Thursday 22 October 2020
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EU wants less methane in the air: less manure and the cows on a diet

The European Commission wants to tackle not only air pollution from CO2, but also methane emissions. The EU not only wants a tax on CO2 pollution, but also wants to oblige energy companies to detect and repair natural gas leaks earlier. And Brussels wants to encourage farmers to look at the menu of their cows and consider a different diet.

Because the European Union wants to be climate neutral in thirty years, reducing CO2 emissions alone is not enough. Methane also has to die, said vice-chairman Frans Timmermans. He points out that methane, which we know as natural gas, is actually much more powerful and unlike CO2.

What goes into a cow determines what comes out - that includes methane. Farmers could therefore learn from each other which feed they can best serve their livestock in order to make their manure produce less gas, according to the European Commission.

Livestock farmers could also take advantage of other people's technological gadgets and breeding program. In addition, the committee wants to “stimulate” farmers to use waste and manure more to generate biogas and other bio-materials.

The EU countries are responsible for only 5 percent of global methane emissions. However, because the EU countries play a major role in agriculture and waste management, the impact of the EU could extend beyond that, the Commission believes.

In order to gain more control over the spread of methane, emissions must also be better identified. This is now happening on a limited scale. The EU therefore wants a worldwide international 'methane observatory'. And European satellites will then detect 'super ejectors' and large gas leaks.

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