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Climate madness: British startup releases masks for cows

June 5, 2022

By Paul Homewood



No, it’s not April Fool’s Say! (Though there is one in the picture):




Prince Charles as backed a mask device for cows that would capture their burps to tackle carbon emissions.

The device is worn around the animal’s face and is designed to neutralise the methane they omit in real time.

He met with the contraption’s designer during a climate change event, during which he aired concerns over the ‘urgency’ with which it is being tackled.

Charles spoke with designers at a Royal College of Art event working on novel ways to bring down carbon emissions.

Francisco Norris, founder of Zelp (Zero Emission Livestock Project) said it was a ‘great honour’ to speak with the prince, four years after first showing him his striking invention.

The cattle industry is a major contributor to the planet’s carbon footprint, with natural omissions from cows putting huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every day.

Charles was assured the face device ‘doesn’t bother them at all’ when he asked if it was ‘annoying’ for the cow wearing it.


It is telling that an online new site, Free West Media, has a much more in depth analysis than the tired old Metro version:


The 100-gram rubber masks with solar-powered fans are designed to direct the animals’ exhalations into a small chamber and then use chemical processes to convert methane into carbon dioxide, Agrarheute explained. But first farmers have to be convinced to actually use the masks.

One obstacle could be the rather high price: The use costs 45 dollars per cow and year, the equivalent of 41 euros. In addition, the masks would not bring any advantage for the farmer from an economic point of view.

In the comments below the article, readers legitimately wondered whether this message was some kind of joke. Agrarheute immediately confirmed that this was unfortunately not the case.

One reader commented: “Madness or stupidity? Every thinking person understands what nonsense the story about cow’s methane is. A cow is not a perpetual motion machine and it does not create energy out of thin air. The cow lives in the earth’s natural carbon cycle and is not ‘climate-damaging’ (if such a thing exists). Even the climate heroes at Climate Facts know that, although some people don’t like it. They are just producing a lot of garbage, trying to get more money out of the farmers’ pockets, end of the story.”

The three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, all impact the environment differently. Methane is known as a “flow gas”, removed from the atmosphere at a rapid pace. Methane’s lifespan in the atmosphere is approximately 10 years, but flow gases will stay stagnant as they are destroyed at the same rate of emission.

Thus the initial method for calculating greenhouse emissions misrepresents the impact of short-lived flow gases, like methane, on future warming.


I wonder whether the poor cows will have to wear a mask at the other end as well!


It all sounds like animal cruelty to me.

  1. June 5, 2022 10:07 am

    Having heard the future King Charles III talking about “Mummy” last night it might be best if he wore one of these masks.

    • William Capron permalink
      June 6, 2022 5:40 pm

      People aren’t really stupid enough to believe this crap. Next big thing will be masks covering volcanoes to remove the carbon dioxide.

      • TinJapan permalink
        June 7, 2022 1:12 am

        Enough are stupid enough to believe masks stop viruses.

  2. Michael permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:09 am

    Emissions NOT Omissions! The writer could at least proof read their text or use a spell checker! Having made such an elementary mistake, how can they possibly be taken seriously.

    • that man permalink
      June 5, 2022 11:20 am

      Also: “Prince Charles as backed…”, and “…the methane they omit…”.

  3. iananthonyharris permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:17 am

    Madness indeed! To solve a probl

  4. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:22 am

    “The three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide”
    This sort of inaccuracy needs to be addressed. Basic and undisputed science states that the vast majority of the overall greenhouse effect is caused by H2O in all its phases (solid, liquid, vapour/gas).
    “Methane’s lifespan in the atmosphere is approximately 10 years” Unless you have fugitive emissions of anthropogenic Hydrogen gobbling up the naturally occurring Hydroxyl radicals (+OH) which would normally break the CH4 down. Even the IPCC recognise that major problem and quote a GWP (Global Warming Potential aka BS) at 6 times higher for hydrogen than CO2.

    • June 5, 2022 11:54 am

      I contend that “greenhouse gases” are ONLY found in the confines of an actual greenhouse. The gases of which they speak are properly and scientifically referred to as “atmospheric gases”. They are perfectly normal.

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      June 5, 2022 9:01 pm

      95% H2O, CO2 97% nature . . . Methane 97% nature . . . From natural causes. If you only study ‘Man-Made sources the numbers become ‘ASTOUNDING’ . . . when in ALL of Nature we are ‘Pip Squeaks’ . . .

  5. Lorde Late permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:25 am

    How is the cow to eat the grass which of course they do constantly?

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      June 5, 2022 3:22 pm

      The farmer will be spending all day long constantly removing and replacing the masks and will be unable to attend to any other business unless he/she employs someone else to do so. Not sure many farmers will be taking this up!

      • Bloke down the pub permalink
        June 6, 2022 2:08 pm

        I don’t see any photos of the mask being worn by a live cow. Perhaps they couldn’t persuade the poor animals to keep them on long enough before finding something to rub them off against.

