CowCredits: Firm behind low methane cattle feed launches CO2 offsetting scheme

·2-min read

A British-Swiss firm behind cattle food which reduces a cow's methane emissions by 30% has begun selling carbon credits to allow companies to offset their CO2 footprint.

Mootral has developed the special feed at their laboratories in Abertillery in the Welsh Valleys.

It works by using an extract of garlic in a special formulated food supplement for cattle, which removes micro-organisms in a cow's stomach that create methane.

Now the firm wants companies and individuals to offset their carbon footprint by purchasing so-called "CowCredits" for around £60 - equivalent to one tonne of CO2.

The credits are similar to other carbon offsetting schemes which see trees planted but instead involves the purchase of cattle feed which can reduce methane output.

Mootral claims that if all 1.5 billion cows in the world consumed their feed for one year, it would reduce CO2 output equivalent to removing more than 330 million cars from the road.

Dan Keef, one of the company's senior scientists, said: "It is a gamechanger - cows are a huge problem, they put an enormous of methane into the atmosphere, and what people don't appreciate is methane is so much more powerful than carbon dioxide even as a global warming gas."

Figures from the Global Carbon Project, led by Stanford University scientist Dr Rob Jackson, show that between 2000 and 2017, agriculture accounted for roughly two-thirds of all methane emissions related to human activities.

Data shows that in 2017 Earth's atmosphere absorbed nearly 600 million tonnes of methane - a gas which is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a 100-year span.

Mootral CEO Thomas Hafner said: "Cows play an important role in our ecosystem, improving soil quality and supporting carbon sequestration, as well as providing a great source of nutrition.

"It's time for us to help them become part of the solution in the global fight against climate change."

Developing advanced feeds such as Mootral is costly and it's thought funding the feed through carbon offsetting schemes would allow it to be supplied to farmers on a mass scale.

William Mann runs Oxleaze Farm - an organic cattle farm in the Cotswolds. He told Sky News he's concerned about the cost of such animal food supplements but is open to the idea.

"It would need to be a supplement alongside the grass - if they can come up with an organic and pasture fed one, I would be very keen," he said.

"Margins are tight, and farmers are businessmen at the end of the day. It would be down to the individual farmer and system whether they can afford to take it on."

Mootral currently has two farms in Europe using the product, including Brades Farm in the UK.

The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.