Methane warming exaggerated by 400%

By Barry Brill

The IPCC’s AR5 estimated the global warming caused by a tonne of livestock methane would be 28 times that of a tonne of carbon dioxide. New research destroys that estimate.

The war on meat has been gathering pace amongst our Western elites. The Economist makes a detailed case for “plant-based food” in the interests of quelling climate change –

The FAO calculates that cattle generate up to two-thirds of the greenhouse gases from livestock, and are the world’s fifth largest source of methane. If cows were a country, the United Herds of Earth would be the planet’s third largest greenhouse-gas emitter.

These calculations are based on figures supplied by the IPCC’s AR5, which contends that the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over 100 years is no less than 28 times the global warming it expects to be caused by an equivalent weight of carbon dioxide. This estimate is up from the GWP of 21 put forward in the IPCC’s previous report.

All this is now challenged by a new and authoritative research paper, Allen et al (2017): “A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, under ambitious mitigation”. This paper finds that conventional GWPs misrepresent the impact of short-lived gases (such as methane) on global temperature – and recommends the adoption of a new metric, denoted as GWP*.

This is a big advance. The abstract observes that, “measured by GWP*, implementing the Paris Agreement would reduce the expected rate of warming in 2030 by 28% relative to No Policy”. And who would know this better than lead author Myles Allen, who was also a co-author of the IPCC’s SR1.5 in 2018.

Currently visiting New Zealand, Professor Allen has recommended that enteric methane be entirely omitted from that country’s cap-and-trade scheme (ETS) because a steady-state herd of cattle can add very little to global warming. Methane has a half-life in the atmosphere of only about six years – so that every new molecule added is offset by the expiry of a molecule emitted by that herd a few years earlier.

He says:

“Traditional greenhouse gas accounting ignores the impact of changing methane emission rates while grossly exaggerating the impact of steady methane emissions”.   And –

“Climate policy the world over has traditionally treated every tonne of methane as supposedly “equivalentto 28 tonnes of carbon dioxide… It isn’t.

To find the carbon dioxide emissions that would actually have a similar impact on global temperature as methane emissions, you need to multiply those methane emissions by seven (not 28), and add the rate of change of methane emissions (measured in tonnes of methane per year per year), multiplied by 2100.”

If there is no “rate of change” (ie the quantity of emissions by weight is constant over time) then there is a one-off impact of only seven times the equivalent weight of CO2. Note that this should only be counted once – there is no accumulation as is the case for CO2 and other long-lived gases.

And, if the herd’s digestive efficiency is improved ever so slightly –

“Even more strikingly, if an individual herd’s methane emissions are falling by one third of one percent per year (that’s 7/2100, so the two terms cancel out) …then that herd is no longer adding to global warming. Yet if methane were included in a European-style Emission Trading System (ETS), the owner of the herd would have to pay just as if it was.”

Professor Allen is not beset by doubts regarding the error of the old ways:

“That this formula is vastly more accurate than the traditional accounting rule is indisputable.”

Not only are steady-state cattle herds climatically harmless, but they have the opportunity to help out the motorists and jet-setters. Professor Allen says in a further speech that if New Zealand reduced methane emissions by 30% over the next 30 years, that would actually contribute to global cooling:

“If a farmer is providing a service to the rest of the country by compensating for other people’s global warming, then that farmer might want to make a case that they should be compensated for that.”

As a co-author of SR1.5, the professor has a tip for the meat warriors that they should not rely on RCP scenarios:

“Those scenarios are based on economic models of the relative cost of different ways of reducing emissions. Some of the inputs to these models, like the estimated “cost” of a large fraction of the population turning vegetarian, are deeply subjective. The scenarios provide background information, but I would not rely on them as a basis for national policy.”

The findings of the Allen et al paper have been implicitly accepted by New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton – formerly the head of the OECD Environment Directorate. He has this week published a lengthy and detailed report, Farms, Forests and Fossil Fuels, which recommends that the Government develop two separate targets for the second half of the 21st century – a zero target for fossil emissions, and a reduction target for biological emissions.

Let’s all enjoy a hearty guilt-free steak, served with lashings of cheese and butter!

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March 30, 2019 6:05 am

Let the cows come home.

Bill Powers
Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 30, 2019 8:17 am

Cows are evil. A simple truth of societies. Governments employ scientists to make shite up and then use that shite as their excuse to control how society lives.
Sociolgically speaking this only works if the government first controls (u.k) or colludes with (US) the press to operate as their propaganda ministry and then prepares the young minds of mush with state run indoctrination centers better known as public schools.
This new research will be relegated to the category of “it which shall not be named” in the primary media and public school classrooms.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bill Powers
March 30, 2019 9:56 am

Beef Cattle consume plants all day long, it’s digestion is the source of their methane emissions.
Since they do consume plants, eating beef re-consumes the plant matter in better fashion.

Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 30, 2019 8:22 am

Did anyone expect less than 400% ?

“There is no logical reason
to speculate about
a future warming rate
of triple or quadruple
the past warming rate
since 1940.

Yet the IPCC, since 1990,
has predicted a future warming
rate of +3 degrees C. per century,
almost quadruple the actual
+0.77 degree C. warming rate
since 1940 !

And they compound that
excessive warming prediction,
with a worst case prediction
of a huge CO2 growth rate
( aka RCP8.5 ), that is
much faster than the actual
CO2 level rise in the past
few decades !”

The above quote is from
an article I posted today
on my climate science blog:

David L Hagen
Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 30, 2019 10:48 am

Full 2018 reference: Allen MR, Shine KP, Fuglestvedt JS, Millar RJ, Cain M, Frame DJ, Macey AH. A solution to the misrepresentations of CO 2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under ambitious mitigation. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science. 2018 Jun 4;1(1):16. See PDF

Note published in 2018, not 2017

Reply to  David L Hagen
March 31, 2019 12:09 am

Some years ago some Australian research suggested that methane was used by soil bacteria at a faster rate than it was produced by the cattle grazing on the field.

