polar bears, wolves and dingoes, but who is looking after the native grasses and legumes of the grasslands, the Prairies, the Pampas and the Veldt? And who is conserving the valuable genes of ancient breeds of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, wild horses and camels.

Note: Petra Scholtz, from South Africa, who signed this report, is an active member of WRSA (Wildlife Ranching SA) and breeds and conserves exotic wildlife including sable and roan antelope and white rhinos. He also promotes Damara sheep (one of the oldest sheep breeds in existence); the chief author of this report, Viv Forbes from Australia, with his wife Judy, manage Australia’s oldest Damara stud on natural pastures; and Jim Lents, along with his late father Joe from Oklahoma USA, have for the past 73 years conserved and perpetuated the pure genetics of British Hereford cattle which were imported to USA via Canada in 1876 and 1877, and from Britain in 1880, 1881 and 1882.

The Grassy Plains of Queensland, Australia, in the 1860’s

Richard Daintree was a, scientist, explorer, pastoralist, miner and historian. He spent much time in the years 1860 – 1876 exploring, photographing and promoting Queensland. A large collection of Daintree’s photographs is held in the Queensland Museum, and some were published by the Queensland Museum in 1977 in “Queensland in the 1860’s – the Photography of Richard Daintree”, by Ian G Sanker.

Here is a picture taken by Daintree, in the Richmond area – not a tree to be seen. Daintree wrote about the vast soil-covered plains: “The resulting physical aspect is that of vast plains which form the principal feature of Queensland scenery west of the main dividing range”. He described them as first class pastoral country totalling about one third of the area of Queensland.


“Having destroyed much of the coastal forests and scrubs, coastal dwellers are now destroying the
open forests and grasslands by locking up the land or preventing any form of regrowth control.”
Viv Forbes


From: Destructive Green Land Policies:


Some Observations on the Treeless Grasslands of Northern Australia.

A young couple were married in Brisbane in October 1926 and decided to spend their honeymoon driving around Australia. In many places there was no road – just droving tracks.

Alone and driving an Overland Whippet car they started from Brisbane on 2nd October 1926; drove through central Queensland to Mt Isa, then via Camooweal to Darwin; then to Fitzroy River in WA, on to the Ninety Mile Beach, Marble Bar, Meekatharra to Perth; then across the Nullabor Plain (“Nullabor” means “no trees”) to Adelaide, round the coast to Melbourne, thence via Sydney back to Brisbane. They were welcomed back to Brisbane by a large army of cars at “Eight Mile Plains” on 27th March 1927.
The bride, Muriel Dorney (a school teacher), kept a detailed diary of the trip, took photos with a “Box Brownie” camera and wrote a fascinating small book called “An Adventurous Honeymoon the First Motor Honeymoon around Australia.”. It was published in Brisbane by the Read Press Ltd

She made the following observations on the grasslands and weather of northern Australia:

P13.At Morven 427 miles from Brisbane . . . we turned north to Augathella. We were now on open plains which, as a rule are covered with beautiful Mitchell grass.” (There is a picture of “The Black Soil Plains of Western Queensland” and there is not a tree in sight.)

P21. “The night after leaving Maxwellton, we camped on a treeless plain.”
There was no wood for a camp fire.

P28. “I had always pictured the Northern Territory as a kind of desert waste. How surprised I was to find such a beautiful country. Much of it fine black soil covered with Mitchell grass . . . the heat is intense on the treeless plains”.

P30. Mid-way between Avon Downs and Alexandria Station is the Rankine River store. “There was such a strong wind blowing and not a stick of timber on the plain so we stayed for dinner” (roast goat).

P30. “From the Rankine River store we passed over the Rankine Plain, which was a black soil plain covered with Mitchell Grass. It was thirty miles wide and if I remember rightly, we did not see a single tree.”

P40. “After leaving Brunette Downs (NT) we found ourselves still travelling over black soil plains covered with Mitchell grass … strangely we saw practically no kangaroos or dingoes on the Barkly Tablelands.”

P44. “From Anthony’s Lagoon it is 180 miles to Newcastle Waters, mainly over black soil plains. . . . when we arrived at Anthony’s Lagoon, the temperature was 115 degrees (46 deg C) in the shade”.

P48. “For the first hundred miles from Anthony’s Lagoon we went over an almost treeless plain. After that we began to find alternate patches of plain and desert . . . with a line of trees marking the beginning of the desert.”

P49. “Soon after leaving Daly Waters, we went across another black soil plain . . . . that afternoon reached a temperature of 129 degrees (54 deg C) in the shade in the (open-sided) car”.

