December 04, 2008

Thai King a No-Show; Methane Capture in the Netherlands

In the midst of extremely difficult times in Thailand, the king failed to give his traditional birthday speech.

The king’s absence was disconcerting to many Thais, who had hoped his words would help reconcile the increasingly dangerous political and social divide emerging in the country. The king, whose moral influence overrides the temporal power of politicians and generals, has intervened in the past at critical moments to avert bloodshed.

“I’m frightened because everybody is waiting for his speech,” said Sujittra Chanchaicharoengul,30, a writer for a woman’s magazine. “I was shocked when I heard this. I didn’t want to believe it, because normally, no matter what, he will come as our esteemed king and the spirit of the people. I feel sad.”

And as meat-eating rises in popularity around the world, the wily Dutch work on ways to cut livestock's greenhouse gas emissions:

The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes.

But unlike other industries, like cement making and power, which are facing enormous political and regulatory pressure to get greener, large-scale farming is just beginning to come under scrutiny as policy makers, farmers and scientists cast about for solutions.

High-tech fixes include those like the project here, called “methane capture,” as well as inventing feed that will make cows belch less methane, which traps heat with 25 times the efficiency of carbon dioxide. California is already working on a program to encourage systems in pig and dairy farms like the one in Sterksel.

Methane capture. Didn't Ali G talk to Ralph Nader about this?

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