GUEST COMMENTARY: Goats are mowers, but also mowed down

2013-06-30T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Goats are mowers, but also mowed downBy Steve Goreham nwitimes.com
June 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

O’Hare International Airport will finally get its goats. The Chicago Department of Aviation has awarded a contract to a private firm to provide 25 goats to munch vegetation at the city’s airport. These “green lawn mowers” will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to sustain the planet.

Last fall, when the project was bid, Amy Malick, head of sustainability at the Department of Aviation, commented on the planned use of goats in hard-to-mow areas, “They may have steep slopes, very hard to get to with heavy machinery, and those machines also emit pollution. They’re burning fossil fuel. So as a sustainability initiative we’re looking to bring in animals that do not have emissions associated with them, at least to the same extent that heavy machinery would.”

Chicago is not the first city to employ animals to reduce airport vegetation. Sheep are used at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and goats are used at San Francisco International. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport deployed goats as early as 2008, but stopped because “it was not cost-effective.”

A single one-way Boeing 747 flight from Chicago to London emits about 200 tons of carbon dioxide, or about 5,000 times the annual emissions from a gasoline-powered lawn mower of a homeowner. It appears that emissions savings from O’Hare goats will be relatively small. But what about methane emissions from the herd?

On the other side of the world, about 10,000 miles from Chicago, Australia has a different solution for global warming. More than a million wild camels, called “feral” camels, roam the outback of Australia. They munch up the foliage and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from both the nose end and the tail end. Each camel produces more than a ton of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. Feral goats are also part of this severe climate problem.

But the enlightened Australian government passed the Carbon Farming Initiative Act in December of 2011. The act calls for “The reduction of methane emissions through the management, in a humane manner, of feral goats, feral deer, feral pigs, or feral camels.” “Management” companies are now flying over the outback, shooting goats and camels from helicopters, and earning carbon credits.

So goats are both grazed and shot to reduce those evil carbon dioxide emissions. It’s all part of this mad, mad, mad world of climatism.

Steve Goreham is executive director of the Climate Science Coalition of America. This column was originally published in The Washington Times. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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