In Denmark, a major dairy exporter, the government has agreed to help farmers finance a feed additive that is expected to reduce methane emissions from cattle by up to 30 percent.

Accordingly, the government has set aside 518 million Danish kroner ($74 million) to finance the feed additive, which is expected to reduce methane emissions from the country's approximately 550,000 dairy cows by 30 percent by 2030.

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The initiative, which has broad political support, could pave the way for Denmark to become the first country in the world to price agricultural emissions, including methane emissions from cows' belching.

Part of the climate commitment

The move comes as part of the country's efforts to meet ambitious climate targets. The Nordic country has pledged to reduce emissions by 70 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

According to the Danish climate think tank Concito, more than half of the country's land is farmed and agriculture accounts for about a third of the country's carbon emissions. 

But this support has been met with skepticism by animal welfare groups. Some Danish politicians and animal welfare groups point out that it is still unclear whether such additives will meet animal welfare standards in the country.

Farmers support

Methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, is released into the atmosphere as a natural by-product of digestion in cows and other ruminants. 

Farmers and the dairy industry, which is not yet subject to any climate regulation, are worried that the carbon tax will force them to reduce production and close farms.

Industry representatives therefore advocate the use of additives that prevent methane production by stopping the fermentation process in cows' stomachs.

Netherlands-based nutrition company Royal DSM produces a feed additive that reduces methane emissions. The company's product was approved by the European Union in 2022.