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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Red Land closer to LL title; Pope brings attention to climate change; Methane gas and cattle

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Aug 27, 2015 10:27 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, August 27, 2015:

The Red Land Little League team continues to be the talk of Central Pennsylvania.  The York County squad made up of 11, 12 and 13-year olds will play for the U.S. championship Saturday afternoon after their 3-0 victory over Texas Wednesday night in Williamsport.

More than 35,000 people watched Red Land's Adam Cramer strike out 13 Texas batters while allowing only three hits.  The last 16 Texas outs came via the strikeout.  Cole Wagner swatted a home run for Red Land.

WITF's Ben Allen was in Williamsport and appears on Thursday's Smart Talk.

According to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities. Methane comes from natural sources such as wetlands and leakage from natural gas systems.  However, up to a quarter of the methane worldwide is produced by livestock -- cattle, sheep, and buffalo -- when they burp.  That's no joke.  A Penn State researcher is part of a team that may have found a way to reduce methane emissions from cattle.

He is Dr. Alexander Hristov, Professor of Dairy Nutrition, in the Department of Animal Science at Penn State University and he joins us on Thursday's program.

Donald Brown has appeared on Smart talk several times before with a message that climate change is not just a scientific and political issue, but is a moral one too.  In fact, Brown wrote about it in his book Climate Change Ethics: Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm.

And now, Pope Francis has weighed in with the same opinion.

Donald Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor of Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University Commonwealth Law School appears on today's show.

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Donald Brown, Scholar in Residence and Professor of Sustainability Ethics and Law, Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

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  • Robert D Colgan img 2015-08-27 09:31

    I question the current statistic of 25% of the methane coming from livestock------since the permafrost is now melting worldwide and now releasing far more methane than when it was frozen/entrapped.

    Even If all the animals of the world, including humans, stopped producing methane, the amount of methane released by global warming would still be a huge amount.

    • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-28 10:21

      Alexander Hristov replies...
      This may be correct in the future but I don't think permafrost is a larger methane emitter at this point than human activities.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-27 10:01

    Kim emails:

    Are dairy cows the greatest producer of methane or do cattle raised for beef emit the same as dairy cows?

    • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-28 10:22

      Alexander Hristov replies...
      Beef cattle emit much more methane (in the US) simply because they are much more - around 90 million beef cattle vs. roughly 9 million dairy cows.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-08-27 10:07

    William emails:

    What is the impact of the methane inhibitor on the hormones the cow produces? Would it impact the drink ability of the milk or the ability to eat the meat? There are studies about bovine growth hormones and the harms it causes consumers, but is this going to be something that will be safe for human consumption? Lastly how will this impact the organic farmers? Will this be a medication or something which organic farmers can not use?

    • Scott LaMar img 2015-08-28 10:20

      Alexander Hristov replies...
      This compound is not a hormone, i.e. as bST, so I don't expect that it will have any effects on hormones the cow produces. We don't have data to share at this point on its long-term effects on animal health - this is something we'll be studying. I expect that it will not be allowed in organic systems, simply because of the regulations related to organic milk production.