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Want Carbon-Neutral Cows? Algae Isn’t the Answer

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Want Carbon-Neutral Cows? Algae Isn’t the Answer

Photograph: Patricia Monteiro / Bloomberg /Getty Images. Article by Jan Dutkiewicz and Matthew Hayek. March 17, 2021.

Recent headlines suggest that feeding seaweed to cattle could help reduce the methane in their burps. But the claims don’t hold up under scrutiny.

Recent technological breakthroughs have us feeling hopeful about a green future. We have affordable electric cars, relatively cheap and efficient solar power, and even robots that might be able to remove plastic from the oceans. You might think then, that it shouldn’t be too hard to finally do something about cows belching methane into our atmosphere. The livestock industry, its allies in the scientific community, and its corporate partners like Burger King are aspiring toward carbon-neutral cows. And recently, many of them are clinging to seaweed as the hamburger’s saving grace. […]

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