top of page

The farming of Cattle are not the direct cause to increasing global methane levels. 

The Methane anomaly - Are cattle really a leading cause of the climate crisis. The data doesn't agree.


Are cattle really responsible for rising methane emissions? When media claim that agriculture is responsible for 40% of global methane emissions with cattle a leading factor, it would seem that all the evidence should be aligned.

During the past 25 years worldwide cattle populations have been steadily rising along with total global methane levels. 


However, two major anomalies occurred in the past 25 years.  Global methane levels levelled off during 2000-2007 of which at this point worldwide cattle populations were on their most rapid rise.


Prior to this during 1996-1999 when the worldwide cattle population fell, global methane levels were rising at a aggressive rate.


These points create a contradiction in the common blame of cattle causing 40% of methane emissions backed by media claims """",

If these theories are to be valid, an adjustment of cattle population should be directly proportional to global methane levels where a huge majority of supposed emissions is placed, unless a suitable methane sink is found during the 00-07 period and an emission during the 96-99 period. Neither sink nor emissions could be found to compensate for the data and explain these anomolies when analysing other sectors such as the energy industry.

Major anomalies in data cannot be overlooked without reason, and it seems, there are many other viable reasons, with many reliable and peer reviewed studys Harvard reasearcher “” methane is on the rise with cattle most likely not at fault here

The most accepted and researched hypothesis appears to be the global reduction in the hydroxyl radical, the atmospheric detergent that breaks down methane over the 8-12 years.


Normally methane levels are kept balanced with the non-depreciating hydroxyl radical, however what recent recordings have shown is the atmospheric reduction of hydroxyl. It is hard to pinpoint an exact cause of the disappearance of the hydroxyl.

To form a valid collection of information to support a claim that cattle are not a significant cause in global methane levels. Reliable source based studies and data are required over at least 25 years.

-Worldwide Cattle population census

-Global Methane Levels

-Global Methane Emmisions

-Measurements of atmospheric hydroxyl (measured through a molecule known as methyl chloroform)

-Emmisions of methane linked to fossil fuels

-Natural levels of Methane

-How much methane a cow emits exactly including measurement methods reliability

Using this, comparisons in the data of worldwide cattle population census and global methane emissions can be compared, if alternative data cannot explain the notable anomalies


To read a full compiled sourced backed write up on the matter please feel free to follow the link to see the study. Otherwise consider these points for the day. Where farming is compiled of almost all small businesses, it is hard to withstand the force of obscenely big businesses such as oil companies looking to shift blame elsewhere for the climbing methane levels. Or huge plant-based wholesalers looking to jump on a profitable trend.

There appears to be no clear link between rising cattle head population and global methane levels due to major anomolies in the data.

A common conception is that methane is scrubbed from the atmosphere within about 8-12 years. And this is the case due to a small molecule known as hydroxyl (O-H) known as the detergent of the atmosphere. This is why, even with a stable level of methane emissions, the methane measured in the atmosphere should track the total global methane levels.

Between 2000 and 2007 Methane levels reached a point of which they almost completely levelled off, increasing over 7 years of just 3.3 parts per billion. It was during this period of which sourced data shows cattle population rising most dramatically by approximately 80,000,000 cows. 


When methane began to rise again after 2007 onwards to
A reduction in methane would be considered the fastest most dramatic way to reduce the greenhouse effect. However during this time,CO2 that we emit is ignored, despite the damage once done, having such a greater long term affect.
More data between 1996 and 1999 shows a small dip in total cattle population by 10,000,000 head. Methane taken from january 1996 to january 1999 is 1752.1 to  1773.7 ppb. An increase of 21.6 parts per billion. Methane had risen over 6.5 X during a three year period (96-99) than a 7 year period (00-07). In comparison for those periods cattle population had fallen by -10 million (96-99) and increased by 80 million (00-07)
Methane is considered as agriculture producing an approximate 40% of methane emissions. The flattened area of the trend of global methane levels have to be compensated by a methane sink during that 7 year period. Possibly with combination of reduced emissions on where the other 60% comes from.


"We estimate that it is technically possible to avoid around three quarters of today’s methane emissions from global oil and gas operations. Even more significantly, around 40% of current methane emissions could be avoided at no net cost."

bottom of page