Friday, 1 April 2011

Climate change policy gone mad: EU to ban pizza Carbonara

"As individual consumers, we all bear some responsibility for the future of our planet.
By taking small steps – like not drinking carbonated water and not eating pizza of the Carbonara type - we can all make a difference".

Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Change Commissioner

Brussels April 1 2011.It now seems almost certain that the renowned Italian pizza and spaghetti specialties Carbonara are soon to be banned in the European Union member countries. The APF news agency, citing EU sources, reports that the EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has been successful in her efforts to secure a majority in the European Parliament for a directive that aims to “delegitimize products which encourage a carbon intensive lifestyle”. What is new in the directive, nicknamed “the Carbonara directive”, is that the products as such do not necessarily have to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in order to be covered by the new legislation. It is considered sufficient that they “encourage” a high carbon footprint lifestyle.

According to a study, recently published by the EU Climate Action Service, even the origins and history of the Carbonara show that it is incompatabile with the values and principles of the EU climate change and environmental policy : 

"First, although thought of as a typical Roman dish, the name is said to come from a dish made in the Appenine mountains of the Abruzzo by woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. They would cook the dish over a hardwood charcoal fire and use penne rather than spaghetti because it is easier to toss with the eggs and cheese.
Second, is the obvious one that given the meaning of alla carbonara, coal worker’s style, that the dish was a dish eaten by coal workers or that the abundant use of coarsely ground black pepper resembles coal flakes."

An endangered species

The Union of Italian Food Manufacturers lobbied hard, but in the end unsuccessfully, for Carbonara to be excluded from the directive. It is widely believed that the present less than stable state of the Italian government (following the numerous scandals surrounding prime minister Silvio Berlusconi) seriously weakened their case.

One of the main arguments of the pizza&spaghetti lobby was, that it is going to be difficult to enforce the directive, due to the fact that there are thousands of pizzerias in Italy and the other member countries. However, in a recent hearing, Commissioner Hedegaard testified that the new EU Galileo satellite navigation system will make it easy to track any offenders:

“Today, we are focusing on the tools needed for the International Climate Change Policy Regime. In that respect, space is not just nice to have; it's a need to have,” Commissioner Hedegaard told attendants.

“We need science, knowledge and facts to formulate European policies. With those policies in place, we then need the tools to monitor them,” she said for members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European space industry and national governments.
The official also went on to talk about the usefulness of having the Galileo satellite navigation system up and running as soon as possible. She explained that the system has other advantages other than providing actual navigation data, too.

What is less known, is that carbonated water (club soda, soda water, sparkling water, fizzy water) and all carbonated soft drinks are also included in the list of soon to be banned products. There is only one exception:  After a personal intervention by French  president Nicolas Sarkozy, the EU Climate Action Service finally had to give in, and accept that original French Champagne is to be exempted from the directive, “due to its historically and culturally unique role in important diplomatic and other high level gatherings”. At the recent EU summit all other heads of state and prime ministers, except Berlusconi, supported the French initiative. Political analysts are already speculating that this Sarkozy victory will strengthen his popularity in the coming presidential elections.

The French Champagne Producers´ Association has, of course, been in jubilant mood after the grande victoire in Brussels. One producer even named a new vintage champagne after the French president: Champagne Pierre Mignon Cuvée Nicolas Sarkozy Champagne Brut. The association also wanted to highlight the traditional values associated with their noble sparkling product with this video: 

The Federation of European Green Parties has already welcomed the new directive as “an important step towards a sustainable, carbon free future for Europe”. Although the directive does not yet cover eating and drinking at home, "people should voluntarily abstain from consuming these products", the Green Parties Federation said in a statement. The director of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, also lauded the directive:“ Europe is again showing the way, but we desperately need a global agreement under the auspices of the United Nations”. The most serious threat against a global agreement is the US Senate, with its majority of climate change deniers, Mr. Naidoo said.

If you would like to taste the "forbidden fruit" before it disappears from the menu, here is a brief educational video:


Johnnyrvf said...

Ha Ha, nearly had me going there, good April fools story, the commision is stupid certainly, but even with Gallaleo, how can you track a glass of carbonated water?

NNoN said...

Dear Johnnyrvf,
If you read the text carefully, you will notice that the Galileo tracking only applies to pizza.
The catching of carborated water offenders is still an open question under serious consideration.