P52. “The Australian aborigines . . . make fire by rubbing two sticks together. . . Once they have a fire they endeavour to keep it alight and often carry a fire stick about when moving camp”.

P104, on Wave Hill Station NT. “From here to Inverway (the next station) the patches of desert were interspersed with the black soil plains.”

P105, Wallamunga Creek, NT. “there were only a few trees near the water hole . . . but thousands of ducks in the water and on the banks”.

P128, Fitzroy River, WA. “The Fitzroy drains an area of something like fifty thousand square miles. The surrounding country is so flat that in some places the flood extends as far as sixty miles on either side of the river.”

P136, Christmas Creek, WA. “We encountered miles and miles of spinifex flats . . .”


And the Kansas Plains

“Have you ever seen those Kansas plains? Have you seen the grass stretch away from you to the horizon? Grass and nothing but grass except for flowers here and there and maybe the white of buffalo bones, but grass moving gentle under the long wind, moving like a restless sea with the hand of God upon it.”

From “The Day Breakers” 1972, p5 by Louis L’Amour, a novelist, journalist, lecturer and historian of the settlement of the American west. He lived and travelled this land, was a voracious reader and collector of rare books. His personal library contained 17,000 books.

But grasslands are now threatened by government bans on clearing woody weeds, by the cultivation of grasslands for biofuel mono-culture and by the remorseless encroachment of government reserves and pest havens.
See: Destructive Green Land Policies:

The Clexit (Climate Exit) Coalition has formed a “Grasslands Protection Group” to contest the baseless attacks by UN-supported climate alarmists, livestock critics and tree worshippers on grazing ruminants and the grasslands that support them. Clexit recognises that this war on livestock and farming is just part of the UN war on western capitalism and the green war on the human race.

We cannot rely on individual governments or politicians to fight this battle – they are so intimidated or corrupted by the giant dollar power of things like the UN’s $10 billion (and rising) Green Climate Fund. They will never bite the hand that feeds them.

And the drumbeat never ceases:
“Time is running out for agriculture to contribute to meeting global climate targets.”

Juergen Voegele
World Bank Director of Agriculture and Environmental Services
The Clexit Grasslands Protection Group will work with other rational organisations to combat and oppose the destruction of our grasslands and the livelihood of the pastoralists, graziers and ranchers harvesting them.
“The optimal way to deal with potential climate change is not to strive to prevent it (a useless activity in any case) but to promote growth and prosperity so that the people will have the resources to deal with any shift”.
Thomas G Moore 1995 “Global Warming – a Boon to Humans and other animals”
Hoover Institution, Stanford University 1995.


The Clexit Grassland Protection Group is represented and supported by:

Viv & Judy Forbes Sheep and cattle breeders, Qld, Australia
Albrecht & Eva-Maria Glatzle Cattle graziers, Paraguay, South America
Howard Crozier Former Exec Councillor NSW Farmers Assoc
Robin Grieve Chairman, Pastural Farming Climate Research,
New Zealand
Neil & Esther Henderson Sheep and Cattle Farmers, New Zealand
Jim and Nancy Lents Anxiety Herefords, Oklahoma, USA

Don Nicolson Former President
Federated Farmers of New Zealand.
Pownall Family Fifth generations graziers on
Carfax Cattle Co, Australia.
Petra Scholtz Wildlife Breeder, South Africa

Viv Forbes
26th October 2016
Rosevale Qld Australia 4340
Phone +61 754 640 533
Clexit Members:

Further Reading:

The Battle for the Snowy River Country:

Cows, Cars and Ethanol:

Agriculture responsible for 48% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions:

Deserts, Forests and Grasslands:

Fire in the Australian Landscape:

The Biofuel Curse:

Planet at risk from grazing animals?

Severe Methodological Deficiencies Associated with Claims of Domestic Livestock Driving Climate Change:

Rewilding – the left’s latest crazy, dangerous idea:

All Cows and Sheep are Green:

Greens Destroy Grassland Heritage:

The Green Climate Slush Fund for the UN:


76 thoughts on “Methane Madness: The Battle for our Grasslands and Livestock

  1. Please keep in mind that methane (CH4) deteriorates quite rapidly in our atmosphere. Ever since we began measuring it in the 1800s, it has stayed slightly under 1.8 ppm, essentially because of that rapid decomposition. Make four oxygen Atoms available to CH4, and the result is two water molecules and one CO2, re-radiating at different wavelengths than the the original methane, and allowing shorter wavelengths to exit without any re-radiating interception. So methane is essentially a non-issue – 23 times more re-radiating capability than CO2, but constant in the atmosphere.

