even more bull
from a company
not just getting on with it
methinks we should talk about methane
CO2. Everybody knows CO2. Everyone knows what a troublemaker CO2 is. Al Gore made a documentary about what a naughty boy CO2 is. CO2 throws paper airplanes and makes loads of noise and is stopping everyone else from learning. Bad CO2. The Notorious C.O.2.
But there, in the corner, do you see? Hunched over. Hood up. Left eye twitching a touch. Maybe even wearing those creepy wireframe Jeffrey Dahmer glasses. He flies under the radar, but he’s more of a psychopath than anyone ever knew. Farting, softly. It’s methane.
It’s just five little atoms stuck together, acting like it’s no big deal. But actually, recognising and stopping methane is the best opportunity we have to halt rapid global warming. CO2 is shoplifting and methane is pouring gasoline down the toiletries aisle. Stop. That. Freaky. Fuck.
Taser, sedatives, straitjacket, chop his damn hands off. I’m really all about it at this point.
CO2 is shoplifting and methane is pouring gasoline down the toiletries aisle. Stop. That. Freaky. Fuck.
What’s going on is that methane has 80x the global warming potential of CO2, so even though less of it gets produced overall, it pushes us hard and fast over safe planetary emissions limits. The difference between CO2 and methane is that while CO2 traps a little bit of heat, doing so for many years, methane packs a truckload, but breaks down in a shorter time frame.
That makes methane sound kind of not so bad on some levels – at least it’s out of the picture fast, right? But actually, we’re in the midst of an emergency and thinking climate change is something to do with your grandchildren is, I’m afraid, not correct, grandma. Heard about climate tipping points? Don’t look it up. Shit’s scary. Methane that causes a lot of harm now, rather than doing its damage over the course of one hundred years, should 100% be our priority.
Put it like this, Alzheimers doesn’t belong on top of the FBI wanted list. We send SWAT teams after those posing the most immediate deadly threats. His name is methane.
The good news about this course of action would be that any reductions we make in the flows of methane production now, mean a rapid turnaround in reducing the existing stock of damaging GHGs in the atmosphere. It’s these quick wins that will surely prove the difference between charting a course to planetary safety and trading sexual favours in return for a ticket on a billionaire fuckboi spaceship.
These quick wins will surely prove the difference between charting a course to planetary safety and trading sexual favours in return for a ticket on a billionaire fuckboi spaceship.
The main causes of methane production are HELLO livestock farming and fossil fuel emissions. These are absolutely within grasp to reign in, both through individual decision making, government interventions and technological advances. Acknowledging the urgency of cutting methane emissions, last year 130 countries signed the Methane Pledge, committing to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Some of our absolute fave climate shirkers: Australia, China, India and Russia didn’t sign on, nor did anyone get around to fleshing out reporting, action plans or commitment mechanisms… but getting these nation states to even acknowledge the problem feels like a win sometimes.
What happens now is that we increasingly orient emissions reduction programmes around methane, the most urgent GHG conundrum, giving priority to the solutions that are available here and now. As an impartial observer on this whole debacle, clearing a pathway for society to reduce and replace its protein consumption would be a good bet. Let’s dismount the cows, whose guts pump out 500 litres of methane a day and hand the baton over to alternative protein sources, whose land, water and emission footprints are a sliver of their industrial livestock counterparts. Let’s put tasered, sedated, dismembered methane in after school detention and let’s all get A plus grades for taking responsible, pragmatic action for saving the planet. Yay.
Oscar is a Formo researcher and proponent of food system overhaul. He thinks cellular agriculture, smoothied up and multiplied by decent, change-hungry humans, can be cataclysmic force for good. Especially if there’s cheese involved.