Cow methane mask. Source Wired

UK Company Develops Climate Change Masks for Cows

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Wired, a new bovine burp mask fitted with a catalytic converter catches methane expelled from cattle and converts it to CO2 and water. Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.

This burp-catching mask for cows could slow down climate change

Methane from cattle accounts for a significant amount of global warming – startup Zelp has a comfortable and stylish solution

Friday 1 January 2021

There are 1.6 billion cattle on Earth, and their burps and farts are becoming a big problem. Cows expel methane, a colourless and odourless gas which is approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the planet. 

Zelp, a UK-based company, has developed a potential solution in the form of a burp-catching face mask for cows, designed to reduce methane emissions from cattle by 60 per cent. The firm was founded by brothers Francisco and Patricio Norris, whose family run a livestock farming business in Argentina. “We were aware that in every country, methane is one of the biggest contributions to global warming and we found that methane mitigation tools in agriculture are under-researched,” says Francisco. “There isn’t a lot of innovation occurring within the field.”

The mask fits comfortably on a cow’s head with a zip-tie-like mechanism allowing it to be adjusted to various cattle’s head sizes depending on the breed. It is applied to cattle after they are weaned, usually at 6-8 months of age, and sits next to the nostrils, allowing the tool to capture methane from their breathing, belches and burps. “Around 95 per cent of the cattle’s methane emissions come from their nostrils and mouths,” Norris explains. “The technology detects, captures and oxidises methane when it is exhaled by the animals.”

Read more:

From what I’ve seen of cattle a lot of methane seems to come out the other end, so the mask at best would seem to be a half solution.

I’m also wondering how long the masks would last in real world conditions. Cows are pretty good at destroying stuff which bothers them. I suspect a lot of them would scratch against a tree or rock until the strap breaks, or get other members of the herd to chew on it.

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January 3, 2021 6:09 am

This made me laugh, “The mask fits comfortably on a cow’s head with a zip-tie-like mechanism…”

Comfortably?  Have the Norris brothers tried it themselves to determine it’s comfortability? Or did they ask the cows?


Reply to  Bob Tisdale
January 3, 2021 6:13 am

Ooops, sorry about the runaway boldface.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
January 3, 2021 12:40 pm

I love the idiotic way they call this “stylish”.
You’re really going to walk past field of cows and say : wow, those bovine face masks are really stylish.

Any anomaly like that is a real turn off in animal mating instincts. Most species abhor defects. They do not go down as “stylish”.

Leave the poor creatures along.

Reply to  Greg
January 3, 2021 2:27 pm

No judgment. No labels.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
January 3, 2021 11:35 am

There is no mention of how farts can be handled thought 😉

Reply to  Roger Surf
January 3, 2021 12:33 pm

Platinum gauze butt-plug. Initial cost is high but the govt will pay so you don’t need to worry.

January 3, 2021 6:11 am

Michael Mann could use one of those.

Reply to  Scissor
January 3, 2021 12:35 pm

It’s not the hot that is his problem. It’s all the excrement his is producing.

Tired Old Nurse
January 3, 2021 6:17 am

Please tell me this is an early April’s Fool joke.

Reply to  Tired Old Nurse
January 4, 2021 11:01 am

Has to be.
Do cows burp through their noses?

January 3, 2021 6:17 am

Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.”

zDOdq.png (851×600) (


Reply to  mwhite
January 3, 2021 7:49 am

Doubling CH4 has a larger percentage effect than doubling CO2 causing its effect to increase from almost nothing to a bigger almost nothing.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 3, 2021 9:11 am

No it has not. See my comment below. Doubling Methane content is measured in hundredth of degrees, totally negligible.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2021 9:34 am

Yes, from almost nothing to a bigger almost nothing. None the less the fractional increase is still larger than doubling CO2 and this is what they refer to as more powerful. They just fail to mention that even after the larger fractional increase, a bigger nothing is still nothing.

Last edited 2 years ago by co2isnotevil
Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 3, 2021 9:58 am

Can’t remember where I saw it, but apparently methane’s residence in the atmosphere is rather short, reacting with something else and breaking down into CO2 and something else. At any rate, it doesn’t stick around very long in methane form.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
January 4, 2021 10:34 am

Since it is not really possible to double the atmospheric methane concentration, it’s a moo point.

Reply to  mwhite
January 3, 2021 6:31 pm

“…which is approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide”

Makes people think the range may be uncertainty range may be narrow? At least they didn’t state approximately 83.96834 times.

I’m with mwhite, absorption bands suggest 84 times is implausible, especially if there is water vapor in the air. I understand there is a paper published with the estimate of 84 times at 20 years and 34 times at 100 years that the IPCC uses. However, just because it’s published doesn’t make it true.

Timo, not that one
Reply to  RelPerm
January 4, 2021 9:06 am

“At least they didn’t state approximately 83.96834 times.”

87.63% of all statistics are made up.

I read that on a napkin at Hooters, so it must be true.

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2021 6:18 am

Will act like a rag to a bull. As a founding member of the Bovine Liberation Front I protest in the strongest possible terms against this restriction of our fundamental right to ventilate.

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2021 10:53 am

Sounds like you just vented without any restriction.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2021 5:26 pm
January 3, 2021 6:28 am

If cars and airplanes can expel CO2 if they run on bio-fuel — hydrocarbon fuel made from vegetable matter — what is wrong with cows expelling CO2 and/or Methane made directly from vegetable matter?

Reply to  Speed
January 3, 2021 6:54 am

Sssssh, stoppit. They’re trying to make money from dumb and gullible people. Don’t give the game away so soon.

Reply to  Speed
January 3, 2021 8:59 am

Cows don’t have the same lobbyists.

January 3, 2021 6:29 am

This is one of those inventions designed by city people to get other vulnerable city people to pay them research grant money. Knowing cattle as I do I can think of ten reasons without even trying why this won’t work. And let’s not even get into the other end of the problem. I’d love to see the research about how 95% of emissions come from the nose. I suspect that is just more male bovine excrement. And just wait until PETA sees those things.

Climate believer
Reply to  Natalie
January 3, 2021 7:19 am

According to their website, the halter : Goes above & beyond the freedoms of animal welfare”

The whole thing looks like an Onion spoof.

Weirdly though, looks like people have been interested in cow breath since the mid nineties.

Jim B
Reply to  Climate believer
January 3, 2021 9:41 am

Yep. It is on the wrong end of the cow.

Reply to  Jim B
January 3, 2021 12:19 pm

Yes obviously it’s farts that are cooking the planet not burps. Dinosaurs were very often bigger than cows their farts must of been enormous, but we don’t blame them for their own extinction unless farts attract asteroids. Oh my god I’ll never eat cabbage or sprouts again. Ah hah vegans and vegetarians it’s all their fault. Stupid yes, but not as stupid as burp catching masks for cows.

Reply to  Notanacademic
January 3, 2021 1:02 pm

Do I really live in a world where burp catchers are a serious proposition, surely not this must be a joke.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Notanacademic
January 3, 2021 7:34 pm

It is a joke, but some people take it seriously.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
January 4, 2021 7:43 am

Can’t tell the difference anymore.

Reply to  Natalie
January 3, 2021 10:42 am

When 80% of working age population is unproductive it’s easy for them to approve funds for unproductive jobs.

Reply to  Natalie
January 3, 2021 5:28 pm

There’s also the cost. 1.6 billion cows at, say, $100 per attachment (it includes a catalytic converter!), is a lot of moo-lah.

January 3, 2021 6:41 am

Funny thing is in order to heat our old Edwardian (1906) non CCC compliant house, and to cook our food we also oxidise methane.

For now anyway until Carrie gets us.

Other funny thing, well not so funny, there is a complete lack of logs for open fireplaces. None anywhere at all. There’s plenty of kindling and coal though….

alastair gray
January 3, 2021 6:54 am

where does this claim of Methane as an ultra powerful Greenhouse gas come from
mwhite above posted this image comment image
which seems to belie the claim, as do Happer and Wijngarden but anyone have a source about where the claim originates as it is so often quoted and so misleading

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  alastair gray
January 3, 2021 9:08 am

Where it comes from is rather technical. Climate scientists, the modelers, have some conceptual difficulties in calculating the effective atmospheric IR opacity, a quantity figuring in the ‘forcing’. They use a method based on the so-called ‘Planck-mean opacity’. Unfortunately such is wrong, it grossly overestimates the forcing by CO2 and ridiculously exagerates the forcing by Methane, Ozone, etc. The correct way of calculating the forcing is by using a flux-mean opacity, something the modelers never have heard of, or do not want to know. In reality the effect of Methane is negligible compared to that of CO2, which in its turn is small compared to that of water vapour.

alastair gray
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2021 11:48 am

I think the time is ripe to explode a bit of the junk-science trivial IR absorption theories. I am a physicist with a 50 year old degree so I am a bit rusty. Happer and Wijngarden semed on the ball but I was out of my depth. The time is ripe for an intelligent layman explanation of the quantum theory of IR absorption and emission by atmospheric trace gases . Not that anyone on the AGW side will pay a blind bit of attention.

Got any more details Ed?

I assumed that both the Methane and CO2 effects were computed that we had a completely non interacting base atmosphere whose sole absorption was by a given concentration of only one extraneous gas. Under these conditions tehn the fuigyures may be OK But with overlapping spectral obsorption wavelengths, and the dominant role played by water vapour the role of these gases is very much modified from the pristine model

January 3, 2021 6:57 am

Nearby a very happy cow herd dines indoors, with a very large waterbed and robot milker. Food is supplied with clockword timing. A back-scratcher for the guests is free of charge.

One could call this a Methane Green House (TM) … No masks in sight.

Beside stands bio-gas generator with who knows what for feed, likely maize.
No kidding, but the cows seem very healthy.

Sure someone will order all range herds rounded up into Methane Houses to save the Green House.

January 3, 2021 6:58 am

Sorry, chi’drens, the mask would have to be fitted to the other end of the system, then hooked up to a tank and separator system to handle the solid,liquid and gaseous methane emissions. Clearly these idiots know nothing about cows. Or climate. Or any other thing you may care to list.

January 3, 2021 7:04 am

From the Wired article:

At the tip of the mask, a sensor detects when the cow exhales and the percentage of methane that is expelled. When methane levels get too high, the mask channels the gas towards an oxidation mechanism inside, which contains a catalyst that converts methane into CO2 and water, and expels it from the device.

Oh, so it converts dreaded methane into dreaded carbon dioxide? And that water might be difficult to “expel” in sub-freezing weather.

Cute idea, though. I’m sure there will be a lot of green financing ready to help out here.

David Roger Wells
January 3, 2021 7:05 am

Solution Stop eating meat that will make a difference. Cut meat consumption by 40%. Data tells the truth and numbers do not lie. Total methane emissions from all sources including wetlands and fossil fuels are about 614,000,000 tons/year. Residual atmospheric methane is 0.00017%. 1.4 billion cows emit 86 million tons of methane annually which is 14% of total emissions. Therefore 14% of – residual CH4 – 0.00017% is 0.0000238% that is 2.38 trillionths of atmospheric CH4. Atmospheric methane needs to be at least 100 times more prolific to have even the slightest influence on climate. Insofar as UK cows are concerned which are 0.69% of the global total at 0.0000000229908% of 0.00017%. Methane The Irrelevant GHG. (CH4) has narrow absorption bands at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns (the red lines). CH4 is 20 times more effective an absorber than CO2 – in those bands. However, CH4 is only 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Moreover, both of its bands occur at wavelengths where H2O is already absorbing substantially. Hence, any radiation that CH4 might absorb has already been absorbed by H2O. The ratio of the percentages of water to methane is such that the effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O. The amount of CH4 must increase 100-fold to make it comparable to H2O. Because of that, methane is irrelevant as a greenhouse gas. The high per-molecule absorption cross section of CH4 makes no difference at all in our real atmosphere. It cannot contribute to atmospheric warming or climate change

Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  David Roger Wells
January 3, 2021 10:58 am

But I am omnivorous. I was born this way. And the eating of meat is highly pleasurable.