Reply to  StephenP
March 31, 2019 12:11 am

Some years ago some Australian research suggested that methane was used by soil bacteria at a faster rate than it was produced by the cattle grazing on the field.

Charles Higley
Reply to  u.k.(us)
March 30, 2019 5:41 pm

They entirely miss the fact that methane is at 1 ppm, while CO2 is at 400 ppm or 1/14th (0.07) of warming by gases. Increases in methane are in the 0.01 ppm changes, which would be, using the 28-fold misadventure, would be 0.0007 of possible changes. With the 7-fold relationship, methane would be 0.018 of the gas warming and changes would be 0.00018 of the warming. All of this would be undetectable by us and the world.

“Greenhouse gases” were created out of whole cloth. These are correctly called “radiative gases”, which, during the day, are saturated and have no effects on atmospheric temperature. It is during the night that these gases convert heat in the atmosphere to IR which is lost to space; and downwelling IR is reflected as the surface is warmer than the air. That is why the air chills so quickly after sunset and why little breezes kick up so quickly in the shadows of clouds on a sunny day with scudding clouds.

joe- the non climate scientist
March 30, 2019 6:08 am

I am a proud 2nd generation vegaterian. My entire family are all proud 2nd generation vegatirians.

Cows eat grass & we eat cows

R Shearer
Reply to  joe- the non climate scientist
March 30, 2019 6:47 am

People who eat fresh vegetables, those that are harvested still alive without going to seed, are cruel. But I guess that it’s a pro-choice position.

Reply to  R Shearer
March 30, 2019 7:30 am

Call any vegetable and the chances are good that the vegetable will respond to you. link

michael hart
Reply to  commieBob
March 30, 2019 8:51 am

Good catch. That brings back some memories.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  commieBob
March 30, 2019 11:11 am

Ever touch a mimosa plant?

Rudolph Schuster
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 31, 2019 12:21 pm

Alright now Clyde, let’s not get into veggie hardcore on here. We need to keep this clean for the religious folks. Plants are attractive, we’re all glad you appreciate them.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 1, 2019 9:34 am

Rudolph Schuster
The point I was trying to make was that a mimosa plant will recoil in the same way a woman does when touched by Joe Biden.

Rudi Joe
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 2, 2019 6:32 pm

Point taken. Joe is such a shriveled up old prude he can’t force women to do anything like Clinton did. He has the machismo of an epileptic molerat. At least Bernie has a homely pitifulness that garners some sadness.

Reply to  R Shearer
March 30, 2019 9:03 am

When people eat beans, you know what happens. Aren’t there more people on earth than cattle?

Reply to  R Shearer
March 30, 2019 9:46 am

Ah yes! But every single one of those vegetables are GMO vegetables. Until we rid the planet of every fat, juicy, corn cob and replace it with a natural nibbly, gnarly, misshapen cob … then the planet and people will never “heal”. All those GMO seeds must die off … and then we can replace them with seeds from the UN seed bank stored away in some frozen nordic cave.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  joe- the non climate scientist
March 30, 2019 8:12 am

They are happy to burn Carolina hardwoods, cut, trucked and shipped by sea to Drax Power in U K because the trees take the CO2 back in 50 yrs and yet cows cut, chew and swallow grass that starts taking its CO2 back the next day!!! The life of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is about a week. That’s the part of the final accounting you forgot Doc Myles.

Reply to  joe- the non climate scientist
March 30, 2019 8:46 am

Always have a chocolate bar before dinner.

Chocolate comes from cocoa.

Cocoa comes from the cacao bean.

The Cacao bean comes from a tree.

Thus: chocolate is salad.

Gary Ashe
March 30, 2019 6:21 am

Its all 100% bull schit. fact.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Gary Ashe
March 30, 2019 6:35 am


Just to clarify, methane from cows is not “farts”. It is burps.

Burps can be very useful, for example, as entertainment. My brother went to university with a guy who could burp the alphabet without pause. Very entertaining.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
March 30, 2019 6:49 am

While I was a substitute teacher at a small private high school, I got to know a marvelous , lively bunch of students. At the end of a senior history class, something came up about belches, and the students’ eyes all turned to Jill, a very pretty, petite cheerleader, who took in a breath, smiled, and loudly belched out, “Barabbas!” Later, at home, I told my son about it; he laughed, took in a deeper breath, and belched out “Barabbas is a weenie!” Good fun.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
March 30, 2019 7:02 am

You wouldn’t want to spend too long in a room with someone who could far the alphabet :0(

Reply to  Roy
March 30, 2019 7:02 pm
Crispin in Waterloo
March 30, 2019 6:32 am

The main thing introduced by this analysis is the concept of GHG accounting to replace the summing of contributions. Obviously “effects” are based on contributions minus subtractions, i.e. net change instead of emissions.

While this is blindingly obvious to observers working “outside the system” and has been from the start of the crusade, it is apparently news to those on the inside.

The IPCC and it’s supporters have always claimed to be acting on what is ultimately a moral imperative to “save the Earth” from the original energy sins of an errant humanity that must be forced back into the Garden of Energy Eden. The sanctimonious pronouncements by the self-appointed “experts” on the necessity of them exercising powers they have aggregated unto themselves are insufferable.

When fundamental errors so grave as this are upheld as unchallengeable, undebatable, beyond examination, the public has every expectation that skeptics will raise their voices, put their pens to paper, fingertips to keys.

Demand a proper accounting in all cases. Nothing is acceptable based upon the words of advocates alone. I compliment this author for standing up for the simple arithmetic of double-entry bookkeeping and applying it to the methane balance.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
March 30, 2019 10:10 am

Crispin, excellent comment.

Just to put the methane balance into perspective; methane level in atmosphere = 1.8 ppm, CO2 = 400 ppm. So methane at less than 1/200th of CO2 concentration. Or stated conversely: (wait for it) over 200 times LESS methane than CO2. Ha!