  2. I wonder how long it will be before someone starts taxing oxygen, and measuring via a smart chip, how much you are breathing in.

    • Ah, no, they will measure your breathing rate and bill you for higher rates, as you are destroying the planet by exercising, or having sex for that matter, and exhaling CO2. You would be taxed for taking the stairs rather than the elevator, ignoring the fact that the elevator would use more energy than you climbing the stairs. Everyone would be encouraged to take tranquilizers, as that would keep them calm, breathing more slowly, and also remove them as a threat to the oppressive totalitarian rules.

      However, it is not unreasonable to admit that they might eventually tax you for oxygen consumption, being greedy in using a resource others need (desperately). Oppressive government is not above taxing us both coming and going, or breathing in and out. They are always looking for new revenue streams to satisfy their love of spending tax revenue on friends, family, and voting supporters.

  3. I seem to remember, but have been unable to track down, an article by some researchers in Australia that showed the methane produced from livestock was taken up in equal quantity by bacteria in the grassland they were grazing. It seemed to be a case of dynamic equilibrium. Can anyone confirm this?

  4. There is also the effects of millitant vegans (yes, I know that is redundant). The vegans oppose pastoralism, with the effect of reducing productive land in the furtherance of their quasi-religious devotion. So cow farts are seen as both dreadful and unnecessary, as everyone should be an adherent of their faith. Methane production by rice fields is ritually clean, so that doesn’t matter.

    • I always thought that’s the basic reason for the methane bollocks in the first place. To believe in it, you have to believe that American bison (for a start) never pass wind.

      This sort of forced delusion is really only possible to someone with a strong hidden agenda.

  5. The warming effect of anthropogenic methane is slight. A “big” increase in methane levels might be on the order of +0.1 or +0.2 ppmv (i.e, from 1.8 to 1.9 or 2.0 ppmv). The warming potential of methane is estimated to be 25-35 times that of CO2, so increasing CH4 by 0.1 ppmv would warm the planet about as much as a 2.5 to 3.5 ppmv (less than 1%) increase in CO2 — i.e., negligible.

    What’s more, the effect of a spike in methane levels on temperatures would be very transient, because even if you don’t burn it, methane in the atmosphere oxidizes with a half-life of only about 6 to 8 years, into minute amounts of CO2 and water:
    CH4 + 2·O2 → CO2 + 2·H2O

    Methane emissions from livestock in the United States are estimated to be in the neighborhood of 0.008 to 0.01 Gt/yr (3/4 of it from belches & farts, 1/4 from manure). If all of those emissions were completely and permanently eliminated, it would reduce the methane level in the Earth’s atmosphere by about 0.03 ppmv — i.e., also negligible.

    Do you remember that big Aliso Canyon, California natural gas leak, a year ago? An estimated 107,000 tons of methane were released over a period of 112 days. The Washington Post coverage was pretty typical. They described it with apocalyptic terms like “massive,” “worst,” “historic,” “disaster,” and “huge” (all in one article):

    But, actually, the 0.000097 metric Gt of CH4 released by that massive, huge, worst, historic disaster amounted to less than 0.002% of the estimated 5.284 Gt of methane already in the Earth’s atmosphere. It presumably caused an undetectably tiny 0.000033 ppmv spike in the Earth’s atmospheric methane levels, with the temporary warming equivalent of about 0.001 ppmv CO2, diminishing to half that in about 6-8 years.

  6. I had not realised how much foresight 19th Century Americans had when they killed off the great bison herds. If not for their foresight who knows what would have happened by now. :)

    • The idea was to remove the food source for the indians. That made them willing to sign treaties and live on reservations.

      Once the decision was made to settle the plains, the buffalo were done for, one way or another. I can’t imagine what would have saved them.

      • It a law. Hunter gatherers lose, farmers win. Always. Everywhere. It’s disruptive but inevitable. If Europeans had never come here it would have happened eventually anyway. Most likely the eastern farming Indians would have taken over the whole continent eventually.

      • I’m willing to bet commieBob’s observation has direct relevance to the topic at hand. Guess who gets to be the indians this time.

  7. I would rate this article on grasslands, as one of the best, if not the best article I have ever read in regard to the environment and climate.