Ron Long
January 3, 2021 7:05 am

I’m waiting for a video of greenies trying to put these masks on Cape Buffalo in Africa. Serengeti, anyone?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Ron Long
January 3, 2021 7:20 am

Just like CO2, there’s good methane and bad methane. Infrared radiation can tell the difference, it’s clever that way.

mike macray
Reply to  Ron Long
January 3, 2021 10:49 am

Yes indeed Ron,
and while we’re at it how about one for Elephants they can munch up to 600 lbs. of plant fodder a day! and then perhaps we should do something about all those meat eaters: lions, hyenas, jackals and even the vultures they are all part of the climate crisis.
Are we serious??

Reply to  mike macray
January 3, 2021 2:29 pm

Oh, wow, deplorable(s).

Jeff Labute
January 3, 2021 7:14 am

Their site tells us the mask is 53% efficient, and 90% to 95% of the methane comes from nostrils/mouth. So the problem is solved if you reduce methane by less than half? Plus these masks detect disease, they have GPS trackers, and communicate various stats. They will be available on a subscription basis. I can only imagine each mask would be fairly pricey, especially with solar and thermo-electric energy harvesting devices. The cost of beef will go up by how much? Last time I spoke with the cows they said they didn’t want them.

Reply to  Jeff Labute
January 3, 2021 2:42 pm

Vegans. Cows are constructed to process the fibrous material, presumably to reduce their climate hoofprint.

Joel O’Bryan
January 3, 2021 7:14 am

Mask mania.
Covid masks for humans.
Methane masks for cows.

Some questions: how do they eat? and when they drink they stick their snout into filthy water, so what does that do to the device?

Curious George
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
January 3, 2021 7:38 am

How long does the mask last, and how much does it cost?

Reply to  Curious George
January 3, 2021 7:53 am

Whatever it costs is too much.

Reply to  Curious George
January 3, 2021 10:00 am

It won’t last long. Cows are not accustomed to wearing halters or masks and are very likely to rub the offending item off quickly and trample it in the ever present mud.

Reply to  starzmom
January 4, 2021 5:08 am

We had a couple gathered cows so we could snap a lead rope on them and walk off with the rest of our heard following. Every couple days we would have to hunt up their halters and out them back on. That was two cows out of a max if 20, herd sized varied year to year from 6-20. Not ranchers just had some scrub land available that wasn’t worth trying to raise a crop on. Anyway it would be a full time job trying to keep masks on a sizable herd.

Reply to  Curious George
January 3, 2021 2:49 pm

Also, is the mask an effective petri dish and concentrator. This is a wonderful opportunity to conduct a double-blind experiment with diverse (i.e. millions) of permissive subjects.

January 3, 2021 7:30 am

“Faster than a speeding snail! Not as powerful as El Loco! Unable to leap tall buildings at a single bound!”

“Look! It’s the masked ruminant.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Philip
January 3, 2021 1:20 pm

It is designed to act as a booster to help get the cow over the moon.

January 3, 2021 7:30 am

The idiot-award challenge continues 😀

Peta of Newark
January 3, 2021 7:33 am

Cows don’t fart
People and horses fart – only when they are eating a low nutrient rubbish diet

Cows may burp but again, for same reason as above

Thus we see the need for A Little Correction to the opening remarks/premise…
“”We were aware that in every country“””
Read = The UK

“”methane is one of the biggest contributions to global warming“”
Read = “Frankie, exaggeration destroys your credibility”
No matter: In the land of headless chickens (Name of Boris not least) and paranoia, it is The Modern Way and works-a-treat every time.

“”and we found that methane mitigation tools“”
Read = “Those UK muppets have more money than sense”

“” in agriculture are under-researched,” says Francisco.””
Read = Give me the money says Frankie
Because, and as Everybody Knows**, UK Farmers are rich beyond everyone’s wildest dreams
(**Frank, have you only just worked that out. Where have you been these last 4 decades?

“There isn’t a lot of innovation occurring within the field.”
The Field. haha.
Our boy Frank is a Laugh-a-Minute int he just?

IOW. He is taking the piss.
(You do remember what I say about “The Human Animal”?)

In the time of Monty Python everyone would have seen that.
Sadly, no more

Last edited 2 years ago by Peta of Newark
January 3, 2021 7:46 am

Back when natural gas prices were sky high in the early 1980’s a company tried to contract with some of the largest feed yards in the Texas Panhandle to harvest manure from the cattle feeding pens and harvest the methane from the manure. Don’t remember them ever having any interest in the burbs the cattle emitted.

January 3, 2021 7:59 am

Just let someone try and mask these : (From Marty Robins Ghost Riders in the Sky) :

January 3, 2021 8:03 am

Does it work for covid as well? LOL.

Charles Higley
January 3, 2021 8:04 am

The stupidity never ends. What about the other end of the cow? That should be interesting.

That said, no gas at any concentration in the atmosphere can warm Earth and the climate. They are falling for Junk-junk science and then thinking they are smart. The half-life of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is about five years and is at less than 1% that of CO2. Neither warm anything.

oeman 50
January 3, 2021 8:16 am

I can’t believe no one has explicitly said this yet: What a load of BS!

Pat from kerbob
January 3, 2021 8:19 am

Has to be January fools joke?

If not, galacticly stupid

January 3, 2021 8:21 am

There are over 7 billion humans on earth as well… and we all give off between 14 and 28 tons of CO2 each, over our lifetime. Have human farts ever been tested for methane? How about sheep, goats, yaks, reindeer, pigs, and the primates? The African plains must be a major source of Methane as well. How asinine the “greens” have become!

