This story was published in partnership with The Counter.
Every year, California dairy farms emit hundreds of thousands of tons of the potent greenhouse gas methane, which gets released when livestock operations pool manure in open-air lagoons. To put a lid on these emissions, the state is lavishing the industry with lucrative subsidies to capture methane before it escapes into the atmosphere. Such efforts are currently on track to prevent 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, a standard unit for measuring greenhouse gas emissions, from being emitted annually by the end of this year. It’s an essential part of the Golden State’s plan to shrink methane emissions by 40 percent of 2013 levels by the end of the decade.
California has sector-specific targets for emissions reductions, and cuts at dairy farms are attributed to the livestock sector. Curiously, however, the state is simultaneously crediting many of those same emissions reductions to its transportation fuel sector — and, some argue, dramatically overstating its progress in that sector as a result.
That’s because much of the methane captured at dairy farms is conv... Read more