  8. One of the surprising things about livestock emissions is that to the best of my knowledge, no peer reviewed paper exists that quantifies how much warming results from an increase in livestock numbers. Yet we have Governments of the world, led by our New Zealand Government, contributing tens millions of dollars through the Global Research Alliance to solve a problem that has not been quantified. A paper that does exist, by Dr Wilson Flood, shows that if methane from all sources increases at the same rate for the next century as it has for the last twenty years, then the temperature difference without feedbacks is 0.004 degrees Celsius. This is hardly enough to cause any alarm whatsoever.

  9. In my opinion methane is the Achilles heel of CAGW.

    The CO2 story is full of distortions and exaggerations. However at least it is not logically inconsistent within itself. If you accept all the distorted data and unjustified assumptions about feedbacks it does at least make some kind of coherent sense. The methane story is completely different. It isn’t logically consistent. It is a mess which would be very hard to defend.

    As the article points out because methane breaks down in the atmosphere it cannot build up. The level instead directly reflects the RATE of production, not the accumulation over time. A change in the rate produces at most a step change in level, not a steady increase. For this reason methane cannot cause any kind of ongoing process of change. No more methane is released today from domesticated ruminants than was released in the past from their wild cousins. Anyway wetlands are a much greater source of methane than livestock and by draining many of them we have if anything reduced methane production levels from preagricultural times. The entire notion that methane is contributing to climate change and therefore needs to be taxed is ridiculous nonsense.

    Methane was added to the theory as a sinful gas at the last minute, almost as an afterthought. I think it was done mostly to please vegetarian sentiments and those in the green movement who wanted an excuse to oppose large scale agriculture as well as large scale industry. However they really didn’t take the time to get their story straight. The weaknesses in the methane story discussed here are very real.

    We should make a point of talking a lot more about methane. Sun Tzu tells us to attack the enemies weaknesses. Let’s see them defend this ridiculous story that methane is building up and contributing to climate change. I don’t think they can.

  10. The best place to start cutting ruminants are the wild ones in game reserves. That is where they should start. How well would that go down?

    • B.J. – a friend of mine watches such things very closely. It would not go down well at all, for any species. They are too committed to 100% preserving anything that isn’t ‘tainted’ by human domestication.


    These are 2 letters below, which were censored by the Editor of the Veterinary Record, one dated 30 November 2015 and the other dated 11th September 2016. One of the editorial points I was responding to in the first letter was the suggestion that people should eat less meat to help stop global warming. In the second letter, I refer to Sean Wensley – he is the Immediate Past-President of the British Veterinary Association.
    To coin a phrase – “Houston we have a problem”.

    The Editor
    Veterinary Record
    30 November 2015

    Dear Sir
    Are we a Science-based Profession?

    I feel bound to ask this question after reading the VR Editorial Comment (28th November). This stated, in effect, that the profession was in a good position to support the IPCC’s dogma on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), due to man’s emission of so-called greenhouse gases (mainly CO2 and CH4). There was a similar editorial (VR 5th October 2013) entitled “Curbing Emissions”, which was a response to the IPCC AR5 report. My letter was published (9th November 2013), in which I commented that “there was no published empirical data or verifiable experiments that suggested either of the gasses (CO2 and CH4) had ever caused or driven global warming”. I also suggested that curbing these emissions will have no measurable effect on global temperatures and the ‘economic effects’ are dubious. Recently Dr Patrick Moore, Ecologist (2015) gave a lecture in which he produced robust evidence which suggested that, far from causing CAGW, more CO2 would be highly beneficial to the biosphere and agricultural crops.
    In order to clarify the scientific method, I need to refer to Dr Craig Idso and others (2013), quote, “The hypothesis implicit in all IPCC writings is that dangerous global warming is resulting, or will result, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions. In considering any such hypothesis, an alternative and null hypothesis must be entertained, which is the simplest hypothesis consistent with the known facts. The null hypothesis is that the currently observed changes in global climate indices and the physical environment, as well as current changes in animal and plant characteristics, are the result of natural variability. To invalidate this null hypothesis requires, at a minimum, direct evidence of human causation of specific changes that lie outside usual, natural variability. Unless and until such evidence is adduced, the null hypothesis is assumed to be correct”. I respectfully suggest, therefore, that the 28th November Leader does not follow the scientific method which was well defined by Popper (1965). If we are a science-based profession, it would make no sense to support the IPCC’s pseudo-scientific political dogma.
    There are other disquieting aspects. Dr Tim Ball (2014) makes a compelling case that climate science has been, quote, “deliberately corrupted by deceptions, misinformation, manipulation of records and misapplying the scientific method and research”. Much of this is also revealed in the emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in November 2009, which have been fully recorded and analysed by Andrew Montford (2012). He shows, regrettably, evidence of international malpractice.
    One of the main platforms of the IPCC hypothesis is its reliance on un-validated Global Climate Models (aka General Circulation Models) in projecting global temperatures about 100 years ahead. Global climate is far too complex and chaotic for GCMs ever to be programmed correctly. Furthermore many of the known natural factors affecting the global climate have been omitted from the GCMs. It is not surprising, therefore, that the projections made for the last 20 years differ wildly from the actual lower troposphere temperatures as shown by the RSS (Monckton 2015) and UAH (Spencer 2015) datasets. Both of these show there has been no statistical rise in global temperatures for nearly 20 years.
    One is bound to wonder whether the Leader Comment exhorting us to “raise awareness of our clients to these issues” of a pseudo-scientific myth, will soon ask us to raise awareness of the importance of homoeopathy.
    MOORE, P., (2015) GWPF Lecture
    IDSO, C.D., CARTER, R.M., SINGER,S.F., (2013) Climate Change Reconsidered ll. Physical Science.
    POPPER, K., (1965) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge.2nd Edition: Harper and Row.
    BALL, T., (2014) The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science. Stairway Press.
    MONTFORD, A., (2012) Hiding the Decline. Anglosphere Books
    MONCKTON, C., (2015) RSS Dataset
    SPENCER, R., (2015) UAH Dataset

