Are cows the cause of global warming?

A cow does on overage release between 70 and 120 kg of Methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore the release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2'300 kg CO2 per year.

Let's compare this value of 2'300 kg CO2: The same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) is generated by burning 1'000 liters of petrol. With a car using 8 liters of petrol per 100 km, you could drive 12'500 km per year (7'800 miles per year).

World-wide, there are about 1.5 billion cows and bulls. All ruminants (animals which regurgitates food and re-chews it) on the world emit about two billion metric tons of CO2-equivalents per year. In addition, clearing of tropical forests and rain forests to get more grazing land and farm land is responsible for an extra 2.8 billion metric tons of CO2 emission per year!

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide (this is more than the whole transportation sector). Cattle-breeding is taking a major factor for these greenhouse gas emissions according to FAO. Says Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO's Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report: "Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation."

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth's entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.


Are cows to blame for global warming? Are cattle the true cause for climate change?

We cannot deny that farming has a major impact on global warming. Since farming is basically serving the consumer's demand for food, we should look at our nourishment. With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.

A Japanese study showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a global warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2). It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy (Animal Science Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x). In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days (New Scientist magazine, 18 July 2007, page 15 ).

The following tables indicates the CO2 production in kg CO2 equivalents per kg of meat depending on the animal:

1 kg of meat from
produces kg CO2e
 beef 34.6
 lamb 17.4
 pork 6.35
 chicken 4.57

Source: Environmental Impacts on Food Production and Consumption.


Conclusion: Eat less meat and dairy products

The most important conclusion for ourselves is: Eat much less meat and dairy products. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce our personal carbon footprint and to generally reduce our personal negative impact on the environment.

Finally a quote from Albert Einstein (Nobel prize 1921): Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.


Report from FAO: LIVESTOCK'S LONG SHADOW, environmental issues and options




That's where KFC comes in. DOUBLE DUH.

global warming

yeah, sure turning off lights and stuff like that would help, but it would help even more with the cow thing. and also people dont have to change thier lives like that, but if they want a earth to where you dont have to breath in all that bad pullution and are not in a situation like global warming and really care about the earth and what kind of enviorment they live in which alot of people care about, then im sure they would be willing to change their life style a little bit. and really is that to much to ask for. so choose, live on a crapy earth, or change your life style a little bit, you choose.

mother fucker

i dont give a uck you guys piss the fuck off so just shutup and suck some cow dicks

Calm down everyone

Calm your titties everybody , we all human , love one another

turn stuff off

Why would people leave TV's, lights and radios on at night in the first place?

By the way, most people have their computers set up to update, defragment and scan for viruses at night. Good luck keeping that thing running if you turn it off at night and don't change your settings. And want to buy a new power supply every 1-3 months (turning a computer off and back on is very hard on a power supply, and many of the more powerful ones are $100+, so you would actually lose money if you turned them off every night).

TV's and radios would most likely be turned off anyway. Lights...maybe in a different room...? Yeah. Turn those off.

Though, this guy is correct. And they are working on these things (take a loot at PRT, AKA Private Rapid Transit - it's pretty awesome).

turn devices off - reduce energy consumption

Just a quick reply to your comment about power supplies: It is not problem to switch the computer on and off several times per day. The power supplies can easily handle this. 

PLEASE help saving energy and switch these devices off whenever they are not used. 


response to your response

I can agree with you in the cars and how we need to start car pooling and stuff. This person does make a great point though. We do need to start cuttind down on meat look at what the world is turning into, we are just a ice cube melting and right now it is to the point were animals are dieing too. I am a huge animal lover and know that they are dieing because we can't cut down on meat that is a little much. You can always go to the grocery store and get some lettuce and make a salad that is a lot cheaper than buying 2 pounds of meat to make burgers. I also love to eat meat but lately I have started to eat a lot more veggies instead of meat. These are just things that we can all do to make our world a better place. Think, we are going to hand this planet of to or children I don't want to leave them sitting on a little island wishing we did something, because we decided to do nothing about it.

Sincerely Teen Genius


well this was interesting point,although we were were not aware about such fact...

Methane: Fuel?

What would also be a good idea: install collection apparatuses in barns at cow & chicken farms to collect the methane. It's been proven that methane can be used as a fuel source, so it could potentially replace petroleum. After all, we're always producing it, so it's always renewable. The only thing holding such an idea back is the presence of oil lobbyists in congress who's livelyhood is oil profits, so they'll oppose it & create speculation doubting its sustainability.


Well burning methane will just produces more carbondioxide

metahn vs carbon dioxide

Under Kyoto Protocol you could get carbon credits for trapping methane and burning it off (producing CO2 and H2O)
Methane is regarded as being about 20 times more harmful than CO2.
You could earn more carbon credits by burning the methane as a fuel and replacing a fossil fuel.

chill ur tits

yall need to chill ur tittes

can`t afford to change diet

that was an excuse i always used and everybody uses,i`m vegan and it`s actually cheaper and way healthier then when i ate meat.everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change.

i agree with you

i agree with you that it is ridiculous to ask to change your everyday life. you have a really good point .

