Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal keeps ‘farting cows’ for now

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, and US Senator Ed Markey (R), Democrat of Massachusetts, speak during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation to promote clean energy programs outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 7, 2019.

The “Green New Deal,” unveiled Thursday, sets sky-high goals to cut greenhouse gases to nearly zilch — but it’s not committed to getting rid of “farting cows” just yet.

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Language notwithstanding, greenhouse gas emissions from cows have a bigger environmental impact than one might expect.

Methane gas produced by bovine flatulence contributes a significant portion of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, according to the United Nations.

Livestock farming produces about 18 percent of all those environmentally damaging gases — and about a quarter of that chunk comes from cow farts and burps, the U.N. says.

The lawmakers appear to recognize this. One of the Green New Deal’s 14 infrastructure and industrial proposals is to “work with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming.”

Spokespersons for Markey and Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to CNBC’s questions about the reference to cow farts in the summary of their Green New Deal.

In the meantime, America’s nearly 100 million cows can look forward to years of munching grass and passing gas still ahead of them.

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