The year-end news isn't pretty. The dictatorship-dominated United Nations has its eye on our Christmas hams as a key source of allegedly man-made global warming and planetary suicide.
"We haven't come to grips with agricultural emissions," warned Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a front page article in The New York Times on December 4, "From Hoof to Plate, a New Bid to Cut Emissions."
Before he gets the UN to go after the belching and flatulence of hogs, you'd think Dr. Pachauri would make sure that global warming is actually occurring, and that if it is, that it's in fact man-made, or pig-made, and not just due to solar activity or natural cycles.
The Associated Press reports that "2008 is on a pace to be a slightly cooler year" than last year. On December 11, the palm trees were snow-covered in New Orleans in the earliest snowfall ever recorded in the city's history. Enjoying a rare blizzard on the Outer Banks, kids were building snowmen on the beach a week before Thanksgiving. "Alaskan glaciers grew this year instead of retreating," reported Investor's Business Daily on December 15, while "Fairbanks had its fourth coldest October in 104 years of records," and "the temperature at Denver International Airport dropped to 18-below-zero on Sunday, breaking the previous record of 14-below set in 1901."
Still, environmental ministers from 187 nations are gathering in Poland this week to talk about a new treaty to fight global warming in a conference that was scheduled prior to the snowball fights on Bourbon Street.
Farm flatulence and belching will be "one of the main issues" on the agenda in Poland, reports The New York Times, explaining that "the trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more than from cars, buses and airplanes."
Going into this year's Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, the USDA reported that frozen ham stocks in the U.S. totaled 160.5 million pounds, only about 2.2 million pounds below the record high pre-holiday figure for that date of 162.66 million pounds.
To control our carbon footprint, says Dr. Pachauri, we should "reduce meat consumption." A good world-saving lunch would be an internationally-sanctioned broccoli burger, minus the cheese, unless we can find some zero-emitting heifers or develop some kind of methane-capturing cow diapers.
In a "Raise a Stink" campaign earlier this year, farmers in New Zealand mailed reeking parcels of sheep and cow manure to members of Parliament to protest a proposed flatulence tax. The new levy is designed to empty tens of millions of dollars from the pockets of farmers, raise meat prices, meet the government's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and pay for research into methane gas emissions from agricultural animals. The nation's postal service complained that the campaign was a threat to the physical and mental health of postal workers.
Under the Kyoto Protocal, New Zealand is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. "According to government figures, New Zealand's 45 million sheep and cattle burped and farted about 90 percent of the country's methane emissions," reports London's Telegraph.
Next year, Sweden is launching a green labeling program for food, so consumers can readily see that a turkey is allegedly better than a pig for keeping the ocean levels down, and that carrots are even better. "Producing a pound of beef creates 11 times as much greenhouse gas emissions as a pound of chicken and 100 times more than a pound of carrots, according to Lantmannen," a Swedish environmental group, reports the Times.
The perfectly correct Christmas dinner? A carrot soufflé, minus the eggs, and a "sin tax" on any fuel-burning side dishes that travelled more than 100 miles.
Or maybe a big stuffed kangaroo on the Christmas table would please the warming zealots. "It's been long known that kangaroos don't produce methane," explained George Wilson of the Australian Wildlife Service recently in The New York Times. If Australia's current kangaroo population of 35 million was managed up to 175 million, and if 42 million sheep and cattle could simultaneously be removed, Wilson calculates that the country could cut 16 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions, 3 percent of nation's total.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Ralph R. Reiland