It has often discussed on TreeHugger that a diet of less meat will help reduce our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (See links below). And one of the reasons for this is that chewing a heap of grass, as most cattle and sheep are prone to do, results in intestinal gas with a high methane content. And methane is actually a meaner greenhouse gas than the commonly mentioned carbon dioxide.
So much so, that the third largest greenhouse gas emitters in Australia turn out to be our 120 million sheep, cattle and goats. With this in mind the Australian government announced yesterday that they will be spending $26 million AUD to fund 18 research projects to limit these emissions.The Federal Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, acknowledged that "Methane alone accounts for 70 per cent of agricultural emissions and 12 per cent of national emissions." With beef cow grazing in northern Australia alone producing burps equivalent to around 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs) of carbon per year.
Amongst the nearly 20 research projects working on the issue will be those: exploring dietary supplements and alternative feeds to reduce methane production within livestock; the use of chemical or biological controls of bacteria in the stomach of livestock to help reduce emissions; and genetic approaches such as selective breeding to lower livestock emissions.
More on Bovine Methane on TreeHugger
• How Studying Cow Burps is Helping Argentinians Learn about Climate Change
• A Stinky Solution to a Stinkier Problem: Using Garlic to Fight Cow Farts
• Cows and Climate Change
• Less Meat = Less Heat
• Meat-eating Warrants Same Scrutiny as Driving and Flying