Reply to  Gene
January 3, 2021 12:37 pm

Have human farts ever been tested for methane?”

Hold a lighted match near your anus when you feel a fart coming on.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
January 3, 2021 12:48 pm

But not too close.

And make sure your anus isn’t pointed towards the drapes, or anything else flammable.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
January 4, 2021 1:53 am

I wuz gonna say that!
P.S. Do not try this wearing nylon underpants! One bloke wouldn’t believe us, so he upended himself undies and all, and had a ring of molten plastic around his fartport!

alastair gray
January 3, 2021 8:24 am

An alarmist would say
1)     A doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a 4 degree rise in temperature (allowing for a 3 fold positive feedback
2)     Methane is 84 times stronger therefore
3)     A doubling of methane concentration will produce a 4 X 84 degree c warming = 336 deg C
Be very scared because “This is what ‘The Science’ says” and ‘The science’ as we all know is settled.

But it gets worse . I have manufactured a potent molecule called Grenhousegassium  which is 1000 times more stronger than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and I have already slipped  surreptitiously 100 molecules into the atmosphere which caused a temperature rise of 0.00000001 degrees  which even Phil Jones and Mikey Man did not notice. If I release a further gaslighter sized charge of this into the atmosphere then due to all the doublings in concentration and huge greenhouse warming all water and rocks will instantantly vaporize TEE HEE HEE  and evil cackles all round We’re DOOOMED!

Rick C
January 3, 2021 8:25 am

This is -pardon the term – bullshit. Methane oxidation by catalyst requires elevated temperatures on the order of 200-500 C. The most effective catalysts are very expensive platinum, palladium and other rather exotic materials. The catalytic converter in your car operates at temperatures over 650 C to 900 C. CH4 concentration is also important to efficient conversion as low concentrations don’t release enough heat to sustain efficient reactions. I doubt that concentrations in cow’s emissions diluted with air before capture would be sufficient, Without an external source of energy to heat the catalyst, this is an obvious scam product.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Rick C
January 3, 2021 9:00 am

With their government research grant check in hand, those Argentinian brothers were laughing all the way to bank. I don’t blame them. I blame the stupid bureaucrats and politicians who have so little real science education to understand the massive climate scam and con-game being played on Western society.

Jeff Labute
Reply to  Rick C
January 3, 2021 9:59 am

I did find this patent for methane extraction via livestock nasal passage and oxidized by salts and/or beds containing methanotrophic bacteria. This article states that methane is 23x more powerful than CO2. Doesn’t seem as though the green blob really knows but the patent states methane contributes 18% of the global warming. I would bet a lot of their ‘estimates’ are overblown, from their noses.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Jeff Labute
January 3, 2021 1:26 pm

All CliSci estimates are pulled from a different part of the estimators’ anatomy.

old engineer
Reply to  Rick C
January 3, 2021 10:10 pm

Rick C

“This is -pardon the term – bullshit. Methane oxidation by catalyst requires elevated temperatures…”

You are exactly right! If they really had a catalyst that was 53% efficient at oxidizing methane at ambient temperature, the auto companies would be beating their door down to use it. So it’s either a joke or a scam.

January 3, 2021 8:28 am

The methane from that end of the cow comes from the stomach, not the lungs.
This mask will catch 0% of any methane emission from a cow.

January 3, 2021 8:29 am

Joking apart
Das ist Chinas Plan für die Eroberung der Arktisthe
(This is China’s plan for conquering the Arctic)
West is being fooled by China’s global warming promises, they are actively preparing for time if it ever comes to be challenger in the Arctic Ocean although they are about 10,000 km sailing distance from the North pole.

“Even more important than the diversification of trade routes Beijing is hungry for energy and invests heavily in Russia’s Arctic northern coast. Experts claim that there are billions of tons of oil and gas on that Russian territory. Additional inspiration for China are coal deposits of gigantic proportions as well as precious metals in large quantities. Beijing is interested in engaging in the Arctic to the extent that it plans construction of its own nuclear icebreaker.”
And what is the Biden’s program for the Arctic?

January 3, 2021 8:35 am

Covid Bucks and Climate Change

The Hey @GretaThunberg, where do you suppose this is? series

alastair gray
January 3, 2021 8:38 am

Can anyone tell me what assumptions vis a vis temperature effect of increasing CO2 is implicit in computer modlling GCM s without invoking spurious and unquantifiable positive feedbacks. In the stuff that they publish it looks like a linear relationship but it should be logarithmic.
I deduce their relationship being linear as the shape of the modelled temperature sort of exponential like seems to mimic the similar rising CO2 trend. Its all bollocks anyway but if anyone knows teh shape of the bollocks- cubic or spherical – then please do tell

Reply to  alastair gray
January 3, 2021 8:57 am

Well, actually the models generally assume that a degree of warming will put 7% more water vapor into the atmosphere which approximately triples the radiative greenhouse gas temperature anomaly of CO2 alone. The real effect of adding 7% more water vapor to the atmosphere would be to increase cloud cover, reflect more sunlight back into outer space, and randomly reduce the planet’s temperature here and there a day or a week later, back to its normal average. An extra square meter of Cloud can reflect more heat in 15 minutes than “all day” of CO2 forcing….

alastair gray
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 3, 2021 10:06 am

I know about the feedback and gut feeling is that it is fatuous but my question is apart from the feedback what sort of model of Co2 incresae vs temperature is implixt

alastair gray
Reply to  DMacKenzie
January 3, 2021 11:33 am

I am uneasy about positive feedback generally. An amplifier works in negative feedback limiting absolute gain (Which is cheap to achieve ) for stability of gain which is a bit more difficult. Give an amplifier any degree of positive feedback and youve made an oscliallator- totally unstable – thing screechin mike feedback.So our 7% positive feedback of water vapour boosts temperature and so more water vapour etc. Dumb way to control a [planet is positive feedback Lovelock anmd Gaia invoked feedbacks but always negative and always designed for homeostasis. Smart guy Lovelock. Belongs more to us than to the loony fringe that want to claim him in the name of Our lady Greta Of Immaculate Misconceptions

January 3, 2021 8:46 am

Will they also be developing tiny masks for the uncountable number of methanogen bacteria living on Earth?
These bacteria were here well before we, or cows were. It’s conjectured that methanogenesis is one of the oldest types of metabolism in living things here. They’ll probably still be here long after we’re gone.