    • dennisambler permalink
      June 5, 2022 11:43 pm

      The inventor should give himself a pat on the back…

  6. June 5, 2022 10:37 am

    I can assure you that this is not a joke. There is significant research going into this idea.

    • June 5, 2022 11:56 am

      Likely this is NOT based on scientific research. Rather it is the emotional response of the so-called handwringing environmentalists.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        June 5, 2022 8:56 pm

        Quite right !!

  7. Malcolm Johnson permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:38 am

    You don’t have to be intelligent to be a prince!

    • June 5, 2022 3:38 pm

      Intelligence is the most obvious contraindication to be a prince; as our current brood demonstrate

      • roger permalink
        June 6, 2022 11:00 pm

        ain’t that the truth!

  8. GeoffB permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:42 am

    My unicorn fart catcher is taking off, I got a million pound grant from Charlies trust fund to develop the idea, as I write this from my new home in Bermuda.

  9. st3ve permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:50 am

    Presumably the cows will also wear a bell to call for attention when they want to eat.
    Plenty of openings then for 21st century shepherds/ cowheards?

  10. KevinS permalink
    June 5, 2022 10:51 am

    Imagine if all humans disappeared from the planet, the number of walking, belching methane producers would sky rocket. In the GW manual this would lead to runaway BGW (Bovine Global Warming) before you could say moo.

  11. that man permalink
    June 5, 2022 11:28 am

    “…with solar-powered fans…” —recently improved, of course, to work after dark / in shadow / cloudy days / in barns…

    • Richardw permalink
      June 5, 2022 11:48 am

      I wonder if anybody has done a study on the carbon footprint of a can of baked beans?

      The blood does seem to be running a little thin, first running his Aston on cheese and wine, and now this.

      • jimlemaistre permalink
        June 5, 2022 8:55 pm

        Touché . . . Madness at Every Turn . . .

  12. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 5, 2022 12:21 pm

    Long live the Queen, but not jug ears.

  13. Simon Derricutt permalink
    June 5, 2022 12:36 pm

    Next task – make little methane-collectors for all the termites and employ a lot of people to go round fitting them.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      June 6, 2022 9:53 am

      Simon, why stop there? “Mountain Gorillas eat up to 20 kg. of leaves a day and live in an state of almost continuous flatulance”. I wouldn’t volunteer to strap a mask on 900lb. male gorilla.
      But there are also vegetarians, lacking the charm and intelligence but even more belligerent. Tell Charley boy – 0ops Prince Charlie boy to fitting them with one.

  14. John Wallace permalink
    June 5, 2022 1:07 pm

    So, mad cow disease HAS spread to humans.

  15. Broadlands permalink
    June 5, 2022 1:29 pm

    One obstacle could be the rather high price: The use costs 45 dollars per cow and year, the equivalent of 41 euros. In addition, the masks would not bring any advantage for the farmer from an economic point of view.

    The other obstacle is the energy needed to manufacture and distribute these masks that capture methane. It will add CO2 to the atmosphere just like the manufacture and delivery of EVs does.

  16. Thomas Carr permalink
    June 5, 2022 1:37 pm

    C’mon, it’s The Royal College of Art. What do you suppose they do there? Go to the degree exhibition and be amazed by the level of irrelevance and impracticality to be seen.

  17. Gamecock permalink
    June 5, 2022 1:56 pm

    This is all so silly. We Americans paid it forward in the 19th century by killing off 3 million bison. Making it safe for you to have your cows, and eat them, too.

    . . .

    Has the time come to kill off the 600,000 elephants in Africa? THINK OF THE PLANET!

    And the 1.5 million wildebeest?

    Gamecock’s modest proposal.

  18. David Guy-Johnson permalink
    June 5, 2022 2:06 pm

    £40 quid a cow per year plus the cost of labour and time spent putting them on and taking them off. If you have a hundred cows that will be significant.

  19. David V permalink
    June 5, 2022 2:11 pm

    “Charles was assured the face device ‘doesn’t bother them at all’…. Of course it doesn’t – it’s a plastic cow!

  20. George Herraghty permalink
    June 5, 2022 2:36 pm

    Why Cows are NOT Responsible for Climate Change:
    Declarations by scientists about climate-damaging effects of livestock farming are without exception based on mathematical modelling only, whose variables are usually assumptions, and which mostly contradict the measured evidence, as well as defy historical experience. That these declarations are repeated frequently and are received as truth in the public discourse, does not by itself substantiate them – and does not change the absence of real evidence.
    Excerpt from Prof Peer Ederer 2/4/20

  21. TINJAPAN permalink
    June 5, 2022 2:38 pm

    Make Monty Python Fiction Again.

  22. catweazle666 permalink
    June 5, 2022 4:12 pm

    One wonders if the inhabitants of the Royal College of Art have actually met a cow…

  23. Tim Spence permalink
    June 5, 2022 4:16 pm

    He just wants one for the wife.

  24. Gamecock permalink
    June 5, 2022 5:04 pm

    This is the old “ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.”

    ‘masks with solar-powered fans are designed to direct the animals’ exhalations into a small chamber and then use chemical processes to convert methane into carbon dioxide’

    Chemical processes? Like burn it? Flare it off? Bet it looks cool at night!

