July 4: A cow stands in her pen at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Castelar, Argentina.
Here's an interesting way to sequester greenhouse gases — collect cow emissions.
Argentine agricultural researcher Guillermo Berra figured a large chunk of his country's greenhouse-gas emissions might be methane issued by the 55 million head of cattle grazing the pampas.
So to see which way the wind breaks, he's strapped huge plastic balloons onto the backs of several of the gassy grazers, reports Reuters.
Tubes feeding into the balloons connect to the cows' digestive systems, but Reuters was vague about exactly where and how.
"When we got the first results, we were surprised," said Berra "Thirty percent of Argentina's [total greenhouse] emissions could be generated by cows."
The researchers "never thought" a 1,200-pound cow could generate 28 to 35 cubic feet of methane each day, according to Reuters.
Most plant-eating mammals, including humans, emit substantial quantities of methane, which is more potent than carbon dioxide in retaining atmospheric heat but breaks down relatively quickly high in the atmosphere.