To quote one radio talk show host: “It’s sick out there, and getting sicker.” 

What causes me to be less than chipper about the state of the world’s psyche today? Consider a recent posting from Associated Press, which claims that a major source of “global warming” is being ignored by our fad-obsessed federal government.

Which source, you say? According to the article, “cow burps” produce more greenhouse gases (methane) than coal mines, landfills and sewage treatment plants. Greenhouse gases, as any suitably indoctrinated child can tell you, are what will cause an anticipated catastrophic rise in average Earth temperatures leading to disasters of Hollywood proportions. (Of course, actual temperature trends have yet to confirm that warming is taking place at anywhere near the rates some have predicted, but let’s not be confused by reality.) Even our own National Association of Insurance Commissioners is requiring insurance companies to disclose “the financial risks they face from climate change, as well as actions the companies are taking to respond to those risks.” 

And yet our elected representatives don’t intend to do a thing about it! Can you imagine? 

AP states that gases emitted from the nation's 170 million cattle, sheep and pigs produce about one-quarter of the methane released in the United States each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. What they don’t say is that those emissions are not strictly limited to burps … if you catch my meaning. 

Now I admit that I am delighted that Washington doesn’t intend to mix in animal affairs at this level. After all, what could we do to remedy this mass gas attack? We could try to trap all those gases and use them for other purposes, say home heating (might smell a bit musty, but the farmhouse would stay toasty warm). I’m not sure how expensive that might be to accomplish, however, and a dramatic increase in beef, lamb and pork prices is not going to be good for meat lovers, much less the economy. I also wonder what further toxic emissions might be created by burning those gases. 

If I didn’t care about where my next burger was coming from (and I do!), maybe I could advocate mass slaughter of the offending animals. But imagine the emissions that would issue forth from 170 million animals biting the dust at the same time. Not a green solution to be sure, unless you’re referring to the color of your face at the prospect of seeing such carnage. 

According to AP, some have suggested making cattle farmers purchase air pollution permits—a cow tax, if you will. Understandably, lobbyists from the cattle and dairy industries are somewhat upset at that notion. 

Another solution occurred to me, however: Why not mix in Gas-X with the feed of these animals to reduce, if not eliminate, their noxious emissions? I thought that was pretty clever, until I found out that Gas-X doesn’t actually get rid of the gas. According to, “Gas-X Chewable Tablets is an antiflatulent. It works by breaking up gas bubbles, which makes gas easier to eliminate.” Easier to eliminate means that we will actually have to deal with more gas than might previously have been emitted by cattle, sheep and pigs. 

I guess that means we’ll just have to go on as we are, allowing these innocent animals to emit the things they emit and putting up with the approximately 2% of all the climate-altering pollution in the United States produced by those gases (according to AP). Should that worry us? Not in light of the statements by expert climatologists Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr. (Climate of Extremes, 2009, the Cato Institute) that, “The world is not coming to an end because of global warming. Further, we don’t really have the means to significantly alter the temperature trajectory of the planet.” 

That makes me feel a whole lot better about having that extra hot dog or hamburger at any of the summer cookouts I will attend this year. It’s really good to know I don’t have to go hungry—or go vegetarian—to be green. 

Ara C. Trembly ( is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services. He can be reached at

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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