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Ocasio-Cortez explains ‘farting cows’ comment: ‘We’ve got to address factory farming’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sought to explain a recent document from her office that linked "farting cows" to climate change, saying that serious climate policy needs to address agriculture.
A set of frequently asked questions released by her office this month as part of the rollout of her "Green New Deal" proposal to fight climate change mentioned cow flatulence as a problem, but her staff later denounced the document.
Ocasio-Cortez didn't directly defend the statement in an interview that aired late Thursday on Showtime's "Desus & Mero," but said that climate policy might need to look into reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
"In the deal, what we talk about is ... that we need to take a look at factory farming, period. It's wild," she told hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero on the premier of their show's first season on the network.
"And so, it's not to say you get rid of agriculture. It's not to say we're going to force everybody to go vegan or anything crazy like that. But it's to say, listen, we've got to address factory farming. Maybe we shouldn't be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like, let's keep it real," she continued.
"We have to take a look at everything."
The resolution she introduced with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) didn't propose any measures to control greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, nor did the frequently asked questions document.
"We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero, emissions in 10 years because we aren't sure that we'll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast," the document said.
Despite Ocasio-Cortez's staff denouncing the document, and the "farting cows" line not being in the resolution itself, it has stuck with opponents of the Green New Deal and led to accusations that the plan would outlaw beef.
"I really don't like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane flights ... of, 'You're not allowed to own cows anymore,'" Trump said at a recent Texas campaign rally.
While cow flatulence is often mentioned as a greenhouse gas source, the animal's belches are the main source of methane, from their enteric fermentation.
Methane is a greenhouse gas about 80 percent times more potent than carbon dioxide by volume.
Methane from cows is the main greenhouse gas source from agriculture, and its output is on the rise, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But agriculture as a whole only accounts for 9 percent of the nation's greenhouse gases, EPA figures show, far behind bigger emitters like transportation and electricity generation.