Kevin kilty
January 3, 2021 8:57 am

Oh, yeah. I’m going to apply these to all of those Angus and Black White-face range cows I once ran. Rodeo ensues.

When asked “what is the thought process that leads to such stuff?” I can only reply “the need to bilk others out of their money.”

January 3, 2021 8:57 am

That’s the best of UK technology in the climate agenda era.

Charles Higley
January 3, 2021 9:06 am

In fact, CO2, water vapor, and methane are not greenhouse gases, which is a term cobbled up to support junk science; they do not exist as such. These gases are more accurately called “radiative gases” which convert heat energy in the atmosphere to IR radiation and vice versa. During the day, their rather meager absorption ranges, particularly regarding CO2 and methane, are saturated by incoming solar radiation, called insolation. This means that they are absorbing IR and heat both ways such that they have no effect; they are a wash. It is only during night-time, which is not in any of the climate models, that these gases rapidly convert heat to IR which is then lost to space. This explains why the air chills so quickly after sundown and small breezes kick up so quickly in the shadows of scudding clouds on a sunny day.

Gordon A. Dressler
January 3, 2021 9:07 am

Like a portion of the topic under discussion in the above article, the article itself is equivalent to a load of bovine excrement.

1) If the proposed “catalytic apparatus” covers only the cow’s nostrils and not its mouth, it will be largely ineffective agains burps of air from the digestive system (source of some the expelled methane). Respiration of air (i.e., normal breathing) cycles air through the cow’s lungs, not through one or more if its stomachs and therefore does contain any significant methane. If the mask is designed to cover the cow’s mouth also, how is the cow then supposed to eat?

2) I strongly suspect—but can’t find quantified facts to prove—that the preponderance of methane generated by a cow comes from digestive (and other) bacteria feeding on “cow pies” in the open air in the days and weeks following the cow excreting them. I grew up on a dairy farm and I know for a fact that a cow pie has a lot of undigested cellulose. In fact, some large dairy farms specifically collect cow manure in large pits for the express purpose of harvesting the methane that it continues to produce. As but one example, see “Harnessing The Hidden Power of Cow Manure” at .

BTW, I never look to Wired magazine/website to be a source of science-based information.

January 3, 2021 9:13 am

I would love to see someone try to sell this to my cattle-rancher neighbor.

Gordon A. Dressler
January 3, 2021 9:29 am

The article cites the oft-quoted statement that “methane is approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the planet.”

This is a half truth. While it is theoretically true, based on a CH4 molecule-to-CO2 molecule LWIR energy absorption capability comparison, it conveniently neglects the fact than the current methane concentration in Earth’s atmosphere is 1.9 ppmv as compared the CO2’s current atmospheric concentration of about 415 ppmv.

Factoring in both ratios, one finds that on a global basis methane has only (84*1.9)/415 = 38% the total global warming potential of CO2 (assuming, of course, that CO2’s LWIR absorption capability has not yet become fully saturated at its current atmospheric concentration).

Last edited 2 years ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
January 4, 2021 5:43 am

What about interference with H2O’s LWIR absorption capability? Greenhouse gas “effectiveness” needs to be done on a multicomponent basis. Leaving out H2O that has higher concentration and overlapping absorption with both CO2 and CH4 is a big mistake for calculating individual component effectiveness.

January 3, 2021 9:38 am

I can’t help but wonder if these people will design a methane capture system for termite mounds, which also produce tremendous amounts of methane. And put methane capture on all the wild buffalo and other ruminant animals around the world. Or, is methane some magical gas that will only do bad things if there is a benefit to people. (Just like COVID is smart and knows if you are a leftist politician or not, and thus will only attack non-leftist politicians.)

Bruce Cobb
January 3, 2021 9:45 am

What a scamtastic, as well as barking mad idea.

Trying to Play Nice
January 3, 2021 9:55 am

They must be trying to get revenge for the Falklands war.

January 3, 2021 10:05 am


As I understand it (and I may be wrong) most of the methane from raising cattle comes from their excrement after it leaves their bodies.

January 3, 2021 10:12 am

Cows are pretty good at destroying stuff which bothers them.
Well, the solution to that is simple. Any cow caught removing their mask, will be escorted to the nearest steak house and served for supper.
Think of the jobs that can be created. Cow mask police, traveling from pasteur to pasteur checking compliance, writing tickets, arresting ranchers. All paid for by the taxpayers.

Clyde Spencer
January 3, 2021 10:22 am

It doesn’t look to me like it is well-placed for catching belches! I wonder how much CO2 was produced in manufacturing the masks?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 3, 2021 10:36 am

Answer: an insignificant amount of CO2, becuase they were prototypes for demonstration purposes only.

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the proposed “catalytic converter masks for cows” are so impractical and useless that they will NEVER be produced, let alone used, except for seeking investment funds from suckers.

Carl Friis-Hansen
January 3, 2021 10:36 am

Illegal demonstration in Nuernberg Germany

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
January 3, 2021 11:09 am

Few had their nappies on their face.
I saw huge banners/flags with “Trump 2020”.
All ended peacefully, with the police asking people to go home shortly before eight o’clock in the evening local time.
Considering the poor weather, there was a good turnout, with peopple coming all the way from Berlin.

It was the first time the police behaved calm and cultivated, almost like they were on the side of the freedom fighters.