Cheaper to eat meat?

First of all, I've been a vegetarian my whole life and have been buying my own groceries for almost 10 years now. For the past year I've been living with my meat-eating boyfriend, for which I occasionally buy meat for. I have NEVER spent so much on groceries! Unless you're going to buy nothing but super cheap ham-hocks for some sort of broth, then meat is FAR more expensive then vegetables!!! I usually get my protein from beans (about $.90/can) or sometimes meat substitutes like morningstar products (around $4 for 4 servings), there are also home made meat substitutes you can make for very inexpensive as well ("wheat-meat", seitan).
I'm thinking you should probably do some research before assuming such a thing....


You eat so much meat because of Industry messing with your brain


Clearly meat is so much cheaper than vegetable..

You got the poit!

You got the poit!


Look up reasons not to drink milk

So your suggesting that meat

So your suggesting that meat is cheap and there's nothing else to buy that is cheap... ever heard of fruits, vegetables, past, rice, beans, etc? Yes!
Cheap and healthy, don't need to be eating/drinking hormones or puss do we!

eat less meat?

well i kinda found this a bad conclusion, because eating less meat and dairy products wont make a differnece in how many kills are killed, just how many of it is consumed, which wont affect the global warming issue
so i say, eating less meat wont slow down the process of killing cows, only gets them a little less money


Clearly you have no concept of Supply and Demand

Cattle can save us from global warming

Grazing cattle can remove carbon from the atmosphere

read this link

Grazing cattles as solution to global warming?

Interesting link. However it is important to see the difference between naturally grown, grazing cattles and the current cattle breeding factories. There is simply not enough land available to breed the current number of cattles in an environmentally friendly way.

Therefore it is inevitable to reduce the average meat consumption in the rich part of the world.


You have no idea what you are talking about!

Are you a farmer?

Are you a farmer?


Cattle releases methane for about 70-120kgs .methane is a greenhouse gas. Cattle also destroys plants and thus contributes global warming.

EAT MORE BEEF! by Jeff Elliott

Simple solution for those who believe that our bovine friends are guilty. Yes they produce methane gas AND yes methane gas is a so-called greenhouse gas. So if you really believe that killing cows (or) stop breeding cows would contribute to a solution to climate change, then by all means - eat more beef!

Of course that would create at least two new problems! A new member of endangered species, and no natural fertilizer! So, its back to chemicals to sustain the nutrients needed for your precious veggies.

Why not COW GAS! Imagine the possibilities for our energy needs! We could create Liquified Cow Gas or (LCG) as a whole new industry! WOW! More cows = more beef and more fuel. How's that for a scientific solution!

Wrong By Puma Eviline

you humans are the problem. Produsers of beef will try to make as much beef as the public demans, and therefor there will always be an influx of cows. and the more cows that are eaten, the more cows that will be bred. I am not saying kill the cows, just stop eating them so that the manufactures stop breeding them. And if you find a way to bottle that methane gas and use it as energy, tell someone. untill then, your still a nobody with rediculous ideas.

You're Wrong.

This is a good idea, but you spelt the following fords incorrectly:
And if you say this is 'rediculous', At least if someone saw this, they would get that I meant ridiculous.

You spelled 'word' wrong. You

You spelled 'word' wrong. You have other errors as well.

butterfly effect

First off, half of the comments on this page are spelled incorrectly. If you want your ideas to be considered by others, spell correctly! Jeff Elliott ... I love your comment! But, to everyone...We need to consider the Butterfly Effect. Like Elliott said, if we eat more beef..we get rid of all the cattle. If we quit eating beef and the factories quit producing it, then there will be no need to raise cattle anymore. Either way, we are creating a way to drive all the cattle off the earth. Way to go guys..another animal extinction.....Not so much what we were aiming for. Why don't we just focus on slowing the global warming process, instead of stopping it. This is a more achieveable goal that everyone can be apart of.

not really buterfly person

not really would they become extinct. instead, there would just be less. which also helps with the rainforests. with less cattle less trees are cut down for farms. toldya!!!

cows are one of the causes of global warming

cows are most definatly one of the causes of global warming because the have more methane in their farts they help with destroying the ozone layer, and they also help killing the plants so that we arent the only cause of global warming so we the people cant be the only ones to blame because all of the animals help pollute the air also. and what i can do to help the enviornment is to eat less meat and start a farm of some sort so that we can all help the enviornment in some way so that we can all have more time to live instead of just killing everything more and more every day.

