This sounds like a joke, but it’s not. John Thune has actually made himself America’s greatest defender of cow farts.
Cow farts, and belches too, are a significant source of global warming. They contain methane and nitrous oxide, both potent greenhouse gases. In spite of the vast amount of evidence that global warming is already causing significant economic damage and humanitarian problems around the world, John Thune doesn’t seem to care much about that. Thune has just introduced S.3741, a bill that would amend the Clean Air Act to outlaw the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating air pollutants that are known to contribute to global warming.
Thune casts his legislation as a defense of farmers. “There are things of greater cause of CO2 emissions in our society a lot of smoke stack industries, automobiles, but to think for a minute livestock production is contributing in a more significant way of global warming and green house gas emissions than other sources I think is really almost laughable,” Thune says, defending his pro-fart legislation. However, if you look at the facts, what Thune so easily derides is not actually laughable at all. Scientific research indicates that the gases cows emit through their flatulence are actually more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. How sad is that? John Thune decided to make himself the cow fart expert of the United States Senate, and he couldn’t even get that right.
Internationally, ruminant livestock like cattle are responsible for more global warming than than cars, trucks, motorboats, and all other forms of transportation are. In the United States, transportation has an edge over livestock as a source of greenhouse gases, but the methane and nitrous oxide from livestock is nonetheless a serious contributor to greenhouse gases in our country, and needs to be dealt with seriously, not ignored.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the farms John Thune is defending are cute little hilly pastures of green grass enclosed with white picket fences, where dairy farmers walk their cows every morning into a little red barn to squeeze their teats by hand. The powerful farmers that have the resources necessary to gain John Thune’s attention run huge industrial agricultural operations where the cattle stand around all day, shoulder to shoulder with each other, knee deep in their own shit and urine. The massive methane emissions in these concentrated feeding operations come not just from the cattle farts, but from immense manure lagoons.
Besides that, the whole question of whether livestock contribute more to global warming than transportation or electrical generation or anything else is nothing more than a red herring when it comes to John Thune’s legislation. The fact is that Senator Thune’s outlaws not just regulation of methane and nitrous oxide, but carbon dioxide as well. S. 3741 doesn’t just apply to cattle. It protects big corporate smokestacks, and gas guzzling sport utility vehicles too.
John Thune is a defender of cow farts. He thinks cow farts are great. He loves cow farts. He defies anyone to try to reduce cow farting.
No wonder no one is standing with Senator Thune on this issue. S. 3741 has zero cosponsors – not even one Republican is willing to support this stinker.