Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.

A climate change impact: Bubbling lakes that emit methane

Shallow lakes in farming regions “will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles” due to climate change, says a Aarhus University study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. …

The kangaroo is on Australia’s coat of arms. It may be on the dinner plate, too.

There are nearly twice as many kangaroos as people in Australia and the rapid rise in kangaroo population, up 66 percent this decade, is fanning a novel idea for the nation: Eat more kangaroo meat, reports the BBC. It could be a hard sell, since the kangaroo and the emu are on the national coat of arms, and the kangaroo is a popular symbol of the country.

California climate bills could raise food prices

Californians could see higher food prices, as well as increases for electricity, new homes and gasoline, thanks to two new state laws, adopted last summer, that are designed to lower climate emissions, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Cows and rice paddies are likely to blame for rising methane

Cattle ranching and rice farming are the most plausible sources of rising methane gas emissions, says a new report led by the French Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE). The researchers “reported that methane concentrations in the air began to surge around 2007 and grew precipitously in 2014 and 2015,” says Reuters.

Aussies back low-gluten barley and livestock feed from seaweed

Australia is setting up a $200-million innovation fund — half public and half private money — to try to commercialize breakthrough research from universities, government agencies and other research bodies, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Among the projects are Kebari, an ultra-low-gluten barley and FutureFeed, an additive for livestock rations made from seaweed that dramatically reduces methane emissions by cattle.

Few options for urban juice shops to reduce waste

It’s no secret that good compost improves soil, but many urban juice joints don’t bother getting licenses to cart their leftover peels and pulp to local composters, either because it’s too expensive or because the scraps are too “wet and heavy” to be useful, says FERN contributing editor Elizabeth Royte in Modern Farmer.

Antibiotics in cattle mean more methane in manure

Scientists say that antibiotics in cattle "boost methane production in cow pats — apparently by favoring antibiotic-resistant, methane-producing organisms in the gut," says the BBC. "The researchers say it’s proof that antibiotic use on farms has unintended, cascading effects on the environment."

Methane-producing microbes found in California rocks

For the first time, scientists have found methane-producing microbes living near the earth's surface, rather than in volcanic vents in the ocean floor, says the American Geophysical Union. The study "also shows the newly-discovered microbes are likely capable of using carbon dioxide to produce methane — a finding that could have implications for future carbon sequestration projects."

Oregano oil could help save the planet from cow belches

Feeding cows oregano oil may help cut back on their methane-laced belching, says NPR. Bovine belching accounts for one third of global methane emissions, and methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.