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Good News For Ireland's Farting Cows

Ireland's gassy cows emit so much methane gas that the country wants to be treated as a special case when it comes to greenhouse gas levels.

EU leaders met overnight Thursday and agreed to cut emissions 40% by the year 2030, compared with 1990 levels. Between 10-12% of greenhouse gas emissions come from global agriculture, but in Ireland the figure is much higher — around 33%.

While farmers can't do much about their cows having gas, an FAO study from last year found that greenhouse gas levels could be cut by 30% if improvements were made in existing production systems.

Irish Farming Association President Eddie Downey said that the country already has a highly carbon-efficient model in place. He noted the increasing global demand for foods such as beef, saying that "carbon-efficient countries, such as Ireland, must be encouraged to meet this demand, instead of being displaced by regions that are less carbon efficient."

The final text EU leaders agreed on states that multiple objectives of agriculture and land use should be acknowledged, as well as the need to ensure coherence between EU food security and climate objectives, says RTE.

So where does that leave the farting cows? Ireland will be allowed to offset these high methane levels thanks to the other green measures in place, which include forestry, grasslands and bogs, which absorb carbon. No need to give the herds anti-flatulent drugs then.

Photo: j0sh (www.pixael.com)

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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