Furthermore, as is well known but often ignored, the condensing GHGs, i.e. H2O in all of its glorious forms is responsible for at least 80% of the GHG effect, thus relegating CH4 to a bit part not even quantifiable within the realms of uncertainty for the system at large. Or, as the Bard may have put it:

“…a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Malcolm Carter
Reply to  WBWilson
March 30, 2019 12:50 pm

My understanding is that the greenhouse potentials of gases are measured in dry atmospheres. There is apparently only one important GHG absorption band of methane at about 9 um in the IR and that band is overlapped by the absorption spectra of water. So does methane have any effect at all?

Reply to  Malcolm Carter
April 1, 2019 11:28 am

Methane is an irrelevant greenhouse gas outside of the laboratory and in the atmosphere because it only absorbs and retains Earth’s escaping long-wave energy in two very specific short radiation bands @ 3.3 & 7.5 microns, where that energy is also absorbed by water vapor. Water vapor is 5000 to 10,000 times as prevalent in the atmosphere as methane and has long since saturated the absorption factor in those narrow bands leaving virtually no energy for which methane can compete and certainly not enough to worry about increased levels of methane capturing. The only source for methane capture of energy in the atmosphere has long ago been exhausted. What it can do in the laboratory (25 times more energy absorbent than CO2), it cannot do in the atmosphere.

John Sexton
Reply to  WBWilson
March 30, 2019 4:49 pm

Livestock are only 17% of methane emissions of 1.8 parts per million, equals 0.306 ppm, they are irrelevant.

March 30, 2019 6:42 am

So, after a flash of inspiration, Professor Allen suggests that somewhat fewer angels can dance on the head of a pin.

steve case
Reply to  R Taylor
March 30, 2019 6:55 am

I always thought that expression was, “How many angels can dance on the head of Al Gore’s …….”

steve case
Reply to  steve case
March 30, 2019 7:17 am

Uh, that was supposed to be, How many climate scientists can dance on the head of Al Gore’s …….”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  steve case
March 30, 2019 11:15 am

What algorithm would one use to calculate the answer to that question?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 30, 2019 11:30 am

It’s climate science, you get to pick whatever algorithm gives you the answer you are looking for.

Denier Joe
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 31, 2019 12:50 pm

MarkW – with the winner of the wisest comment in the field. Congratulations. Whatever gets them more UN credits, cash, or allocated funds. That’s the number they will be sure to find.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 1, 2019 9:37 am

Perhaps I should have said “Al Gore rhythm.”

John M. Ware
March 30, 2019 6:43 am

While I understand that religious writing is off limits here, I will take a risk and point out that “meat in due season” comes from several Bible references, including Ps 104:27, Ps 145:15, Mt 24:45, and Lk 12:42-48; the reference is not to “veggies in due season.” (If this post does not appear, I will understand; nonetheless, I’m sending it.)

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 30, 2019 7:06 am

When it comes to scripture I’m quite pedantic. The Greek and Hebrew words in those verses simply mean food without any specificity to meat. A better verse to make your point would be Genesis 9:3.

Reply to  icisil
March 30, 2019 8:58 am

Even there icisil, the Hebrew, “אָכְלָה ‘oklah {ok-law’}”, means food.

Depending on where the same Hebrew word is used in the bible, it has been translated as consume, food, devour, eat, fuel and several times as meat.
e.g. “אָכְלָה” is used in:
Ezekiel 35:12.
Jeremiah 12:9. Ezekiel 23:37.
Exodus 16:15. Leviticus 11:39.
Genesis 6:21.
Genesis 1:29, 30; 9:3. Leviticus 25:6. Ezekiel 29:5; 34:5, 8, 10.

And translated differently for each line listed.

Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 9:27 am

Right, but the context of that verse indicates a transition from eating only plant material to include anything that moves, i.e., animal flesh.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  icisil
March 30, 2019 3:38 pm

Wasn’t the Hebrew word ‘woman’ translated into ‘virgin’ in referring to Mary.

Reply to  icisil
March 30, 2019 5:29 pm

I think that’s correct in bibles translated from the the Masoretic Text. I believe the Septuagint has “virgin”.

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 30, 2019 8:46 am

Icisil is on target.

What gets eventually translated to English, is often not what the original words state.
The proper process description is not ‘translate’, but interpret.

Journeying further back in time to Hebrew;
Identifies that the Hebrew term used, “אֹכֶל ‘okel {o’-kel}”, means food in the original Hebrew, not meat.

Nor is “season” the proper interpretation of “עֵת `eth {ayth}”, which means time, not season.

Keep in mind that before the Word became written, it was oral history.
As such, and especially since sections like the Psalms, are poetic while other sections are rhythmic in phrasing,all include strong elements of word play to emphasize meaning.

Successions of translators struggled in trying to maintain this beauty of phrasing, poetry, story, knowledge and meaning.
That successions of translators manage to reasonably achieve such difficult translations is astounding. Take joy and inspiration from their achievement. Don’t fixate on words that underwent four or more generations of translations.

Oral Pre Babel -> oral Post Babel Hebrew -> Aramaic -> Greek -> Latin -> English
Many translations return to the Greek or Aramaic versions -> Latin/English/French/Germany/etc.

New Testament writings may have initially been written in Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Coptic, etc.; often centuries span between original speaker to a written version.

Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 9:25 am

+1…great post

Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 11:34 am

The earliest known copy of the Gospel of John dates to about 125AD. John is widely believed to have been the last Gospel to have been written down.

Reply to  MarkW
March 31, 2019 6:54 am

The good Bishop John Robinson makes a good case for ‘The Priority of John’ in the book of that name.

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 30, 2019 8:49 am

Well, since AGW does seem to be a sort of religion, I don’t think that contrasting other religions with it is going too far off the mission of this website.

So, a translation of Genesis 9.3 seems in order, since I, for one, was interested in the passage:

Every creature that lives and moves will be food for you; as I gave the green plants, I have given you everything.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
March 30, 2019 8:58 am

From that “interpretation” it appears as though cannibalism isn’t outlawed.
Or is there “fine print” which contradicts this passage.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 30, 2019 9:14 am

Deriving extremes from simple sentences?

Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 30, 2019 10:44 am

LOL I think like you do. There are provisions against eating blood and shedding man’s blood, but I can’t recall a prohibition anywhere in the bible against eating man’s flesh. Having to do so is mentioned as a curse, though (e.g., what was prophesied to happen at the sacking of Jerusalem).

Reply to  icisil
March 30, 2019 10:47 am

prohibitions, not provisions

John W Braue
Reply to  icisil
March 31, 2019 10:21 am

Certainly; humans neither have cloven hooves nor chew the cud, and therefore are not kosher food.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 31, 2019 3:06 am

No, because Genesis makes it clear Man is not a “creature”.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
March 30, 2019 9:12 am

Each translated word has a reference number that provides information about the original Hebraic term(s).

e.g. the reference above “moving thing”, which is translated as “creature” in some versions; the original Hebrew, “רֶמֶשׂ remes {reh’-mes}”, means any moving thing.
i.e. if it moves, it’s also food.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 11:18 am

Unless it is a poisonous salamander!

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
March 30, 2019 10:58 am

Amen, Mr. Kernodle!

Nick Werner
March 30, 2019 6:43 am

That claim of 28 times the warming of CO2 for bovine burps and flatulence never passed my sniff test.

R Shearer
Reply to  Nick Werner
March 30, 2019 6:48 am

I hope that you didn’t examine this too closely.

Nick Werner
Reply to  R Shearer
March 31, 2019 8:00 am

No, I only have a bachelor’s degree.

steve case
March 30, 2019 6:51 am

When is this Global Warming Potential nonsense going to stop?

Barry Brill writes:

To find the carbon dioxide emissions that would actually have a similar impact on global temperature as methane emissions, you need to multiply those methane emissions by seven (not 28), and add the rate of change of methane emissions (measured in tonnes of methane per year per year), multiplied by 2100.”

If there is no “rate of change” (ie the quantity of emissions by weight is constant over time) then there is a one-off impact of only seven times the equivalent weight of CO2. Note that this should only be counted once – there is no accumulation as is the case for CO2 and other long-lived gases

Seven times, 28 times 86 times more powerful than an equivalent mass of CO2 – what rot. What does it mean? As in how much will an increase in atmospheric methane run up global temperatures – You know, in Kelvins or degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit? Try and find that answer on an internet search and you will come up empty. And why weight (mass) and not volume? The only reason the IPCC and its Global Warming Potential (GWP) numbers use mass is to get an extra 2.75 multiplier so they get around 78 times instead of just 28. (Gram formula weights of CH4 and CO2 are 16 and 44 respectively; 44/16=2.75)

Methane has been monitored since 1984
It’s increasing annually about 6.3 parts per billion (ppb) in all that time. An equivalent mass of CO2 would be 6.3 ppb/2.75 = 2.3 ppb So how much would an annual increase of 2.3 ppb CO2 run up temperatures? Answer – Essentially zero. And zero times 7, 28, or 86 is still essentially zero.

Barry Bill is buying into the Global Warming Potential numbers and merely trying to reduce the multiplier down to seven. Doesn’t make any difference, the whole Global Warming Potential concept is a steaming crock made up to produce a scary number. So Brill says methane only seven times more powerful at capturing heat than CO2. Do I have that right? Does anyone in their right mind even believe that?

Reply to  steve case
March 30, 2019 7:58 am

“And why weight (mass) and not volume?”
Gases only unvarying value is the mass of the molecules present. Gases have no specific volume until we specify a pressure and temperature.
PV=nRT is the classic equation. P is pressure. V is volume, T is temperature. R is the universal gas constant (8.3144598(48) J⋅mol−1⋅K−1). The only ‘fixed’ value is “n” the number of moles (unit of mass of the particular molecule) of gas in the initial equation.

BTW weight is a force which changes depending on gravity, but mass does not.

steve case
Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 30, 2019 8:23 am

RocketMan, Thanks for your pedantic input. CO2 is in the atmosphere at around 400 parts per million. Why don’t we express that as mass too? We don’t because that would be dumb. The absorption spectrums that have everything to do with the greenhouse have everything to do with the number of molecules present, not their mass. So, no the only reason the IPCC came up with using mass instead of volume is to get a bigger scarier number.

But since you’ve taken an interest in what I’ve posted, why don’t you come up with the answer to the question: “How much, business as usual, is methane going to run up global temperatures by 2100?”

Reply to  steve case
March 30, 2019 9:15 am

I understand your frustration, but do not know your level of education so please excuse any
pedantic repetition, however there is no need to get nasty. I am, in fact, a rocket scientist with engineering degrees from both MIT and CalTech.
Parts per million (ppm) is expressed as a ratio of gas mixture. It’s a way to determine the component constituency of the gases present. By knowing ppm and measuring masses we can determine how many tonnes of each molecule is present.
Many who also do not understand the differences will confuse them and misuse them. Some who do understand, will do so intentionally to confuse.
The only interest I have in this thread is to help you understand the difference in the values (numbers) you toss about, and at least contribute to reduce your confusion and increase your understanding. That way you don’t have to “believe” but understand.
To answer your final question, according to the paper in question, NONE.

steve case
Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 30, 2019 10:29 am

Thanks for the polite reply. The only education I need to debunk the GWP numbers is 8th grade arithmetic, and maybe some high school chemistry & physics. You only need to understand that addition of a few ppb to 400 ppm CO2 produces 400.00X ppm CO2 where X is the equivalence of the same ppb CH4 but accounting for the difference in mass. The two zeros in front of the X are insignificant place holders and it follows that their addition means nothing, the same answer “NONE” that you provided, and thanks for answering the question. Then it further follows that multiplying NONE or nothing by a GWP of 7, 28, 77 or 86 is still essentially nothing.

