Agriculture driving Idaho's output of greenhouse gases

Agriculture, especially dairies and feedlots, is rivaling cars and trucks among the leading producers of greenhouse gases in Idaho, says a report ordered by Gov. Butch Otter and commissioned by state environmental regulators.

Past reports on the state's carbon footprint have targeted transportation as the major source — and said Idaho has a relatively low impact on global warming. But this inventory shows Idaho emits more greenhouse gases per capita than the U.S. average, according to the Center for Climate Strategies, which did the study for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

The earlier reports missed the impact of agriculture because they didn't include methane, produced by cattle's digestive system.

Greenhouse gas production, which most scientists say is a major contributor to global warming, grew by 30 percent in Idaho from 1990 to 2005 — a rate twice the national average.

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