posted by Dr. Amber Jenkins
No burping or farting, please! So reads the latest memo coming out of British chocolate-maker Cadbury - to its bovine employees. In an effort to reduce its contribution to global warming, the company is looking at ways to reduce the amount of methane given off by its cows.
According to Cadbury, over 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions come from the milk used to make its chocolate - a glass and a half per bar, as it proudly states. Each dairy cow annually emits between 80 and 120 kg of methane (incidentally, mainly through burping and not farting) - which is equivalent to the carbon emissions given off by an average family car over a year. As if eating chocolate wasn't guilt-inducing enough for some already.
So, Cadbury is teaching its farmers to put their cows on a diet and has recently come out with a guide to low carbon farming. By modifying their diets, the hope is to reduce the amount of methane that is produced by microorganisms in the cows' stomachs.
Of course, it's not all about methane, which makes up only about a quarter of the average dairy farm's emissions. Going "low carbon" will also mean farmers have to take a hard look at the overall energy efficiency of their processes and improve the way they use fertilizers. And let's not forget the practice of deforestation, which some have termed the "hidden cause of global warming," to make way for new pastures.