First it was the Netherlands now it is Ireland. Cows and farms have to go to safe the planet. No real thought is given on how to feed people, but that does not matter when you fly your own private jet….
Let’s have a closer look at it all. Before we do here is one of the many articles on the topic.
The Greenhouse gas we are going to look at
Let’s sing in the tune of the PRO Man-Made Climate Change crowd. This will cause fewer panic attacks. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. While both gases contribute to global warming, methane is more effective at trapping atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global warming potential of methane is 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. This means that releasing one tonne of methane into the atmosphere has the same warming effect as releasing 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the same period. This means we will use the 1:25 ratio in our calculations.
Methane has a much shorter lifespan in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. While most methane will leave the atmosphere within a decade, some carbon dioxide can stay there for hundreds to thousands of years. This means that carbon dioxide can have a more long-term impact on global warming.
It’s also worth noting that while methane is more potent, carbon dioxide is released in much larger quantities, so CO2 is still the primary driver of human-caused climate change. It is essential to understand that CO2 is the poster greenhouse gas for the Climate Church.
Let’s compare apples with apples instead of the usual confusion. The comparison of Methane versus CO2 is not straightforward because methane and carbon dioxide have different global warming potentials, and the emissions from animals and planes are not directly comparable.
However, I can provide a rough comparison based on the information we have.
First, let’s convert animal methane emissions to CO2 equivalents using methane’s global warming potential (GWP). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the GWP of methane is 25 times that of CO2 over a 100-year period. Hence as mentioned, we will use a 1:25 ratio in the comparison.
- Cow: 5000 kg of CO2 equivalent/year.
(200 kg of methane/year x 25)
- Sheep: 500 kg of CO2 equivalent/year.
(20 kg of methane/year x 25)
- Pig: 37.5 kg of CO2 equivalent/year.
(1.5 kg of methane/year x 25)
- Chicken: 1 kg of CO2 equivalent/year.
(0.04 kg of methane/year x 25)
- Horse: 250 kg of CO2 equivalent/year. (10 kg of methane/year x 25)
CO2 emissions per 1000 nautical miles
- Gulfstream G650ER: 4900 kg of CO2
- Bombardier Global 7500: 4900 kg of CO2
- Dassault Falcon 8X: 4900 kg of CO2
- Cessna Citation Longitude: 2100 kg of CO2
- Embraer Phenom 300: 2100 kg of CO2
To match the CO2 emissions from a 1000 nautical mile trip on a Gulfstream G650ER (4900 kg of CO2):
- a cow would need to live for about 0.98 years (4900 kg / 5000 kg/year),
- a sheep for about 9.8 years,
- a pig for about 130.7 years,
- a chicken for about 4900 years, and
- a horse for about 19.6 years.
So if a cow turns one, you have flown 1000 nautical miles in a Gulfstream, about 2hrs, as it turns out. These are rough estimates, and the actual emissions can vary based on specific model characteristics, flight conditions, animal’s diet, breed, and other factors.
But if you have a private jet, the likely hood that you travel only two hrs a year is kinda slim, and we do not take the CO2 that is created during the production of the Gulfstream G650ER into consideration.
Regarding travel and general industry trends, a private jet might fly anywhere from 200 to 600 hours annually. Assuming an average speed of about 500 miles per hour (a typical cruising speed for many private jets), this would translate to an annual distance of about 100,000 to 300,000 nautical miles.
Private Jets CO2 Contribution Per year.
Based on the rough estimates, we have the following:
- 25,000 private jets in service
- Each jet flies an average of 200 hours per year
- Each jet travelling at an average speed of 500 miles per hour
This would result in a total of 2,500,000,000 miles travelled by all private jets in a year.
Now, let’s consider CO2 emissions. As we discussed earlier, a small private jet might emit around 2.1 tonnes of CO2 for a 1,000-nautical-mile trip, while a larger private jet might emit around 4.9 tonnes of CO2 for the same distance.
We get an estimated 3.5 tonnes of CO2 per 1,000 nautical miles if we take an average of these two values. Converting this to miles (since one nautical mile is approximately 1.15 miles), we estimate 3.04 tonnes of CO2 per 1,000 miles.
Therefore, the total CO2 emissions from all private jets in a year would be approximately:
2,500,000,000 miles * (3.04 tonnes of CO2 / 1,000 miles) = 7,600,000 tonnes of CO2
Let’s get back to the Apples.
Based on the rough estimates, we have the following:
- Total CO2 emissions from all private jets in a year: 7,600,000 tonnes
How many of each type of farm animal would be needed to produce the same amount of CO2 equivalent in methane emissions in a year?:
- Cows: 1,520,000 (each producing 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year)
- Sheep: 15,200,000 (each producing 0.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year)
- Pigs: 202,666,667 (each producing 0.0375 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year)
- Chickens: 7,600,000,000 (each producing 0.001 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year)
- Horses: 30,400,000 (each producing 0.25 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year)
That is a lot of farm animals of each type.
If we take away 25.000 private jets instead of 200.000 dairy cows.
An average dairy cow can produce about 1100 to 1300 gallons of milk annually. Let’s take the average of these two values, which is 1200 gallons per year, or approximately 4542 litres per year.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average person worldwide consumes about 184.1 pounds (approximately 83.5 litres) of milk annually.
Therefore, if we take an average yield of 4542 litres of milk per cow and an average consumption of 83.5 litres of milk per person per year, we can estimate that:
1,520,000 cows * 4542 litres of milk per cow / 83.5 litres of milk per person per year = approximately 82,700,000 people
So, the milk from 1,520,000 cows could feed about 82.7 million people for a year.
Let’s look at beef cows.
An average beef cow can yield about 200 to 300 kg of meat suitable for human consumption. Now, let’s consider the amount of meat a person might consume in a year. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average person worldwide consumed about 34.3 kg of meat in 2020.
Therefore, if we take an average yield of 250 kg of meat per cow and an average consumption of 34.3 kg of meat per person per year, we can estimate that:
1,520,000 cows * 250 kg of meat per cow / 34.3 kg of meat per person per year = approximately 11,080,467 people
So, the meat from 1,520,000 cows could feed about 11 million people for a year, assuming that all of the meat is consumed and there is no waste.