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Canada's Plan To Earn Carbon Credits From Cattle Burps

December 28, 2023
x min read

Canada has a new idea for how to make a positive impact on the climate and create carbon credits at the same time: reduce cow burps.

What’s happening:

  • Canada has introduced a new policy proposal called Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions From Beef Cattle that aims to incentivize farmers to change the diets they give their livestock in hopes of reducing their methane emissions
  • For every tonne of emissions that is reduced, Canadian farmers will be able to earn carbon credits that they can sell

The big idea:

  • Enteric fermentation is a natural digestive process in cattle that causes them to burp, which releases methane emissions into the atmosphere
  • By making changes to the diets of livestock or adding new ingredients that boost animal performance, the amount of methane produced by cattle can be significantly lowered

Going deeper:

  • Enteric fermentation is common in many animals, but cows are by far the largest contributor of methane emissions
  • There have been numerous venture backed startups formed to solve this exact problem, including one notably backed by Bill Gates
  • Changing what cattle consumes is the most scientifically proven way thus far to reduce their methane emissions, as it fundamentally alters their digestive process which causes burping

By the numbers:

  • The Canadian government is committing $12M CAD to the Agricultural Methane Reduction Challenge
  • Methane is 28x more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide
  • Approximately 31% of Canada’s total methane emissions come from agriculture, which is largely a result of enteric fermentation in beef and dairy cattle

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