A recently revised Air Resources Board Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Reduction Strategy sets highly unrealistic mandates for dairy methane reduction. The SLCP strategy is part of the state’s broader effort to reduce gas emissions. The plan contains targets for dairy methane reduction including a “75 percent reduction of dairy manure methane from 2013 levels by 2030,” and a “25 percent reduction in enteric emissions by 2030.” The major change in the revised plan is a proposal to begin “regulating” dairies as early as 2017.
While the proposed strategy recognizes the significant efforts the state’s dairies have already made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is seeking huge additional reductions and, thereby, setting the industry up for failure. California dairies have been recognized by prominent researchers as having among the lowest carbon “hoofprints” per unit of milk produced, which is the standard measure of methane emission from dairy cows.