    Yours sincerely
    Michael Oxenham

    The Editor
    Veterinary Record
    BMA House
    Tavistock Square
    London WC1H 9JR

    11th September 2016

    Dear Sir

    Sean Wensley Viewpoint (September 10th 2016) makes many valid points in his discussion of our approach to protecting the environment and the pressures on biodiversity.

    However, he then asserts, with no scientific evidence whatsoever that “livestock production…………. is a leading cause of climate change” (presumably global warming due to CO2 and CH4 emissions). He then goes on to equate these gases, in effect, with pollution.

    On the first point, there is no published paper based on experimental or empirical data that either or both of these trace gases has ever caused or driven global warming over the long history of Earth. He is, I suggest, contradicting the normally accepted scientific method (Popper 1965), when he assumes this conjecture to be correct. In reality he should consider an alternative and null hypothesis. With regard to man-made Climate Change, I should first quote (Idso and others 2015):- “…….. the null hypothesis is that currently observed changes in global climate indices and the physical environment are the result of natural variability. To invalidate this null hypothesis requires, at a minimum, direct evidence of the human causation of specified changes that lie outside usual and natural variability. Unless and until such evidence is adduced, the null hypothesis, which is amply supported by empirical research, is assumed to be correct.” It must therefore be concluded that Mr Wensley’s conjecture is falsified by the principle of the normal scientific method.

    On the second point, the suggestion that CO2 is a pollutant is beyond belief. This compound is an essential building block of all life on Earth. Far from polluting the environment, higher CO2 levels enhance plant life and crop yields, the optimum amount for which would be well over 500ppm by vol. (Moore 2015)

    As it is probable that this article was not subject to the normal review process, of which I have some experience, may I respectfully suggest that the Editor reviews this omission?

    POPPER, K., (1965) Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge.
    2nd Edition: Harper and Row.
    IDSO, C.D., CARTER, R.M., SINGER, S.F., (2015): Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming.
    MOORE, P. (2015) GWPF Annual Lecture: ‘Should we celebrate Carbon Dioxide”?

    Yours faithfully

    Michael Oxenham BVetMed.MRCVS

  12. But methane can absorb incoming solar radiation as well as outgoing IR from Earth, thus reducing its claimed warming effect by day.
    Nice factoid, one I hadn’t known about..

    • I don’t think that’s true to a significant extent. Methane only has C-H single bonds, which have significant absorbance only in the IR range.

      Another blooper is that methane supposedly rises quickly through the atmosphere and carries its warmth with it. It is of course at all times in thermal equilibrium with the ambient air (as is any other atmospheric gas).

      That’s not to say that methane is dangerous; it is not, and the excitement about it simply shows how far the AGW hysteria has gone of the rails.

    • Re: “…methane can absorb incoming solar radiation as well as outgoing IR from Earth, thus reducing its claimed warming effect by day…”

      Well, methane is colorless/transparent/invisible, so it obviously isn’t absorbing incoming visible light. If you google it, you’ll find that methane does absorb at around 3000 nm, which is the near end of mid-IR, but there’s not much incoming solar radiation there (though there’s more incoming than outgoing).

