France contending with bovine-source greenhouse gases

France’s 20 million cows account for 6.5 percent of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Researcher Benoit Leguet of the Climate Mission of Caisse des Depots, a state-owned French bank, contends that bovine belches produce about 28.6 million tons of globe-warming gases annually, primarily methane and nitrous oxide. Cow poop (or as the French say, dejection bovine) accounts for another roughly 13 million tons — but, sadly for humor writers, cow flatulence is a negligible contribution. By comparison, French oil refineries emit about 13 million tons of greenhouse gases a year — although cows must burp and defecate to live, while fossil-fuel use can often be made optional. Leguet suggests changing cow chow to high-protein feeds like soy to reduce burping, and capturing the methane generated by cow patties for use as biofuel.