Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blame the Beef

If you've been reading the news about global warming lately in the UK, you'd think Ryanair and other low-cost airlines are to thank for the beautiful weather the UK has seen for the last two years. In the US, you'd probably think it was all those jerks in Hummers or big power plants that are melting the glaciers.

However, what the mainstream media has yet to cover is the fact that there is a much larger culprit (and possibly a more influential lobby) at work here. Cows. That's right those four-stomached bags of methane and all the processing it takes to get its flesh to your plate accounts for 18 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

Let's put this in persepective. Low-cost "bad-guys" like easyJet and Ryanair along with their larger competitors (who are the real winners from all the bad press and new taxes slapped on air tickets) are responsible for only 2.5 percent of global emissions. Fossil fuel consumption from automobiles only amount to 5 percent.

What I'm curious about why there is so much attention on travel-related emissions and virtually none on the cattle industry. I'm not saying everyone needs to be vegetarian, but just eat less beef, that's all. That's a lot easier than telling someone not to go on vacation, right? And we can certainly forget about scientists coming up with "cures" for gasy cows.

So maybe a more effective solution would be taking aim at reducing beef consumption rather than transport, particularly when ecologically-friendly transport alternatives are slow in coming.