The Australian Government has announced that it will invest more than $20 million in research and development aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock.

According to a United Nations report, cattle are "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together." The reasons why are cattle so bad, and whether other sources of meat are better, has been discussed on our sister site, GreenBiz Cafe.

The Minister for Agriculture, Tony Burke, said that the research will look at breeding options and improving feed to reducing methane levels. Farmers in the UK are altready trialling a diet for cows that promises to reduce methane emissions. (See GreenBiz Cafe).

UPDATE: 3 March 2009

The Federal Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke. announced today that there will be nine research programs across the country which will begin looking at effective ways to store carbon in soil in a bid to reduce emissions. A further nine programs will monitor nitrous oxide emissions of various farming systems, at a total cost of $32 million.

The CSIRO will oversee the management of all programs and analyse the potential for soils to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.