kaitlin 6th

i think thats true about

i think thats true about cows that they have some effect on globel warming but we are effecting the world the most because we are making gas cars then electric cars that could help globel warming

answer from my soul

I eat meat from when I was bourne,I still eaten but I always feel it was wrong! for respect of all us and mother nature u provide for all our soul to interact togetether tru uman body, we ave responsability to keep the best equilibrium between our living and respect for what make this possible,other plausible view of this is: We live and share the present in this life but the are no future in this life becouse future is intended in our next new bourne and we don't know where or when will happen but will happen and again and again in our bless mam earth.I BELIVE IN ALL OF US,CHANGE OUR PRESENT TO AVE A BETTER FUTURE .CIAO TO EVERYONE

and burning alot of fossil

and burning alot of fossil fuels... global*

Other reasons not to eat beef

There are other reasons not to eat beef besides reducing greenhouse gases. Cows are non-sustainable sources of protein because of the amount of grain/feed it takes to feed these animals. the amount for one cow/year is enough to feed almost 100 children in africa! if you choose to eat beef, purchase grass fed. It is more expensive but the taste is better. Also, whoever said that going vegan is worse, without cows and other lifestock animals most of the land used JUST for the growing of animal feed can be adapted to human use. And simple idea: have your own veggie garden! Overall, Cows are just not sustainable creatures... you can always put one in ur backyard, slaughter and freeze. science lesson.

global warming? how much we care?

Global warming is a very sensitive issue that we must not ignore. We can’t blame cows or those farms for this phenomenon. All human is responsible for these. Everyday, each person contributes largely to the global warming unconsciously. Riding a car, or throwing a piece of plastic or paper. Many companies are promoting eco-friendly products like natural spices, biodegradable plastics, electric cars like
peapod car
and the likes. But what really is the real probability that these acts can really contribute to prevent global warming. Further studies is needed to understand carefully the real aspects in this phenomenon.

Don't confuse issues

Why do people keep saying that there are other causes of global warming so we can't blame cattle farming. I think everyone understands that cows are not the only cause of global warming, this doesn't make the issue of how we produce meat any less or more important.

Diet for a small planet

The UN recommends a vegan diet to help protect our planet. There is overwhelming evidence that meat is NOT good for us or the planet. People like to eat it and therefore will continue to eat it, but it would be good if those who can't give it up could at least reduce their consumption. Meat is also not good for our health. Also, think of the animals and their right to life. This is a multifaceted subject. From any angle it is wise to stop breeding and killing animals for food and turn to a plant based diet. It is perhaps a little more challenging at first but a lot more interesting and flavoursome in the long run! It's not that hard -- try a tasty vegetarian Indian curry and see how your tastebuds react!

Reply to all

Once cows milk is hard to produce and cows give more blood than milk will be the day we all end! Abuse to the cow Is abuse to your mother! I gave up meat along time ago. Not for religion nor for global warming I gave it up for morals. Today I've read this article and it's no surprise at all! It's such a shame we humans learn too late. It's such a shame we use our minds and not our intelligence. When a child looks at a fire he or she is thrilled by it because it's looks appealing but the child follows it's mind but once it touches the fire it gains intelligence, shame we will burn before we use our intelligence even though we are given a second chance, so by reading this article use your intelligence and stop your childish mind from being Mis-led. Your iq level is very low! Take Alberts advice.



I totally agree with you. Saying what they say is like saying that cattle is a big problem in global warming so you can't blame overusing fossil fuels. It's rediculous!!


Carbon Consumption?

This article shows how much carbon is produced per Kg of meat, but does this itake into account how much carbon is consumed by the animal? I am interested to know how much carbon is consumed per Kg of meat through the consumption of grass and grain.

I would have thought it would be a mostly closed system (carbon is added due to transport and processing), where the growing of the grain/grass absorbs carbon, the animal eats this then excretes carbon (minus what it absorbs into its body), which can then be absorbed by the grain/grass and so on.

I have searched for answers to this on the online (which is what brought me to this site), but have not been able to find it.


Humans will pay one way or another(but not with money) for the price of dairy and meat. Its cruel. Animals are beings too. Humans put animals through so much pain just to eat them and also ruin our earth in the process.

Free range

Theres always free range! ;)

Answer for carbon consumption

People have been burning down nearly all our rain forests in the world to make room to put grass down for cows which are then killed to make burgers. rain forests absorb heaps of carbon. Its not proven that grass or grain fields absorb any, if so it would be such tiny amounts compared to beautiful rain forests.


Honestly, everyone has their own opinions. so stop getting down eachothers throats. because your not going to change their opinions, it just makes YOU look ignorant.

read the article and keep your comments to yourself.

mmmm yeah BYE!

well i think this is a good

well i think this is a good site because i have to do a school project on this except its kinda boring but overall i love this website. i give this 5 stars

Global Warming

Interesting to me is all this talk back and forth about eating meat or not eating meat. By far the biggest contributor to global warming (and virtually all other planet earth problems) is the overpopulation of the human species. Unless or until we are willing to confront this fact on a global scale we are doomed. Not the planet, just the human species. If we were to stop eating meat or even stop using internal combustion engines it would just be delaying the inevitable.
But as usual folks would rather talk about controlling the cattle population than the human population.