Restau­rant ad­dresses cli­mate change

Antelope Valley Press - - BUSINESS - By MICHELLE CHAP­MAN AP Busi­ness Writer

bat cli­mate change. The grav­i­ta­tional pull of cli­mate change is in­creas­ingly find­ing its way onto na­tional po­lit­i­cal stage.

Po­ten­tial cus­tomers are also cut­ting down on the amount of meat they con­sume, cit­ing both en­vi­ron­men­tal and di­etary con­cerns. Burger King and ri­val McDon­ald’s have added meat al­ter­na­tives to their menus.

Two years ago McDon­ald’s said it was tak­ing steps to cut the green­house gases it emits. It tweaked the man­ner in which the beef in its Big Macs and Quar­ter Pounders was pro­duced. The com­pany said at the time that it ex­pected the changes to pre­vent 165 mil­lion tons of green­house gas emis­sions from be­ing re­leased into the at­mos­phere by 2030.

Burger King worked with sci­en­tists at the Au­tonomous Univer­sity at the State of Mex­ico and at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis to test and de­velop its for­mula of adding 100 grams of lemon­grass leaves to the cows’ daily di­ets. Pre­lim­i­nary tests in­di­cate that the lemon­grass leaves help the cows re­lease less meth­ane as they di­gest their food.

On Tues­day, Burger King in­tro­duced its Re­duced Meth­ane Emis­sions Beef Whop­per, made with beef sourced from cows that emit re­duced meth­ane, in se­lect restaurant­s in Mi­ami, New York, Austin, Port­land and Los An­ge­les, while sup­plies last.

Burger King is stag­ing an in­ter­ven­tion with its cows.

The chain has re­bal­anced the diet of some of the cows by adding lemon grass in a bid to limit bovine con­tri­bu­tions to cli­mate change. By tweak­ing their diet, Burger King said Tues­day that it be­lieves it can re­duce a cow’s daily meth­ane emis­sions by about 33%.

Cows emit meth­ane as a by-prod­uct of their di­ges­tion, and that has be­come a po­ten­tial pub­lic re­la­tions hur­dle for ma­jor burger chains.

Green­house gas emis­sions from the agri­cul­ture sec­tor made up 9.9% of to­tal US green­house gas emis­sions in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. Of that amount, meth­ane emis­sions from live­stock (called en­teric fer­men­ta­tion) com­prised more than a quar­ter of the emis­sions from the agri­cul­ture sec­tor.

With an over-the-top so­cial me­dia cam­paign that teeters be­tween vul­gar­ity and sci­ence (sprin­kled with more vul­gar­ity), Burger King is banking on the height­ened aware­ness of cli­mate change and its re­spon­si­bil­ity to limit its own role.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll by The As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search, about two out of three Amer­i­cans say cor­po­ra­tions have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to com

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