When cows make your clean energy success less successful

With 95% of their electricity coming from renewable sources Uruguay's green revolution is endangered by the percentage of green house gases produced because of their growing beef industry.

Uruguay's population is outnumbered 4:1 by cows, threatening the its clean energy benefits with green house gas emissions.

The country has become one of the biggest meat producers in the world. Even Argentinians are turning towards their neighbor's meat due to rising prices, that showed a 28% increase  last month. Uruguay has an estimate of 12 million cows, with a population rounding  3.3 million people.

In Paris COP 21 meeting, the Latin American country was showcased as an example of clean energy production with an estimate of 95% of their electricity coming from renewable sources (mainly solar and eolic energy).

The problem is agriculture sector accounts for 76% of Uruguay's Global Warming Potential (GWP) and beef production is responsible for at least 3/4 of green house gas emissions.

Methane and nitrous oxide are the most produced gases related to beef production. They have atmospheric lifetimes of 12 and 114 years respectively. In relation to Uruguay's GHP the sector accounts for 78% of methane and 61% of nitrous oxide total emissions.

Uruguay's food production is expected to continue growing due to the country's fertile soils and their input in global food security. But how much can their clean energy success uphold?

LatinAmerican Post |

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