Wine or beer? Which is better for the environment?
The question comes from Norway to a MSN website:
The question was this:
” Hi Umbra,
Due to, among other things, (organic) beer, I ended up in a rather heated discussion on the environment the other day. I’m wondering if you could help clear up a couple of these more or less classic micro-level questions. Which is more environmentally friendly: lighting a cigarette with a match or a lighter? (And how bad is smoking from an environmental point of view anyway?) After hand wash: paper towel or air dryer? Paper cup of coffee or good old ceramics? Wine or beer?”
Today my interest lies mainly with the wine and beer question.
The answer given deals with mainly transportation and in what quantities it is moved in.
One of the obvious answers is not to drive and drink as it cost much energy to drive.
The author used a 2007 study called “Red, White, and Green,” http://www.drvino.com/2007/10/30/calculating-the-carbon-footprint-of-wine-my-research-findings/ . It deals with the carbon costs of production and transport of wine. The report, http://www.wine-economics.org/workingpapers/AAWE_WP09.pdf , mentions the CO2 emissions caused by the making of wine but it proposes that it is more then offset by the CO2 that the vines take remove from the air.
So they basically look at the cultivating and machinery needs and transportation of the product. In short they boil the issue down to how the product is shipped and how far. And how they store it.
Beer on the other hand boils down to storage refrigeration at stores, manufacturing the glass bottles and producing the barley and malt. And finally the transportation. For the carbon footprint left behind.
Still though the question that begs an answer to me is in the processing of wine and beer which leaves the biggest carbon footprint? And the second question, is this, what about in the actual use of the product?
Does anyone know this? Does anyone care about this but me? I would think that in the environmental equation it would be important to know this also, so that one would make wise decisions on what to drink. For providing that transportation costs, growing costs and storage costs were equal wouldn’t these two questions make a difference if it were really about the environment?
But let’s get real; it is really about feeling good about getting high that we ask these questions. Isn’t it?
Should we have a glass or wine or a glass of foamy beer? Which one at this point gives off the biggest carbon footprint.
Awaiting a good answer.
Cheers and bottoms up,