By the way the IPCC’s GWP concept uses the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere as a standard – which increases every year. Do you know of any other metric where the standard of measurement continually changes? Does that tell you that something is amiss? There’s a reason I refer to it as a steaming croc.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 31, 2019 8:33 am

There have been almost 100 different studies detailing the fact that CO2 turnover rate is 4-5 years. It is easy to understand that when you consider that new CO2 emissions per year to atmosphere are ~ 219 and outgoing transfers from atmosphere are ~215 per year. That represents ~ 27 % transfer of total atmosphere in and out. I havent done the decay math but those 100 studies have, so the idea that CO2 is a long lived gas is preposterous.

steve case
Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 31, 2019 9:34 am

Alan Tomalty … 8:33 am
… new CO2 emissions per year to atmosphere are ~ 219 and outgoing transfers from atmosphere are ~215 per year.

Bingo, all you have to do is look at the keeling curve
comment image
and notice that for a significant portion of the year the concentration of CO2 drops to realize that there’s a huge exchange going on, and it the average molecule of CO2 is likely to be caught up in it in a few short years.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  steve case
March 30, 2019 9:54 am

Hehe, projected amplification of zero, exactly so!

steve case
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
March 30, 2019 10:47 am

David Blenkinsop … at 9:54 am
Hehe, [The] projected amplification of zero, exactly so!

A five word debunking – That was great (-:

March 30, 2019 6:55 am

I shall celebrate this news with a steak for lunch tomorrow.

Tom Norkunas
March 30, 2019 6:57 am

90 million cattle in the US.

Prior to European influence, there were 60 million bidon, 45 million antelope, 40 million white-tailed deer, 10 million mule deer, 10 million elk, 2 million bighorn sheep and 1 million moose.

I can’t give objective numbers, but I start to wonder about how different methane levels were then vs now.

Reply to  Tom Norkunas
March 30, 2019 7:19 am

I have often wondered about that, I guess it was similar in Africa with the huge herds of Gnu, zebra etc. Man killed millions and replaced them with fewer cattle and now worries about the methane. Ah well, back to my steak!

John F. Hultquist
March 30, 2019 7:05 am

2 questions:
What happens to the grass if it is not eaten by cows?
What will the continuing human population eat that does not also produce gases?

March 30, 2019 7:06 am

I wonder how dinosaurs’ farts did not induce a hothouse runaway millions years ago.

Reply to  Petit_Barde
March 30, 2019 11:35 am

Maybe that’s what caused the fireball. All that was necessary was for the comet to come in and light the match! 😉

March 30, 2019 7:10 am

So many other kinds of meat besides beef: pork, fish, chicken, turkey, goat, etc. Even if beef were no longer around (God forbid), people would adapt and increase consumption of these other things.

Mike Bryant
Reply to  icisil
March 30, 2019 7:32 am

We can stop driving, too… we could walk or ride a bike.

Reply to  Mike Bryant
March 30, 2019 8:03 am

Did I miss the sarcasm tag?
And what sort of energy would you use to build a bike? How about the materials to even build a bike?
What is steel made form and how is it made? How about rubber for the tires?

Reply to  Rocketscientist
March 30, 2019 3:33 pm

Love it when the Bike Lobby assumes we’re all 20 years old, dead fit and enjoy playing Russian roulette with heavy city traffic! The grandma toting 7 grocery bags and 3 grandkids in a snowstorm ain’t gonna bike. Just sayin’ the obvious that somehow eludes the likes of Mayor DiBlasio.

March 30, 2019 7:18 am

Before the evil Europeans came to this continent there were hundreds of millions of buffalo, elk, moose, etc. eating grass and producing methane, from whichever end. My guess is that there were more methane producers then than the number of cows now? Since the decay of methane from old sources and addition from new is non accretive, we have steady state compared with 500 years ago. Perhaps methane should be ignored completely!! No net new contribution from US cows.

March 30, 2019 7:36 am

Somebody forgot to cook the steak. Yuk.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 30, 2019 8:06 am

It is the only way beef, including steak, should be cooked.

That preserves the best flavors, the best texture and maximum tenderness.

Cooked to dark brown shoe leather is a waste of steak.

Greg S.
Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 8:50 am

That steak in the image above is about as rare as you can get, ie. not far from raw. Medium rare is the gold standard.

Reply to  Greg S.
March 30, 2019 9:31 am

Agree, that one’s seared but otherwise almost raw. When its a thicker steak you’ve got to give it more than a mild sear.

Reply to  WXcycles
March 30, 2019 3:12 pm

I’ve recently gotten a sous vide cooker. I have a ribeye in there at this moment. It will cook all the way through at 123°F (i.e., medium rare) and then I give it a fast sear in cast iron and it’s perfectly done.

As I am wheelchair-bound and can’t easily get to or use an outdoor barbecue, this arrangement works extremely well for me.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle (@DeHavelle)

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Greg S.
March 30, 2019 10:31 am

Rare is: cut off its horns, wipe its arse and put it on a plate …

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ATheoK
March 30, 2019 11:29 am

I have read that the caloric content of cooked food is higher than for the raw food. That was supposed to be one of the advantages gained by the invention of fire — cooked food gave people more nutrition than eating it raw. So, there might be an optimum cooking level that doesn’t destroy the flavor and tenderness while improving the caloric content above that of “seared.”

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 30, 2019 8:18 am

A agree with ATheoK
If you mummify the steak before you eat it, you might be able to save some money and eat leather.

BTW when you overcook meat you increase the formation of heterocyclic amines which are carcinogenic.

March 30, 2019 7:53 am

The CAGW narrative requires that CO2 has a long half life. I just stumbled over this:

Humans pump about 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Less clear is where the planet puts it.

About half of it stays in the air, where it adds to the annual, two- to three-part-per-million increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the gradual warming of the planet. The other half is hoovered up by the planet’s carbon sinks … link

The above (admittedly not written by a scientist) implies that the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere is about a year. What the linked article does point out, however, is that the CO2 budget is poorly understood. It is no where near the kind of 1% accuracy necessary to support the CAGW narrative. Ditto, of course, for methane.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  commieBob
March 30, 2019 7:58 am

search this site for resident time of CO2, or similar
Multiple articles and many comments later — there seems to be disagreements.