January 3, 2021 10:38 am

Complete the outfit with a fart diaper. It makes for new jobs too. Someone needs to change the diapers. Great way to solve unemployment

Right-Handed Shark
January 3, 2021 11:10 am

And I thought this was a ridiculous idea

January 3, 2021 11:15 am

Before man came along and destroyed the massive herds on the North American planes and the African Serengeti, there were far more ruminants than now. If the plant survived then, it can now with less ruminants. However, all this is irrelevant as the effect of Methane and CO2 is insignificant. What a waste of money!

Last edited 2 years ago by Greytide
Gunga Din
Reply to  Greytide
January 3, 2021 1:23 pm

But now the GND is out to destroy the planes on the “planes”. 😎
(Sorry. I make lots of typos but I couldn’t pass this one up.)

January 3, 2021 11:59 am

We need more cowbell.

William Haas
January 3, 2021 12:31 pm

Methane will oxidise naturally in the atmosphere if you let it so what is the point. There is also no real evidence that CO2 or methane has any effect on climate. If you leave the plant material that the cows eat in the field that material will eventually result in methane and CO2 so this whole concern is pointless. How much CO2 is added to the atmosphere to make these devises and to install them on cows. Maybe all animals including humans should wear such devices This whole thing is nonsense..

Reply to  William Haas
January 4, 2021 5:43 am

Exactly ! CH4 will oxidize in the atmosphere just like basically anything that can oxidize. There is no point except to earn money, possibly som virtue signalling as well. In reality it will have a negative net effect due to the production, shipping etc.

Steve Case
January 3, 2021 1:17 pm

“Cows expel methane, a colourless and odourless gas which is approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to warming the planet.”

Our friends on the left NEVER tell us how much methane will actually increase global temperature. The reason for that is that for practical purposes, it won’t.

A Piper Cub will fly 84 times further on a gallon of gas than a Jumbo jet. The proper response to that is, “So what?” An ant can lift 84 times its body weight. Another “So What?” Methane is 84 times more potent than CO2 at warming the planet is also deserving of “So What?” and for essentially the same reason.

Gunga Din
January 3, 2021 1:18 pm
January 3, 2021 1:41 pm

The device appears to be on the wrong end of the cow to have any great effect. Overall, however, this looks like yet another case of animal abuse. It diverts attention away from the real cases of animal mistreatment that need attention.

January 3, 2021 2:24 pm

As long ago as 10 November 2015, this story appeared on the ABC Rural in Australia-
“New Zealand vaccine to reduce cattle methane emissions for dairy and beef industry reaches testing stage”.
I don’t know what has happened since.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 4, 2021 12:47 pm

Instead of attempting to change the natural food of cows, maybe we should just start making hamburgers out of manata …er… womanatees?

Smart Rock
January 3, 2021 2:46 pm

CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O is an exothermic reaction. Actually quite a strongly exothermic reaction. It’s the reaction that cooks my meals on the gas stove, heats the water in my hot water tank, and keeps my house comfortable on these winter days. If they have found a way (with newly crafted catalysts?) to make the reaction take place at low ambient temperatures, that does not make the reaction less exothermic.

So, if this catches on, watch out for pastures where the cattle’s heads are on fire.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Smart Rock
January 3, 2021 4:07 pm

This immediately brings up a mental image that Middleton is fond of.

January 3, 2021 3:09 pm

methane, a colourless and odourless gas which is approximately 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide … designed to reduce methane emissions from cattle by 60 per cent.

These descriptions are framed to alarm and not to inform us. This product would appear more credible if the actual warming caused by methane from a cow, a herd and a country was quantified. Then we would see what 8400% “more potent” and “reduced by [up to] 60%” means in real life.

Since the general atmospheric level is only around 1.8 ppmv, and agricultural ruminants members of a natural cycle anyway (with no net growth, especially considering wild ruminants), I posit a trivial net contribution from any country, much less a herd.

Water vapour competes strongly in every wavelength methane merely dabbles in and overpowers it except perhaps in the stratosphere, where CO2 does useful cooling to space. There’s a bit more carbon dioxide (414 ppmv), so it features in graphs and the strong imagination views it nervously, but it’s still 230 times more abundant than methane.

Patrick MJD
January 3, 2021 4:32 pm

“Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.”

No it isn’t. That’s their first error, the rest is pure bovine excrement.

January 3, 2021 5:16 pm

Translation: Warmists: “We’ve given up on stopping the atmospheric increase of CO2. So now we’re going after methane from burps and farts, in a ‘stylish’ way of course.”

January 3, 2021 6:03 pm

In a few months, brothers Francisco and Patricio Norris will develop a flatulence-oxidation device for cattle. After that, the applications are endless – fart-burners for cows, pigs and chickens, for other large ungulates, wild animals and house pets, and finally… humans!
Given the ease that humans have acquiesced to wearing worthless face masks for Covid-19, the adoptions of fart burners, strategically placed in the nether regions, should be a well-accepted next step – they may even become the new fashion
I look forward to videos of earnest young men and women installing a fart-burner on a bull elephant – well worth the price of admission.

Farquhar Knell
January 3, 2021 11:05 pm

Groan. Groan. Thrice groan.

How much longer must we bear this appalling corruption of science, whereby methane is yet again described as “a very powerful greenhouse gas” by practitioners in other scientific fields, who simply parrot without question this recent pearl of apparent verity from the climate scientology community.

This egregious nugget of ghastly propaganda comes to us courtesy of the IPCC, that august body of shameless activists and charlatans, who have invented a concept known as “Global Warming Potential”, which attempts to ascribe values for the theoretical warming potential of various gases as a multiple of an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide. To those not sufficiently au fait with the science, this may appear to be a reasonable initiative; but, as usual, it is no more than an extremely cynical exercise in deception, for which they should hang their heads in humble disgrace. (The fatuousness of the entire concept is beautifully illustrated by the fact that water, H2O, is not even given a value in this schema, despite the fact that it is the REAL greenhouse gas, quite apart from its many other dominant climatic roles, and that it is “blamed” for a 3X feedback multiplier effect by climate modellers! The enormity of the deception being practised here, and the bare-faced cheek and hubris that goes with it, defies adequate description.)

