As Christmas draws closer, spare a thought forů the environment. Researchers from the UK have calculated that the carbon footprint of all the Christmas dinners eaten in the UK this year will be the same as driving around the world 6000 times!
Academics from the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at Manchester University investigated the carbon emissions that result from a traditional Christmas feast of roast turkey with stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and other trimmings. Drinks were excluded.
Their startling results show that one meal for eight generates the equivalent of 20kg of carbon dioxide emissions. When this is multiplied throughout the UK population (assuming a third of the population eats the traditional meal), the impact is a massive 51000 tonnes.
Project leader Professor Adisa Azapagic said: "Food production and processing are responsible for three quarters of the total carbon footprint."
The main culprit is the turkey, which has a particularly large carbon footprint (60 per cent of the total) throughout its lifecycle.
The researchers looked at all stages of the supply chain, including raising the turkey. Indeed, all the turkeys to be eaten in the UK will have, between them, gobbled down some 12000 tonnes of wheat, 3000 tonnes of barley, 4000 tonnes of rape seeds and 800 tonnes of fish meal.
But it would be wholly unfair to place the bulk of the blame on turkeys (and leave vegetarians smugly tucking into their meat-free roasts).
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