Beer’s Carbon Footprint

There was an odd little tidbit from across the pond, where today a UK government advisor, David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, suggested that “people stop consuming lamb and beer to save the planet.” Instead, he recommends chicken or pork, because “they produce fewer carbon emissions.”

A study he did recently found this and other foods’ ratio of carbon emissions per pounds of food produced. It also “revealed that alcoholic drinks contributed significantly to emissions, with the growing and processing of hops and malt into beer and whisky producing 1.5 per cent of Britain’s greenhouse gases.” Curiously, though, England grows very little brewing barley (compared to world production) and its hop acreage is a mere shadow of its former glory, so I’m not entirely sure how this suggestion benefits the UK very much or could possibly be 1.5%.

I guess what I don’t get is why he’s singling out beer for special mention, except that his final quote is revealing. “‘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,’ he said.” Improve health, eh? Except that giving up drinking has been show to be less healthy than moderate drinking, and that moderate drinking has several proven health benefits. So now I have to wonder what his true motives are in picking on beer.



  1. says

    Ron, my bad. They’re not one of the top producers like Canada, Australia and central Europe. I honestly thought there wasn’t any, but in retrospect I was forgetting Maris Otter, at the very least. Sorry about that. My only defense is it was very late at night.

  2. Jim says

    Just another in a long series of the silliness, stupidity and just plain cussedness of the whole “carbon footprint” malarkey. But this time, it strikes too close to home…I’ll not give up my beer!

  3. says

    Stop drinking beer. I would maybe rather enjoy a beer while the planet goes into extinction. If it’s any consolation J, Britain’s common drinkers seem to be trending toward less and less flavorful beer…so maybe they won’t be growing barley before long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>