  25. Gerry, England permalink
    June 5, 2022 5:40 pm

    Yes, I checked the date when I first saw this. I wonder who is paying for this lunatic idea?

  26. Mikehig permalink
    June 5, 2022 5:45 pm

    There are two fundamental points which are never addressed by the methane scare-mongers:
    1) Methane’s absorption spectrum is heavily overlapped by that of water vapour which “outnumbers” it by a factor of 10 – 20,000.
    2) The world’s population of metane-emitters has probably not changed much from pre-industrial times since our domesticated herds have replaced the wild ones decimated/exterminated a couple of centuries ago.

  27. tomo permalink
    June 5, 2022 8:22 pm

    New research says Somerset to be flooded by 2090… 🙂

    – hopefully Reach PLC will be gone by then

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 6, 2022 9:20 am

      Just stop dredging the rivers, as was proved in 2014 by the EA…

  28. jimlemaistre permalink
    June 5, 2022 8:53 pm

    The immense level of intellectual and scientific madness has reached an ALL TIME HIGH !! The termites under the Brazilian Forest produce 3 Billion tons of Methane per Day . . . (BBC Documentary) The world has truly No Common Sense . . . Great Britton has removed 83% of it’s Trees . . . France 70% . . . Europe was 80% forest when the Roman’s conquered in the year 60. . . . How many European Bison and other animals have been killed ? Pound per pound Equal to all the cows living there now. I di a mathematical calculation for North America . . . Pound for pound Equal . . . Time to get a grip . .

    If we Really want to clean up the air we breath and the water we drink and the land we occupy, we need scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators and nitrogen oxide burners on ALL smoke stacks Now !! All the rest of this rubbish is pure Madness !!

    Madness at Every Turn . . .

  29. tomo permalink
    June 5, 2022 9:11 pm

    When startups fail…

    Will we see something like this implemented when Net Zero fails – as it surely must…

    + bereavement counselling?

    h/t @AndrewOrlowski

    • dennisambler permalink
      June 5, 2022 11:49 pm

      Must be Del boy

  30. Matthew Robinson permalink
    June 6, 2022 4:29 am

    Why is it an ‘great honour’ to speak with this ‘prince’? A person who has done ZERO to deserve to be listened to – apart from having to luck to be be born into obscene privilege and wealth.

  31. Zee permalink
    June 6, 2022 4:02 pm

    How did they decide that “the face device ‘doesn’t bother them at all’ “? Did they ask the cow to moo once for ‘no, it doesn’t bother me’ and twice for ‘yes, it does bother me’?

  32. Ray Sanders permalink
    June 6, 2022 5:14 pm

    “I’m from Buenos Aires in Argentina. I studied graphic design at the University of Palermo, while going to the Buenos Aires Fab Lab, which was run by RCA graduate José Garcia Huidobro. I worked there on music production and designing musical instruments. I had two halves: graphic design on one side, and electronics and building audio systems on the other.”
    (continuued) “So here in UK, I learnt how to really take the piss out you dumb Brits and your stupid aristocracy to really knacker your economy. The Malvinas are ours tonto británico!”

  33. Mad Mike permalink
    June 6, 2022 5:20 pm

    Al Gore is at it again with his pet project TRACE. It’s a system using satellites etc. to track emissions. They’ll start with companies and other large bodies but can eventually monitor you and me.

    If you think Big Brother is just in a book, this is part of what he said

    “and we’ll have the identities of the people who are responsible for each of those greenhouse gas emission streams, and if investors, or governments, or civil society activists want to hold them responsible, they will have the information upon which to base their action in holding them responsible.”

    You’ll note “civil activists” leaves the way open for XR and their lookalikes to come knocking on your door.

    God help us.

  34. Skeptic permalink
    June 6, 2022 6:04 pm

    Now that these mental midgets have designed a mask for the cows they will have to figure out how to feed them. Can’t graze with a mask on!

  35. June 6, 2022 6:24 pm

    “use chemical processes to convert methane into carbon dioxide”

    I’m having a little difficulty understanding this; they propose to convert methane, which has a very narrow absorption spectrum that is significantly overlapped by water vapour, into carbon dioxide, which has a much wider absorption spectrum with less overlap?

    have I missed something?

  36. trevor collins permalink
    June 7, 2022 5:46 am

    Is Charley Boy going to wear one?? which end?>? from Trevor Collins in New Zealand.

  37. tomo permalink
    June 7, 2022 3:35 pm


  38. Mike Gilding permalink
    June 9, 2022 4:03 pm

    Where exactly does he think the methane is going to go?

  39. Grant permalink
    June 13, 2022 4:22 pm

    Given that globally, it is estimated that termites are responsible for about one to three per cent of all methane emissions. It may sound small, but that’s up to 20 million tonnes of methane each year coming out the rear ends of these humble insects and as a major contributer, maybe Prince Charles would like to sponsor my ‘Micro-Nappy’. I only need to make a hundred… trillion!!!

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