Less meat on the menu for Germany’s green top

BERLIN: The leaders meeting this weekend for a G7 summit in southern Germany would normally have every reason to expect sumptuous Bavarian specialties such as Schweinshaxe, a succulent pork knuckle dripping with fat and a host of other meat dishes.

But not this time. Sustainability is the key word this year, not just for this summit, but for all the international meetings that Germany organizes. And what is good for the environment is less so for lovers of the traditional meat-based German cuisine.

“There is less meat on the menu at all G7 meetings,” sighed a minister earlier this year. “The State Department is insisting.”

The ecologist Groenen is the second largest party in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s three-party coalition, and all the party’s ministers are eager to put an ecological stamp on their policies.

In the case of the Greens Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock’s portfolio, that extends to international summits.

Many agronomists argue that eating meat is a luxury that humanity can afford less and less – the total greenhouse gas emissions from raising and eating beef can be as much as 200 times that of nuts or root vegetables.

Berlin won’t make the leaders’ menus public until after dinner, but the trend is evident in the catering that has already been announced for the thousands of employees and journalists who will attend the Alpine meeting.

“The focus will be on seasonal and creative vegan and vegetarian dishes,” the government said of the expected output of the event’s 50 chefs. “Meat and fish are deliberately considered ‘add-ons’ only.”

The leaders from Germany, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan will no doubt have heavier things to worry about than the kitchen.

With supplies of Russian gas dwindling against the backdrop of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a Green, has been forced to grant a stay of execution for Germany’s polluting coal-fired power stations.

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