Climate neutrality is within reach for the California dairy sector, according to a new white paper by experts from the University of California, Davis.
Authored by UC Davis professors Dr. Frank Mitloehner and Dr. Ermias Kebreab, along with Michael Boccadoro, executive director of Dairy Cares, Methane, Cows, and Climate Change: California Dairy’s Pathway to Climate Neutrality highlights how methane’s role in warming the climate has been misinterpreted, while possible solutions that could offset greenhouse gases from other sectors such as transport have been ignored.
“We have been looking at methane incorrectly when it comes to reducing warming,” said Professor Mitloehner, an air quality specialist for Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis and head of the Clarity and Leadership for Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR) Center at UC Davis.
“While more potent than the most prevalent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, methane is a short-lived climate pollutant, staying in our atmosphere for about 12 years before it’s broken down and removed. On the other hand, carbon dioxide remains in our atmosphere for centuries, with new emissions accumulating on top of those previously emitted, making it the main driver of climate change.”
According to the white paper, which examined historic dairy production in the state, California dairy farms have already stabilized methane emissions – a critical step to achieving climate neutrality and global climate goals.
Read the whitepaper in full.