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The ad blitz was impossible to miss walking into the light rail station in Seattle’s bustling Capitol Hill neighborhood, where dozens of red-orange signs were plastered along the walls. “Seattle, carbon-neutral milk is here,” a billboard-sized advertisement declared, showing two milk cartons perched on a skateboard. One man paused to consider one of the ads for a solid 10 seconds before walking up a staircase that, if you looked at it straight on, spelled out the message “This milk fights climate change.”

Those are big promises from Neutral, the Portland startup behind the product. After all, the dairy industry isn’t exactly known for being climate-friendly: Livestock account for about 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, two-thirds of which come from cows raised for meat and milk products. Cows burp a lot of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently singled out for its big contributions to global warming, second to carbon dioxide.

So is it possible that Neutral’s milk “fights climate change”? It depends how you interpret it.

“I think there’s an increasing awareness that agricultu... Read more

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