Santa told to sack his gas-emitting team of reindeer

REINDEER-drawn sleds have been slammed as environmentally unfriendly, because the carrot-munching animals produce the greenhouse gas methane in their wind.

Now Santa has been urged to ditch his sleigh team and start travelling on public transport to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

It has been calculated that Santa's team of nine reindeer would emit methane with a global warming impact equivalent to more than 40,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases on the 122 million mile Christmas Eve dash to deliver presents around the world.

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That would make his marathon sleigh ride almost as environmentally damaging as an aircraft, which would produce approximately 41,500 tonnes of on the Christmas Eve trip.

But Santa, making a personal appearance at the Glasgow branch of John Lewis, in the Buchanan Galleries, hit back at the untimely attack on his traditional Christmas means of transport.

He said: "I am very conscious about the environment and conserve energy wherever possible.

"However, it would be very difficult for me to get round all the children in the world on Christmas Eve on a bus due to the fact that, as far as I am aware, there isn't a route that goes past every house in the world."

The methane calculations were made by Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Tom Brake.

He said the best Christmas present for the environment would be if Santa took the bus, which would keep his total emissions output down to just 10,980 tonnes of - although he admitted the annual trip might take a bit longer than usual.

Mr Brake said: "Boys and girls up and down the country will be eagerly waiting for Father Christmas to arrive with their presents on Christmas morning. What they may not realise however is that Santa would be better off taking public transport."

But he conceded: "At least he isn't taking the plane, which would be worse than the reindeer."

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He added: "We realise that it might be a bit late to change things for this year, but hope that Santa will take this research into account when he plans next year's trip."

Scientists warned earlier this year that the wind of large mammals like cows and reindeer was a major contributor to global warming.

is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, but methane has 23 times its warming potential, so reducing methane emissions is also considered important by environmentalists.

There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14 per cent of all emissions of the gas.

Known for his somewhat whimsical publicity stunts, earlier this week Mr Brake bought journalist and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson a Christmas present - a bicycle.

After delivering the bike to Clarkson's home, he said: "It is important that someone who is as prominent and influential as Jeremy Clarkson should adopt greener modes of transport, such as cycling."