Reply to  commieBob
March 30, 2019 8:22 am

The language of the paragraph leads me to guess it wasn’t written as a technical piece. No legitimate scientist would use the term “hoovered up”.

Reply to  commieBob
March 30, 2019 9:49 am

This is a good source of info on CO2 ( ). See section 9 starting on page 17 for info about CO2 residence time and errors in the IPCC estimates.

Reply to  DMA
March 30, 2019 2:03 pm

I am in no wise a chemist but that paper looks awesome. It would be really good if some of our resident chemists could have a look at it.

Obviously, I think the paper is awesome because it confirms what I have always suspected. 🙂

March 30, 2019 8:02 am

Another alarmist fairy tale, destroyed. Heh heh heh.

Hamburgers last night!
Hamburgers tonight!
Meatballs in spaghetti sauce tomorrow!

Life is good!

March 30, 2019 8:03 am

Another “well understood” mechanism characterized in isolation, then modeled, extrapolated, inferred at global… absurd proportions.

March 30, 2019 8:07 am

“new and authoritative research paper, Allen et al (2017)”

I forgot, what year is it now?

Bob Greene
March 30, 2019 8:11 am

I was eating steaks without methane guilt before this article. Too bad it couldn’t reduce my guilt any.

I wonder if the EPA will adopt the factor of 7 in place of 28 for methane GHG reporting?

michael hart
March 30, 2019 8:43 am

Plant based diets are not the best choice for some people with gastrointestinal medical conditions. A low-residue diet is often helpful for people with ulcerative colitis, which is growing in frequency.

Coeur de Lion
March 30, 2019 8:53 am

This chap who contributed to the IPCC ‘s SR1.5 must be deranged and certainly no scientist. Have you read it? It’s bizarre. It’s been dismantled by many proper sources, viz Prof Bates Dublin U. How anyone can take it seriously beats me. It lies blatantly about weather effects. We all die by 2030 if we continue to use coal. It says that global warming of 2 degrees is worse than 1.5 but does not admit that we are more than halfway there already without harm. No mention of beneficial effects. The Bishop of Salisbury for the Synod believes it’s a universally accepted blueprint for the planet . Deary me.

March 30, 2019 8:56 am

The earth pump unquantified amounts of natural gas and CO2 into the
atmosphere annually.

As noted below, Giuseppe Etiope’s work comes closest to my own.

I have found that upland topsoil, in the presence of adequate moisture,
is enriched by microbes oxidizing upwelling natural gas.

Natural gas also rises in arid soils which do not have enough moisture
to support the aerobic microbes to convert it to CO2. The natural gas
just goes straight into the atmosphere.

Natural gas upwells all around the earth, but is not well distributed
The differences can be seen in the depth and quality of the topsoil,
as in Kansas and the Ukraine. The better the topsoil, in temperate
climates, the more natural gas upwelling through it.

Cold or frozen soil slows or stops the upwelling gas, and too much moisture
causes the gas to rise faster than the microbes can oxidize it.

An example is the way moisture works with natural gas is rice paddies.
When the paddies are dry, no methane emissions are measured (they appear
to only test for methane). They do not test for CO2.

When the paddies are flooded, they detect what they call methane. If
they used a better test instrument, they would find natural gas.

I have found no attempts to account for this upwelling natural gas nor its
product, CO2 in the carbon accounting. Indeed, some get confused about
the gas found in topsoil, and claim that it was absorbed from the atmosphere.
Conformation bias.

March 30, 2019 9:08 am

Like those millions of buffalo never farted.

March 30, 2019 9:12 am

An additional thought on the micro look at carbon balance, methane enriches the
soil by feeding the microbes, which in turn convert it to CO2 and energy to grow the
grass. The steer eats the grass, belches some of the carbon and converts some to
steak, which I eat, and so on.

Is it better for me to eat the grass? And what happens to the grass not eaten? Does
it degrade to methane?

No chance of me competing with the steer.

John M. Ware
March 30, 2019 10:09 am

I don’t think grass is good for our tummies. I’ve never eaten it, but I’ve seen dogs eat it and soon after throw it back up; they seem to eat it to make themselves vomit. I think grasses are good for ruminant animals to eat; that way, if the first tummy can’t take care of all of it, then the subsequent three tummies get their turn. However, as one who has used fresh horse manure in his garden, I can testify that there is plenty of grass still obvious in the manure. I’ve also seen enough cow manure (and bullshit) to say that the same is true for those animals; thus, even four tummies can’t digest all the grass, so a fair amount of it makes it all the way through and emerges visibly in the poop. If it’s that hard to digest, I certainly don’t want it in my tummy!

Tom Abbott
March 30, 2019 9:15 am

“If a farmer is providing a service to the rest of the country by compensating for other people’s global warming, then that farmer might want to make a case that they should be compensated for that.”

There’s an idea. Let’s pay cattle farmers for compensating for other people’s global warming. Heck, if the price was good enough, I would start up a cattle ranch. How much would I get paid per cow?

I guess the Democrats probably wouldn’t go for putting that in their Green New Deal. Never mind.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 30, 2019 11:31 am

“How much would I get paid per cow?”
About this much:
Current commodity spot price for live cattle: $1.26/lb

Were you expecting us to pay more fore your farting cows? 🙂

Bill Burrows
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 30, 2019 5:33 pm

Australia already does this via the government’s Direct Action plan paying landholders to increase the carbon stored on their properties. About $2 billion committed so far with a further $2 billion set aside for future purchases (Aussie dollars). I would love to see an audit of the carbon claimed to have been fixed – especially for the below ground component. Huge landscape areas have been targeted, mainly in semi arid regions.