      • Nice graphs. Yes, the atmosphere is transparent to practically all incoming radiation. Short-wave UV irradiation (of the DNA-damaging kind, around 260 nm) is attenuated by ozone, but as your second graph shows, the incoming intensity there is low. (It also absorbs a bit of visible light, and hence has a brownish color.) Water vapor absorbs a bit of IR around 1000 nm, which is probably the most significant effect. But on the whole, absorption of outgoing IR radiation is far more important.

  13. note Kangaroos dont produce much gas apparently
    the WA govt spent many millions funding some fools trying to transfer Roo gut bacteria into cattle n sheep
    slight problem they have multiple stomachs(cows)and different digestive systems
    and it was an utter Fail!

    • Maybe, if they had transferred the bacteria to their own gut there would have been a different outcome. They could have eaten the grass themselves?

    • They really tried that? That’s hilarious.

      May I suggest an alternate strategy: This reference describes the catalytic conversion of methane to methanol. Maybe we should install such catalytic converters at the back ends of cows. We can then sell the methanol as biofuel. And while we are at it, why not sell the same device to human AGW believers for personal use.

  14. As for methane quickly rising into the upper atmosphere: Gases of various densities in the tropopshere mix before they rise or fall much, so like CO2 which also has a density very different from that of air, methane mixes around before it floats up. As for it being oxidized quickly: That is already taken into account in its atmospheric lifetime, which is taken into account in statements of lower side figures how much more powerful a greenhouse gas it is than CO2 (like 20x).

  15. As for all CO2 in the air over a corn crop in midday being removed by the crop: I don’t buy that – the sun will be shining and warming the crop and the ground, causing convection. The lowest few thousand feet of the atmosphere will be churning.

  16. As a consumer and producer of animal flesh (cattle and pigs), I fail to understand why those who choose to not consume meat can’t just go on their way happily munching tofu and leave the rest of us alone. I respect their right to eat only vegetable foods and expect the same respect in turn. This hidden agenda to blame CAGW on livestock is offensive and wrong-headed. Well, actually, the entire notion that humans are “unnatural” denizens of Planet Earth is offensive and wrong-headed! We evolved on this planet just like soy beans and have every right to be here. Until I see a mass movement towards suicide by the humanity-haters, I will continue to term them hypocrites!

    How many failed predictions will it take before people realize that they are being deceived and manipulated by politicians and faux-scientists into feeling guilt every time they drive their vehicles, eat meat, or turn on a light? We talk about cherry-picking the data, rightly so, but what about an even worse crime, refusing to acknowledge that the basic hypothesis is faulty and can never be validated? Instead of mockery, these clowns receive international recognition and a Nobel! Science is never settled until there is no one left to question it. But I suspect that is the ultimate goal, rid the planet of pesky humans and it can return to the pastoral Eden it once was in their imaginations….

    Rant over, thanks!


    • A female friend of mine, who is always telling others what to do, in a moment of lucidity, explained to me that she is entitled to do that because she has the ‘mother gene’.

      • Ah, all clear now, possessing ovaries gives one license to nag others about anything and everything. Gee, wish I had thought of that, sounds so much better than just insisting I know better….

  17. It is estimated that the total souces are 600Tg/y and sinks 20Tg/y below, leaving 20Tg/y in the air at the moment.
    Cattle and the like is not a new source of methan, just because you have measured it, so the factor 20 in warming factor is not approbiate, even if the factor was true.

    Has methane become the new black in climate, because CO2 is loosing ground. Several reports show that CO2 might be good over all.

  18. I heard an interview with Werner Herzog recently. He has spent a lot of time in nature making movies.

    “I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I can see only the overwhelming indifference of nature.” … “Human life is part of an endless chain of catastrophes, the demise of the dinosaurs being just one of these events. We seem to be next.” link

    Most people, especially environmentalists, get their very wrong ideas about nature from Disney. The result is the brain dead thinking that grasslands need more trees. They should treat nature with more respect.

  19. I was at one time in the farming and livestock business in Eastern Wyoming. In 1988 or thereabouts “Drover’s Journal” published an article about livestock adding 0.04C to global temperatures over a time period I no longer even recall. Shear madness. I wrote the journal explaining that no calculation at the level of 0.04C effect was possible to perform credibly, and a temperature effect of this magnitude was so small as to not matter in any event. This was my first foray into the public argument over global warming. Does this madness have an end point other than real damage to the Earth and us all?

