Methane emitted by livestock is created when animals such as cattle digest carbon plants that have previously pulled from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Methane created and emitted during the animals’ digestion stays in the atmosphere for 12 years before it is broken down into carbon dioxide once again. After 12 years, a near-constant source of methane will break down at roughly the same rate it is emitted, meaning the warming effect of methane remains constant. Reducing methane emissions from our herds will lead to more methane being destroyed in the atmosphere than is being emitted by cattle. Reducing methane reduces warming.
On the other hand, carbon dioxide is a “stock gas.” It keeps building up, or increasing stocks, in the atmosphere and increasing warming for 1,000 years and potentially forever because our carbon sinks — oceans, soils, and plants that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — are simply overwhelmed by humans’ love affair with burning fossil fuels.Cows, and farmers, are part of the solution to climate change (washingtonexaminer.com)