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article imageDiet designed to combat climate change

By Bob Ewing     May 24, 2009 in Environment
In The United Kingom, government advisers are taking an approach to combating climate change that would effect what people eat for dinner.
Menus to combat climate change is the project and the advisers are suggesting people cut out “high carbon” foods such as meat from sheep. Why sheep, well the officials say sheep burps pose a serious threat to the environment.
Along with sheep, go greenhouse tomatoes and alcohol. Seasonal vegetables and potatoes are encouraged along with chicken and pork which generate fewer carbon emissions.
“Changing our lifestyles, including our diets, is going to be one of the crucial elements in cutting carbon emissions,” said David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.
Kennedy has stopped enjoying a favourite meal,doner kebabs because they contain lamb.
A government-sponsored study into greenhouse gases found producing 2.2lb of lamb released the equivalent of 37lb of carbon dioxide.
Sheep burp so much methane, a potent greenhouse gas and therein rests the problem. Cows are also implicated as the production of 2.2lb of beef releases methane equivalent to 35lb of CO2.
A significant percentage of the country's tomato crop are grown in heated glasshouses. This makes the tomato 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.
“We are not saying that everyone should become vegetarian or give up drinking but moving towards less carbon intensive foods will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health,” said Kennedy.
The climate committee is also analysing emissions from farming and will suggest measures to reduce them. However, it has concluded that people will have to change their habits.
Alcoholic drinks complicate the situation as 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.
The Carbon Trust, a government-funded firm, is working with food and drink companies to calculate the “carbon footprints” of products; it has found , for example, Coca-Cola generates only about half the greenhouse gas emissions of Innocent’s “smoothies”.
Good news for chocolate lovers as Cadbury’s chocolate generates about 4½lb for every 2.2lb eaten - less than half the CO2 same weight of chicken.
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