Climate science studies know no bounds. I’m not making this up.
The Austrian online Der Standard reports here that Spanish scientists at the University Almeria have determined that the average European emits 2 tonnes of CO2 annually just though eating habits and excretion, this in a study appearing in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.
The lead author of the study Amadeo Fernandez-Alba writes:
The entire food cycle has an impact on the climate. The treatment of sewage water contributes to this and thus must be taken into account.
According to Der Standard:
He urges consumers to not only think about health and pleasure when buying food, but also to pay attention to the environment.
The researchers studied the entire food cycle of an average Spanish man and the CO2 produced. The result was two tons per person, which is 20% of the average European’s total output. The worst for the climate are meat and milk products. Most of the greenhouse gases are emitted during the food production process – especially agriculture.
Dr Fernandez Alba says that fruits and vegetbles are the best . but they too can be problematic. The researchers say:
Consumers orient themselves less and less on seasonal production. Instead they increasingly want their strawberries and asparagus year-round. In addition, an increasing amount of tropical fruit is being consumed. That increases Co2 emissions from transport immensely.
Human excrement taken into account for the first time
For the first time, the researchers also studied greenhouse gases produced by human excrement. It turns out that this by-product is in second place not that far behind food production in GHG emissions. The scientists say:
The culprits here are mainly nitrogen and phosphorous amounts, and also gases that are produced by sewage treatment plants.
Expect Europe to start regulating our eating habits and inspecting what goes through the toilet – soon. Poor Europe has got nothing better to do.
Update: Here’s more in English: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101102131108.htm