  20. CommieBob’s reference to Lao Tse brings these two gems.

    “Those who know do not say. Those who say do not know.”
    “The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”
    — Laozi,

    • Thomas Frank has written Listen Liberal. He points out that our well graduated Democrat elite loves complexity. They think the kind of byzantine financial instruments, that brought us the 2008 collapse, are a sign of intelligence. Actually, the events leading up to the 2008 collapse demonstrate that Lao Tse was right. Complexity produces thieves and robbers. Frank wonders why they aren’t in jail. Wells Fargo is a prime example. The board of directors and upper management for the last decade should all be in jail … but they aren’t. The company will receive a slap on the wrist that will in no way make things better for the company’s victims.

      The fact, that the arrogant complexity-loving Democrat idiots have their hands on the levers of power, bodes very badly. I forecast more thieves and robbers.

      • The left is getting so bold in the US to pick and choose who they want to tax. They always want to tax everyone but themselves to pay for a bigger government. Most farmers are not on the left. Thus they choose this tax as a good one.

  21. Mikeyj’s joke suggestion that true believers should kill themselves while a sort of logical comment on the green mad cow belief is overtaken by the fact that they are already killing vast numbers of poor people forced to choose between eating or heating in winter. They have no say in the insanity of the green facism that has taken over the narrative in science and politics and surprise surprise the poor will pay the price for the stupidity of the political left in buying into this evil nonsense.

  22. “Fortunately, …decrease(s)(of) excess nutrient loads proceeded without complete scientific consensus …”; From, Rabalais, N. N., R. E. Turner and W. J. Wiseman, Jr. 2002. Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia, A.K.A, “The Dead Zone.” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 33:235-263.

    While this is out of context and we all know about consensus, this is another symptom of scientific activism/advocacy. Apparently the “Dead Zone,” which is neither metabolically dead nor permanent, was used as the excuse to go after the midwestern corn farmers, despite it being known that there were other sources of nitrogen. There are also other problems, some corrected in the literature, some not. This, of course, is tied up with the ethanol mess.

    Since the drought of the 1950s trees have increased in a lot of Texas, some due to increased rainfall along with changes in land use, and now we know maybe from increased carbon dioxide. Where I live (central coast) native live oaks are being cut for development, most saved are without their thick, brushy, with some grass patches or small prairies, bird rich understory. The few botanical and forestry types I have talked to don’t seem to know how it works. Cattle do quite well in the prairie areas and there were native bison and pronghorns reported.

    Don’t know much about it either, but have spent enough time in marshes to know they burp a lot. Some burn readily, maybe even from spontaneous combustion. Need to reduce oxygen, I guess.

  23. Viv wrote: “It is a foolish and costly fantasy to believe that Earth’s climate can be controlled by passing laws, imposing taxes, attempting to manipulate the bodily emissions of farm animals…”

    It is not a fantasy that some plant material (reduced CO2) is diverted by some bacteria into methane on its way back to the thermodynamically stable form of carbon, CO2. (Genetic engineering might help.)

    It is not a fantasy that atmospheric methane has increased from 0.7 ppm (stable for 100 centuries?) to 1.7 ppm since the Industrial Revolution. (Which factors are most responsible for this change and whether it will continue can be debated.)

    It is not a fantasy that laboratory measurements show that this increase in methane should be reducing radiative cooling to space by about 0.4 W/m2 compared with pre-Industrial conditions (about 20% as much as the increase in CO2). Reduced radiative cooling to space will warm the planet, but we can debate how much.

    It is not a fantasy that each ppm of CH4 oxidized in the stratosphere becomes 2 ppm of water vapor and that saturation water vapor pressure at the tropopause is only 3-4 ppm. This means that 2 ppm of CH4 can double stratospheric water vapor. Fortunately, increasing GHGs in the stratosphere increase radiative cooling to space, so the radiative forcing from this stratospheric water vapor is fairly negligible.

    It is not a fantasy that natural and unforced/internal variability (LIA, MWP, AMO, ENSO, etc.) seen during the Holocene has been big enough to obscure the effects of slowly rising GHGs. For that reason, observations of negligible warming during the Pause – and relatively rapid warming before the Pause – neither invalidate nor validate the expectation that reduced radiative cooling to space will cause some warming.

    It may be a fantasy to hope that governments can adopt sensible policies to deal with this uncertain issue. It may be a fantasy for scientists to expect that accurate scientific information can lead to better policy. Nevertheless, I don’t like emulating Stephen Schneider in an attempt to make the world a better place.