The difference in their relative effects is explained by the fact that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is almost at the limit of its air-warming potential (87% of its potential effects at 1000ppm, which is 250 years away), whereas there is so little methane that its current minuscule effect could possibly (but not at all probably) rise to a marginally less minuscule effect if its concentration rose appreciably. Given that CO2 in the atmosphere is currently 240 times more abundant than methane (CH4), under what planetary circumstances should we expect that the concentration of methane would suddenly escalate into comparative significance?

I’ll answer that rhetorical question before a troll turns up with some rabid assertion – the answer is nil, nul, zero, f**k-all, chance that methane concentrations will alter to a point that they could make any reckonable difference on a planet that has hosted methane for billions of years.

If some people want to shut down the livestock industry for their own ethical reasons, let them say so – it’s their right. But pretending that minor ruminant emissions are a factor of any significance in climate matters is so ludicrous that it doesn’t even bear consideration by serious persons of science.

January 3, 2021 11:51 pm

Is it any wonder that sensible folk don’t take churnalists seriously?

Jean-Pierre Bardinet
January 4, 2021 1:41 am

The level of methane in the air is very low: around 1800 ppb, or 0.004% of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, and it changes very little. Its residence time in air is low: at most a few months. So what this company is doing is silly and totally unnecessary.

January 4, 2021 3:21 am

wonder how good the ulcers and sores will feel for the cows soft nose areas? and then the flies and bugs that can get under to bite lay eggs etc
close to THE most stupid invention ever

January 4, 2021 6:46 am

It would be better to mandate these for politicians & bureaucrats.

January 4, 2021 7:16 am

The fundamental question here, notwithstanding the fact that this article is udder nonsense, is the accuracy and meaning of the statement CH4 is (894%) more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. An exhaustive search of the literature available on the internet produced no articles or explanation of the physics and chemistry showing just how CH4 is more powerful than CO2. Does this mean it emits 84 times as much energy per than CO2 when irradiated with infrared in the respective wavelengths of the various “greenhouse gases?” And lest not forget the big “greenhouse gas.” water vapor or H2O. In the absence of such a scientific explanation I asked my associate, Bud Bromley, to explain. Bud is the absolute best analytical physical chemist I have ever worked with in 40 years.

Bud’s thoughtful explanation follows:

The short answer is that no other greenhouse gas is absorbing at CH4’s LWIR wavelength. If water vapor has already absorbed the LWIR coming up from the surface, then that radiation is not there to be absorbed by CO2 or CH4.

In the case of CO2, most of the LWIR emitted by earth’s is absorbed by water vapor because water vapor is 10 times more concentrated and the absorption bands overlap. But water vapor is not absorbing much LWIR at the main absorption wavelengths of CH4 around 7.69 microns.

The LWIR absorption bands are different among the different greenhouse gases because the dipole moments of the molecules are different, which means the vibration modes are different for each gas molecule. The C-0 bonds in CO2 have different vibration frequencies compared to the H-0 bonds in water vapor and compared to the C-H bonds in CH4. These different vibrational frequencies correspond to the wavelengths/frequencies of LWIR that are definitively characteristic of each gas molecule. If the spectrum of one of the pure greenhouse gases is taken at low concentration, that spectrum will be one or more straight lines at precisely known, experimentally measured, and precise wavelengths. As the pressure increases, either by adding more of that pure gas or adding other atmospheric gases, the straight lines become spread out bell curves and then as pressure increases further blobs spread over many wavelengths … due to collisions …collision induced absorption (CIA). The absorption bands are spreading and forming “wings” centered around the original absorption line. H20 vapor at STP in air is ~10 times more concentrated that CO2 and ~200 times more concentrated that CH4. The absorption lines of H20 vapor are spread out into a blob that extends over a broad range of the LWIR spectrum. This blob overlaps with the two main LWIR absorption bands of CO2…thus CO2 absorption is relatively weak. But the CH4 line around 7.69 microns is in a region where H2O vapor absorption is declining.

The processes of absorption and emission are the same in H2O, CO2 and CH4. The characteristic wavelengths/frequencies of each molecule is determined by the various dipole moments of the vibrations of the atoms relative to each other within the molecule. BUT, detecting the IR light which is absorbed and emitted by the molecules is an entirely different matter complicated by the temperature/pressure and the other gas molecules. CH4 in normal air STP at the surface is easily measured by an IR spectrometer. CO2 Is not easily measured, because water vapor in normal air is absorbing most of the IR radiation.

Further detail:
One of CH4’s main IR absorption bands is ~ 7.69 microns. This band does not overlap with the IR absorption bands of water vapor or CO2. The bands of CO2 mostly overlap with water vapor and water vapor concentration is of course much 10X or more higher than CO2, so water vapor cancels out most CO2 absorption and almost all radiative emission from CO2 is absorbed by water vapor.  

In fact, it is extremely difficult or impossible to measure by IR spectroscopy the atmospheric concentration of CO2 due to the presence of water vapor in a normal air sample. The air sample must be dried first or the CO2 is converted to CH4 by passing it over a catalyst. 
As you already know, the IR absorption of CH4 has undetectable effect on temperature and climate because its concentration is so low. While it is true that CH4 on a molecule by molecule comparison with CO2 will absorb and re-emit 20 to 30 times more intensity (watt/m^2) of IR, it is also true that CO2 is 200 times more concentrated in air than CH4. Furthermore, all CH4 in air spontaneously combines with O2 at STP in collisions in the presence of trace Cl2 as catalyst over the oceans to form CO2. Ultimately, CH4 converted (oxidized) in this way is the largest source of atmospheric CO2. CH4 exists in 50-60 times higher concentration as gaseous CH4 in ocean, controlled by Henry’s Law constant, just as CO2 is. But the CH4 emitted by oceans converts to CO2.  

