Fri, Feb 27, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Australia seeks to reduce animals’ gas emissions

AFP , SYDNEY

The Australian government has announced a multimillion dollar investment in research on reducing gas emissions from farm animals as part of the fight against global warming.

Methane gas from livestock flatulence accounts for about 12 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, Australian Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said as he launched the A$26.8 million (US$17.4 million) project.

The emissions from 120 million sheep, cows and goats comprise the country’s third-largest source of gases blamed for climate change, he said in a statement received yesterday.

A beef cow expells the equivalent of around 1,500kg of carbon per year, the statement said. Most carbon pollution is produced by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

Researchers will explore changing diets and chemical and biological controls of stomach bacteria to reduce methane production, as well as genetic approaches such as selective breeding.

“We will invest in science to ensure that productivity grows while the industry adapts to lower emissions, particularly as the world food shortage continues,” Burke said.

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