      • Gary, the “20x” or “25x” or “35x” figure (depending on whom you believe) represents a comparison between the warming effects per added ppmv of each gas, not per “doubling” of the concentration of each gas. Willis’s result is roughly consistent with that:

        Doubling CH4 = +1.8 ppmv (or +1.1 ppmv if you start with pre-industrial rather than current level)

        Doubling CO2 = +400 ppmv (or +280 ppmv if you start with pre-industrial rather than current level)

        If 1.8 ppmv CH4 has “less than 1/4” of the warming effect of 400 ppmv CO2, then CH4 has “less than (400/1.8)·(1/4)” = “less than 55x” the warming effect of CO2.

        Depending on what baseline for “doubling” you use, you can get slightly different numbers, but 20x to 35x is definitely less than 55x.

        Here’s a graph of CO2 and CH4 since 1800; the CO2 scale increments are 25x the CH4 scale increments, to approximate their relative incremental warming effects:

        If you hover your mouse cursor over the graph, it’ll show you the precise measurements. As you can see, over the last 25 years CO2 levels have increased by 48.42 ppmv, and CH4 levels have increased by only 0.120 ppmv. So if CH4 has 25x the warming effect of CO2, then over the last 25 years the increase in CO2 should have contributed (48.42 / (25·0.120)) = 16.14 times as much warming as the increase in CH4.

      • Garymount: Willis calculated that a radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2 is at least 4X bigger than that from a doubling of methane. (This is partially because CO2 absorbs near the peak of blackbody emission from the earth while methane lies off to one side.) In both cases, this meant a doubling from current concentration.

        However, methane has already more than doubled (0.7 to 1.8 ppm) while CO2 is roughly half way to a doubling (280-400 ppm.)

        However, there is currently 200 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere are CH4. So on a per molecule basis, CH4 appears much more potent. The reason for this is that absorption by CO2 is “saturated” by the high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. If you double the CO2 or CH4 concentrations from 2 to 4 ppm, now CO2 looks like the more powerful GHG.

        So you can get many different “answers” about the relative potency of CO2 and CH4 as GHGs. IMO, the most relevant “answer” comes in response to this question: “How much each gas has reduced and will reduce radiative cooling to space?” That answer: “The radiative forcing from rising methane is about 20% of that from rising CO2.”

        The authors of this post could have explained that 20% is a relatively small fraction of the current forcing, that only part of that is due to livestock, and that the rapid rise in methane has slowed in recent decades. Instead of properly explaining the issue, they chose to ignore it.

      • Frank wrote, “The radiative forcing from rising methane is about 20% of that from rising CO2.”

        That depends greatly on what timeframe you examine. Over the last 200 years, 20% is about right. But over the last 25 years it’s only about 6%, not 20%.

    • Frank wrote, “It is not a fantasy that each ppm of CH4 oxidized in the stratosphere becomes 2 ppm of water vapor and that saturation water vapor pressure at the tropopause is only 3-4 ppm. This means that 2 ppm of CH4 can double stratospheric water vapor…”

      The possible problem I see with that reasoning is that you don’t take into account the presumably different lifetimes of CH4 and CO2 in the stratosphere. A molecule of CH4 lasts, on average, for about a decade in the atmosphere. In contrast, at least in the troposphere, added H2O vapor quickly condenses out. But I don’t know about the stratosphere. How long does a molecule of H2O vapor last in the stratosphere?

  24. Did we evolve to sentient state so we can extend the life of the planet beyond the life of our species or is it the other way around? We can conceptually extend the life of the species beyond the life of solar system, not the other way around. And probably not just our species but all earthly life itself, since we all share the same root DNA design.

  25. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    We need to protect our food supply.

    That means we need to protect our farmers and restrict our government from adding even more burden and regulation to agriculture.

    In Oklahoma, State Question 777 does exactly that. This article shows clearly why the government needs to be restricted and agriculture protected. Vote yes on #SQ777.

  26. This contribution emphasises large treeless areas of grassland. Apparently, during his travels between 1811 and 1815, William John Burchell (after whom the burchell zebra is named) described the Little Karoo in South Africa as “a sea of waving grassland”.

    There are farmers there though who believe it is better for said grassland to raise springbok and other buck rather than sheep. They agree on Its use as grazing land though.

  27. Viv writes:

    Even if carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere doubled, or more, the climate effect if any, is probably beneficial (warmer at night and near the poles and with more moisture in the atmosphere).

    Viv, I think you’ve made a very important point that seems lost on environmentalists but not on ecologists. The ground truth of what you write demonstrates Green social justice warriors aren’t pursuing balance, instead they’re engaged in a campaign against humans. An ecological perspective would move towards balance rather than annihilation of competing species.

    As your case exhibits, there’s really nothing scientific about the debate, it’s purely ideological. Thanks for your efforts.

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