Both gases are continuously outgassed at the surface of ocean water and re-absorbed at the surface of ocean water and a partition rate determined by temperature, pressure and salinity at the surface. However, in air trace concentration CH4 collides with high concentration of O2 in the presence of Cl2 and concerts to CO2 and H20. In other words, the lifetime of CH4 is air is short, which is another reason CH4 has no significant warming effect.
I have been arguing against AGW from the basis of Atomic, Molecular and Optical physics (AMO) for over 30 years. The myriad theoretical assumptions (e.g. blackbody radiation) and the math involved in the physics of weather change and earth’s energy balance results mostly in glazed over eyes of listeners and readers. I believe AMO is a far more understandable, known and more certain basis for argument than the overlapping and less understood theories of climatology. 

Roy Spencer pointed out over a decade ago that radiative emissions from greenhouse gases do not result in positive feedback (or positive climate forcing) which is assumed in climate models and that this mistake was a reason climate models were notoriously wrong. 
Looking at AMO, the sequence of: (1) infrared emission (IR) from the surface (2) absorption of that IR by a greenhouse gas molecule in air, (3) near instantaneous collision of that greenhouse gas molecule most probably with a non-IR-absorbing N2 or O2 molecule, and (4) emission of that IR from that greenhouse molecule in a pulse into 3D Steradian space, means that the intensity (watts/m^2) of that IR radiative emission received at any subsequent point is at least 50% less than the intensity absorbed initially at the greenhouse gas molecule. The intensity is further reduced by the inverse square of the distance between the emitting greenhouse gas molecule and receiving point. In sum, it is a cascade of emission-absorption-collision-emission sequences progressively dividing the intensity of the LWIR by more than 50% in each subsequent sequence of events. Radiative emissions of IR from greenhouse gas molecules reaching earth’s surface are minor, infinitely small if any, since the density of air and IR absorbing molecules are increasing a, and the collision frequency is increasing, thus the rate of progressive Steradian divisions of intensity is increasing, as the earthward-direct radiation approaches the surface. 

Similar to approaching a wall by taking steps in succession with each step 50% of the distance to wall, you never reach the wall.

Consider one of several exceptional situations: a greenhouse gas molecule moving in air at the velocity commensurate with the surrounding air temperature and density and only one wavelength distance above the surface. The surface is non-coherently radiating across a broad spectrum of IR light, but the molecule only absorbs coherently at its characteristic IR wavelengths/frequencies until its quantum bands are saturated. The molecule’s velocity does not change due to either the absorption or emission events, therefore these events are not thermal events; radiative absorption and emission by greenhouse gases are not thermal events in AMO. The energy increase within the greenhouse gas molecule is potential not kinetic. The atoms within the greenhouse gas molecule are vibrating relative to each other at a higher frequency due to the absorption and a lower frequency after emission, but the vector velocity of the gas molecule in air does not change. Following a collision, an IR pulse is emitted and the gas molecule relaxes to its ground state. A 100% reversible energy transition has occurred between absorption and emission, conserving the laws of thermodynamics. But the IR intensity received at the surface (only one IR wavelength away and a only fraction of a second later) following the radiative emission is only about half the intensity that was originally received at the same, characteristic IR wavelengths. IR received off axis is at longer wavelengths determined by its solid Steradian angle and is at more than 50% reduced intensity. Meanwhile, the surface is still non-coherently emitting IR at the same spectrum of wavelengths/frequencies but at much higher intensity than the gas molecule’s pulse. In a probability distribution, the tiny coherent one wavelength pulse of coherent IR from the gas molecule probably will be harmonically cancelled by much more intense IR emission from the surface which are 180 degrees out of phase with the LWIR pulse from the molecule. Thus, in the most likely case for radiative emission of IR downward toward earth’s surface, the IR radiative emission from the gas molecule never reaches the surface even if it is very near earth’s surface. 

Thus IR emissions from the surface into the atmosphere and eventually into space are cooling the surface of the earth, not warming. The concentration of greenhouse gases above the surface does not warm the surface by radiative emissions but delays the rate of cooling of the atmosphere due to LWIR emission from gases into space. The same will be true for any greenhouse gas. 

That’s how I see it.  

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Tamarkin
Reply to  Tom Tamarkin
January 4, 2021 8:03 am

Correction to my typo. Paragraph 1, line 2 should be 84% not 894%.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Tamarkin
January 4, 2021 2:48 pm

“Bud’s thoughtful explanation follows:

The short answer is that no other greenhouse gas is absorbing at CH4’s LWIR wavelength(s).”

Bud is correct. My addition, wavelength(s). This is the answer and when you explain this to true believers you get shouted down.

January 4, 2021 7:34 am

Has no one twigged, or followed the links back, to find that this is, indeed, a spoof by three Risk College of Art?

Reply to  RobH
January 4, 2021 7:35 am

Apologies for autocorrect error: the Royal College of Art.

Reply to  RobH
January 4, 2021 8:32 am

I’m not so sure now. If this is tongue in cheek it’s can week done.

Reply to  RobH
January 4, 2021 8:32 am

Damn well done. Bloody autocorrect again!!!

January 4, 2021 6:37 pm

If cow burps are destroying the planet, why didn’t buffalo burps destroy the planet during all those centuries when they were wandering around in herds of a million?

Reply to  Steverino
January 4, 2021 8:03 pm

Exactly. Remember, too, that there are currently millions of natural ruminants roaming the grasslands.

January 4, 2021 8:57 pm

cow masks… a solution looking for a problem.

January 4, 2021 8:59 pm

with stories like this, who needs the babylonbee.

January 9, 2021 7:47 am

i have this theory that people are getting dumber and dumber and dumber…

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