Talk about emissions control.  A new study from the BeanoInstitute finds that…er, well, I’ll let them say it:

Methane emissions from human enteric fermentation are a significant and under-appreciated source of climate-warming gases.  And growth in both population and in total calorie consumption is making the problem worse…We estimate that America’s burrito consumption alone creates as much global warming emissions each year as 1.2 million cars and trucks. 

Burrito sign-flickr-josephrobertsonMakes sense to me:  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that methane is a particularly potent heat-trapping gas, roughly 25 times more powerful as plain old CO2.  So while we’ve had all sorts of good things to say about the Northwest’s burgeoning food cart culture, should we be warning people to avoid bean-heavy cuisine?

Maybe.  The study was paid for by Beano itself, and I’m sure that cynics will argue that you can’t trust anything that’s funded by Big Flatulence-Control.  Indeed, the National Bean Council says that it smells foul play—they think that the study’s authors cooked the numbers.

Needless to say, I’m in absolutely no position to referee this debate.  But if you’re really concerned about climate change, or maybe just about what your office-mates think of you, this is certainly food for thought.

Burrito picture courtesy of flickr user josephrobertson, under a Creative Commons license.