Responding to my “John Boehner’s War on Science” post, Chris Horner at National Review‘s Planet Gore seems to be trying to defend our minority leader. He links to Wikipedia, which helpfully informs us that flatulence is significantly composed of CO2, along with nitrogen, methane, and much else. This by way of rescuing Boehner’s statement–“Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide”–which I and many others have mocked.
Boehner may not be factually wrong, in the strictest sense, about the composition of cow farts. But that doesn’t make him any less confused. The issue with cows, from a greenhouse standpoint, is clearly their methane–not carbon dioxide–emissions. Let’s turn to EPA data for 2007:
Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) were the primary greenhouse gases emitted by agricultural activities. CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management represent about 24 percent and 8 percent of total CH4 emissions from anthropogenic activities, respectively. Of all domestic animal types, beef and dairy cattle were by far the largest emitters of CH4.
Meanwhile, you can see here that such agricultural activities are not one of the main sources of CO2 emissions that anybody is worries about.
So does anyone seriously doubt that when Boehner brought up “carbon dioxide” in the context of discussing cows, he really meant “methane,” and either misspoke or just didn’t know the difference? I think it’s pretty obvious. But watch the tape yourself: