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Save the Planet: Focus on Methane

In 2021, a landmark report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded the alarm that additional warming is inevitable. Countries must make “strong, rapid, and sustained” reductions in carbon dioxide—the most abundant and damaging greenhouse gas. For the first time, the report also documented that reducing methane is the best and fastest strategy for slowing global warming. This means that incentivizing further reductions in methane is critically important to staving off catastrophic impacts.

What the experts are saying:

“Quickly reducing methane could counteract global warming, while also improving air quality.”

– Maisa Rojas Corradi, IPCC Report Co-author, University of Chile

“Cutting methane is the single biggest and fastest strategy for slowing down warming.”

– Durwood Zaulke, President, Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, Washington, D.C.

IPCC Press Release, IPCC Report Policy Summary

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California is leading the way for dairy methane reduction. 

A new peer-reviewed study published by researchers from the CLEAR Center at the University of California at Davis shows the California dairy sector is on target to reach the state's world leading methane reduction goals.  The peer-reviewed study, published in CABI Biological Sciences, examined the California dairy sector's progress toward the target set by Senate Bill 1383—a 40% reduction of methane emissions below 2013 levels by 2030. Evaluating the atmospheric warming contributions from 2019 to 2030 under multiple scenarios, researchers identified potential pathways for the industry to not only meet but exceed SB 1383 requirements. The study also concludes the California dairy sector could reach climate neutrality—contributing no additional warming to the atmosphere—as soon as 2027.A recent analysis by UC Davis researchers further documents accomplishments to date and shows that continued implementation of California’s incentive-based dairy methane reduction efforts should, by 2030, achieve the state’s world-leading target for reducing dairy methane emissions by 40% by 2030. Additionally, the report predicts that California dairy farms will reach “climate neutrality” by 2030, or  the point in which no additional warming is added to the atmosphere.


Additionally, several reports from the Newsom Administration document the significant environmental, climate, social, and economic benefits of dairy digesters and other dairy methane reduction efforts. These benefits include significant direct and indirect benefits to local disadvantaged communities and priority populations.

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California Climate Investments - 2023 Annual Report

  • Documents that the dairy digester program is responsible for achieving 28% of all GHG reductions from all programs invested in by the state with just 1.5% of total funds implemented.

  • Identifies the dairy digester program as the state's most cost effective, at just $9 per ton of reduction.

  • Reports that 67% of funds expended on dairy digesters are benefiting priority populations. 


California Department of Food and Agriculture -  Report of Funded (DDRDP) Projects

  • Estimates the cumulative reduction from the dairy digester program as 21.12 million metric tons (MMTCO2e) over 10 years or 2.11 MMTCO2e annually.  

  • Documents the environmental protection of water and air quality. 

  • Identifies significant air, water quality, and nuisance (odor) benefits provided to local communities. 


California Air Resources Board -  Analysis of Progress toward Achieving the 2030 Dairy and Livestock Sector Methane Emissions Target

  • Documents the progress toward the targeted livestock sector methane reductions. 

  • Identifies the need for additional incentives and grant funding. ​

  • Estimates the societal benefits of reducing methane emissions at up to $1,878 per metric ton.

  • Documents the 40% target reduction in dairy and livestock methane cannot be achieved without significant additional digester development.


The United Nations environmental program (UNep) assessment underscores the importance of methane reduction in the dairy and livestock sector to overall achievement of the global Paris Climate Agreement to limit additional warming to 1.5 degrees C by 2050. 

  • The Global Methane Assessment recognizes the value of reducing methane in the short-term, including important social, health, environmental, and economic benefits. ​

  • The Global Methane Assessment specifically identifies livestock methane as well as the use of biogas digesters as critical targeted measures to achieve reductions in the short term. 

Planet-Smart Dairy

Planet-Smart Dairy

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California Dairy's
Climate Neutral Future

California's family dairy farmers are world leaders in developing climate-smart practices. They are making great strides to reduce reliance on fossils fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. 


Methane, Cows, and Climate Change:

California Dairy's Path to Climate Neutrality

UC Davis white paper looks at evolving climate science and its implications for the California dairy sector.


Dairy Farm Families Are...


Helping Cool the Planet

California dairy farms have
reduced GHG emissions
by more than 45%
over the past 50 years. 


World Leaders

By implementing digesters and
 alternative manure management
projects, California dairy farms are further reducing GHG emissions.


Soaking Up the Sun

More than 150 California dairy farms are creating clean, solar energy. Dairies are also reducing reliance on fossil fuels through energy efficiency and electrifying farm equipment.

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Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition with a mission to ensure the long-term sustainability of California’s dairy farm families.

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Dairy Farm Non-Profit Organization in California | Planet-Smart Dairy | California Dairy Sustainability

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