March 30, 2019 9:18 am

Early dinner today. It’s grilling time here in central Indiana, rain or no rain!
Salad of romaine and baby spinach, both rinsed, hand torn, and destemmed. Chopped green onion tops and red onion. Sliced black olives. baby tomatoes.
USA choice bone out ribeyes about 1″ thick and skewered scallops on the grill. Ribeyes marinated in Whistle Stop with Lynchburg steak seasoning added plus just a touch of garlic.
White mushroom caps stuffed with crabmeat. Not stems, just crabmeat and breadcrumbs for the stuffing.
Coconut Crème pie.

It’ll be a cold day in hell before they take my beef away from me.

Bill Illis
March 30, 2019 9:32 am

This is a very important paper people.

It is very hard to argue with the logic here and the climate science community will have to agree with the conclusions. In essence, there is no additional methane coming from cattle (or other animals really). That peaked 30 years ago.

The cows are safe again.

It also means, the methane increases are coming from other source(s). (Probably the oil and gas industry actually).

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Bill Illis
March 30, 2019 10:59 am

“It also means, the methane increases are coming from other source(s). (Probably the oil and gas industry actually).” Worth while checking out Russia’s Yamal Peninsula on Google Earth …. using the zoom facility is recommended

Reply to  Bill Illis
March 30, 2019 12:48 pm

“It also means, the methane increases are coming from other source(s). (Probably the oil and gas industry actually).”

Vegans. We need a graph showing the prevalence of veganism alongside methane levels.

Tom Abbott
March 30, 2019 9:35 am

Cattle ranchers in Calfornia ought to sue the state government for singling them out as being a problem and adding to CAGW, when in reality, cows are an asset and California should be paying the ranchers rather than fining them.

rudi schuster
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 31, 2019 12:39 pm

Excellent point. I wouldn’t wait on the cows to come home for the vegan CAGW believers to loose that argument, especially with all the judges appointed by Obama and their legislature. It’s too bad they worship at the catastrophic climate change altar or they could make California great again.

March 30, 2019 9:37 am

Seems like this should have been obvious from the get go.

Larry in Texas
March 30, 2019 9:37 am

Although this article thoroughly smashes the IPCC’s exaggerations regarding methane, I have a question.

If we can genetically modify plants to be more drought tolerant, less pest resistant, and capable of increased yields per acre, why can’t we genetically modify cows to be more digestively efficient (less burping or farting)? It’s more of a rhetorical question, but I would still be expecting the agricultural scientists to come up with a solution for that for many reasons other than methane.

Mike H
March 30, 2019 9:46 am

My diet is labeled GF for guilt-free, and will enjoy that grilled-to-perfection T-bone with a baked potato augmented with generous portions of butter, bacon, cheese, and sour cream.

March 30, 2019 9:47 am

The abolition of cows because the produce methane seems to lack merit and border on the absurd. Man needs protein. PERIOD. Man like cows rely upon bacteria to digest food. When man digests meat protein little methane is produced. Cows do not eat meat for their protein. they get their protein from vegetables, grains, etc – plants. When they digest these vegetables the bacteria produces methane. The density of protein in vegetables is low, very low. So in essence, the cows eat the vegetables, and concentrate the proteins in their meat and release the methane in the fields. Man then eats the meat, obtains the needed protein and releases very little gas. However, for man to get their protein from vegetables, grains, etc. they would have to eat large quantities of material that when digested by the bacteria will produce large quantities of GAS. It would seem to me that since bacteria is performing the same action to produce the same amount of needed protein that very close to the same amount of methane will now be generated by MAN. Thus the next step is to abolish man.

Reply to  Usurbrain
March 30, 2019 11:12 am

Vegans supposedly f@rt like monsters. So if everyone’s a vegan nothing’s been accomplished. Might as well let cows do the dirty work.

March 30, 2019 11:01 am

The chart is worth seeing, as it is about how many large animals there WERE as compared to how many we have now.

E J Zuiderwijk
March 30, 2019 11:08 am

Meat eaters are vegetarians by proxy.

J Mac
March 30, 2019 11:16 am

Excellent article, Barry Brille!

March 30, 2019 11:17 am

But the question no one asked was whether Myles Allen had a steak in this study.

Dennis Sandberg
March 30, 2019 11:43 am

Cow methane 400% over-estimated. About the same as the IPCC over-estimate of temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. About the same under-estimate of the cost for wind & solar power when backup requirements are included. Nice number. Hoax or fraud? Let the Trump Climate Committee work begin.

March 30, 2019 1:14 pm

So, if I can’t eat the beef, and instead have to eat the beans and asparagus, what happens to me when I start…OMG!

son of mulder
Reply to  billtoo
March 30, 2019 2:04 pm

Don’t eat. It will save humanity.

Reply to  billtoo
March 30, 2019 2:28 pm

I have written about this before how I met John Maunder who was a New Zealand Meteorologist who had taught meteorology in Universities around the world .
He was a member of WMO and he told me that he attended the very first climate conference in Villach in Austria and the second one in Rio de Janiero in Brazil.
At both those conferences methane emissions from farmed live stock was never mentioned and it was not till the Kyoto conference and the ensuing Kyoto Protocol was introduced that activists became involved and brought up the livestock methane scam .
We have been fighting this nonsense ever since and at last Professor Allen has debunked the myth.
I and many others have argued that the methane is simply a cycle and that no more CO2 or methane is produced and emitted over any time period.
Grass and fodder crops grow and absorb CO2 ,They extract CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into carbohydrates and cellulose .
Farmed livestock eat this grass and crops and methane is emitted as the livestock’s digestive systems rely on anaerobic microbes to digest the cellulose and the microbes produce methane as a byproduct .
The microbes then are moved on to the next stomach and the animals absorb the microbes as food.
The methane emitted breaks down in the upper atmosphere in into CO2 and H2O and that is what grass and fodder crops need in abundance .
No one really knows what the half life of methane is in the atmosphere but it is between 6 and 10 years but it does not really matter .
What matters is that the whole process is a cycle and should never have been included in any countries emissions calculations .
The trolls will be yelling that the methane levels are rising and all farmed livestock should be eliminated .
Methane is emitted from many sources but most are cyclic and therefore do not pose any threat to rising levels .
The small rises being recorded come from methane released during coal extraction ( see Pike River Mine West coast NZ ) and gas fields and pipe lines and from general fossil fuel use .

