Last week, I gave a speech about methane emissions from food production during a Zoom session about consecutive.
This is a topic that gives rise to much hilarity in the British press, since it involves talking about belching and farting!
I thought this would be a good opportunity to create an exercise to help you work on register.
First of all, have a think about what features of language characterise a more formal register. If you were trying to raise the register of a text or speech, what would you try to include, and what would you try to avoid? Write a quick list.
For more ideas, check this post about formal register.
I’ve adapted two articles from the Guardian and the Mirror about new types of ‘methane-suppressing’ livestock feed, and broken them down into paragraphs.
Your task is to rewrite each paragraph in a more formal register. There is of course no single ‘correct’ solution, since there are many ways to structure a sentence that expresses the same idea.
When you’re written your version, you can check mine!
Have a think about what features of the second paragraph make it sound more formal. How can you incorporate similar tricks or approaches into your interpreting?
Farting cows could be given “methane suppressants” to stop them breaking wind and fuelling global warming.
The proposal was popular with farmers. It comes after a consultation that began in August about how new types of feed can stop cows belching and farting.
But green groups aren’t so keen. They think the beef and dairy industries also damage the environment in other ways, and the new feed proposal shows an obsession with ‘techno fixes’. Instead, people should be told to eat less meat.
Methane from cattle burps and manure is a large part of GHG. Farm animals are blamed for about 14% of global carbon emissions created by human activity.
The Government’s net-zero growth plan said officials expects “high-efficacy methane-suppressing products” to be sold from 2025 and could force farmers to use them if they are proved to work.
The government says it wants as many farmers as possible to start using the new feed soon, as slashing harmful gases released into the atmosphere is key to meeting its legally-binding pledge for net-zero emissions by 2050.
The new feed additives are been tested in the UK, but it’s still not known how well they work.
Scientists have criticised the government for relying on unproven technologies to try to meet climate goals.
So far, there are no additives licensed in the UK that suppress methane. The FSA is in charge of licensing all animal feeds, and would have to do a proper risk assessment for each additive, to check its impact on animal health and welfare, food safety risks, risk to workers, and wider environmental risks. It would also need to assess how effective the products are before giving them the okay for use in feed to reduce methane.