May 26, 2009
It turns out that the crisis in the global environment may relieve me of a cultural disgrace – the fact that I don’t like lamb. I’m half Lebanese by heritage, for heaven’s sake, and I can’t stand the smell, never mind the taste of lamb. It wasn’t always so; I ate lamb when I was a kid, but somewhere along the line I lost my taste for it. That’s putting mildly.
But now the Britain’s Committee on Climate Change is recommending that folks stop eating so-called “high-carbon food,” and lamb is on the list. The reason lamb is in the crosshairs – this is serious, now, folks – is that sheep burp too much. From The Times of London:
A government-sponsored study into greenhouse gases found that producing 2.2lb of lamb released the equivalent of 37lb of carbon dioxide.
The problem is because sheep burp so much methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Cows are only slightly better behaved. The production of 2.2lb of beef releases methane equivalent to 35lb of CO2 Tomatoes, most of which are grown in heated glasshouses, are the most “carbon-intensive” vegetable, each 2.2lb generating more than 20lb of CO2 Potatoes, in contrast, release only about 1lb of CO2 for each 2.2lb of food. The figures are similar for most other native fruit and vegetables.
And don’t look now, quaffers, but that brew is on the government’s chopping block, too. The Times:
Alcoholic drinks are another significant contributory factor, with the growing and processing of crops such as hops and malt into beer and whisky helping to generate 1.5% of the nation’s greenhouse gases.
Well, at least now, when I go to a Middle Eastern restaurant, I can decline the lamb – and the heritage of countless generations of my ancestors – on the grounds that I’m “green.”