March 30, 2019 1:57 pm

Let the first person that has ever tipped a cow, throw the first stone 🙂

son of mulder
March 30, 2019 2:03 pm

Now that’s a problem, if methane wasn’t responsible for some of the warming, what was? They totally understand CO2 because the science is settled so it can’t be that. There is another theory of Global Warming and that is that it is made up so as to further the cause of a Global Government etc.

Svend Ferdinandsen
March 30, 2019 3:05 pm

Methane is 28 times worse than CO2. If you reverse it then CO2 is only 1/28 of methane. That is wonderfull, you don’t need to care about CO2 anymore.

Chris D.
March 30, 2019 3:48 pm

A fun in vivo experiment might be to compare South Carolina’s USHCN station data of Clemson to nearby stations of Anderson and Walhalla. Clemson is (or was when I surveyed it) sited at the Lemaster Dairy Cattle Center fairly nearby the cattle barn. I was struck by the strong and pervasive odor of the livestock there.

March 30, 2019 4:33 pm

In regard to the mention of the word woman to virgin.

My understanding is that in the 3rd century one of the earlier churchmen remarked that the concept of the Virgin Mary was a error caused by the translation from Jesus language which was Aramac into Greek.

That in the Greek of that time a young woman was considered to be a virgin.


March 30, 2019 4:42 pm

There were 6 times more Buffalo around 1800 than there are cows now. So cow farts are more potent than Buffalo farts. Is there a study?

Lee Eddy
Reply to  Kirt Griffin
March 31, 2019 7:07 am

Never did make sense, that today’s cattle have increased the amount of methane in the atmosphere. There use to be 100,000,000 bison on the great plains with roughly the same number of cattle as today. I would propose that methane emissions from 4 stomach animals have actually been reduced in the last 150 years.
People eating kale produce way more emissions then cattle eating kale.

Reply to  Kirt Griffin
April 1, 2019 5:25 am

No there was a maximum of about 20 million Buffalo, there are now about 100 million cattle in the US.

March 30, 2019 4:48 pm

Also inconsistent with agw theory. Enteric fermentation is not a creation of the industrial economy

March 30, 2019 6:17 pm

Remember the great plaines of the world have been covered by large bodied herbivores producing methane for millions of years. All we have done is exchanged species

Jerry Palmer
March 30, 2019 6:44 pm
Jerry Palmer
March 30, 2019 7:00 pm

Apropos of nothing in this thread, except tangentially, is this article saying “we have conclusive proof that CO2 does not lead temperature change, but we will continue to push our agenda anyway” or am I missing something?

Patrick MJD
March 30, 2019 10:03 pm

Models and estimates = rubbish!

There are so many more issues worth actually worrying about.

March 30, 2019 10:13 pm

Mega Fauna Farts , caused the Glaciers to depart
but before the Deluge came – Noah heard God call his name
So he built an Ark – where all cows could freely fart
But no fires would he start – to prevent be blown apart

Rainer Bensch
March 31, 2019 2:37 am

What I don’t understand is the reference of

the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over 100 years is no less than 28 times the global warming it expects to be caused by an equivalent weight of carbon dioxide

How does the 100 years influence the GWP? Is the GWP over 100 years different from 1 or 10 or say, 500 years?

/s just in case

March 31, 2019 6:24 am

This finding is nearly as much rubbish as the IPCC lie about methane
Methane CH4 as a gas in fact absorbs less radiation than CO2 gas but then there is only 1,7ppm in the atmosphere compared to about 400 ppm for CO2. So the presence of CH4 in the atmosphere amounts to practically zero effect.
When CH4 is burnt there is the following reaction CH4g +2O2g > CO2g + 2H2Og ie for each m3 of CH4 there will be one m3 of CO2.
see (methane good or bad)
If one takes into account that water vapor (H2Og) is a greenhouse gas (but not according to the IPCC) burning of natural gas (CH4) is actually worse than coal.
Check out real information based on test work in text books such as the Chemical Engineering handbook and prove to yourself that the IPCC are liars

Martin Lewitt
March 31, 2019 6:30 am

The net United States contribution to warming from cattlefails to take into account the reduction of methane production from the elimination of the great bison herds. Bison and cattle are closely related animals. Only those cattle in numbers in excess of those of the original bison herds should be considered a net anthropogenic contribution.

March 31, 2019 11:24 am

Like all the rest of this CAGW scam….a complete crock. To think I wasted my time reading this nonsense.

Myles Allen
April 4, 2019 9:25 am

Dear All,

I’m not sure where the headline for this post came from, but I think my lectures and op-ed (including the quotes in the post) were reasonably clear that the global temperature impact of a steady rate of methane emissions (assuming those methane emissions increased from zero over the past century or so) was seven times the impact of the same number of tonnes per year of CO2, not 28 times as the conventional GWP accounting rule would imply. This is a factor of 4, not 400: not quite as dramatic, but still well worth clearing up. And the impact of changing methane emission rates are heavily undervalued by traditional accounting.

The relevant equation is:

E(CO2e)* = 7 x E(CH4) + 2100 x dE(CH4) / dt

The traditional equation is E(CO2e) = 28 x E(CH4). So whether or not E(CO2e)* is greater or less than E(CO2) depends on whether and how fast methane emissions are rising or falling.

Sorry it’s not as simple as just a factor of 400, but that’s the way it is.


April 4, 2019 2:52 pm

I spent a lot of time around cows as a boy. Yes, they do stink, and make a LOT of cow turds, but I don’t recall EVER hearing them fart! To a farmer, though, it all smells like money, much like the oil wells to people who own oil wells. It’s all a matter of perception.But, to liberals, ANY lie will do if it serves THEIR agenda! Can I say, BULL SH_T??

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