Introducing new taxes isn’t the best way to make friends, but for one group of scientists, their tax proposal has a noble intention — to save the planet.
The tax that scientists are calling for is a tax on meat, which would aim to reduce global meat intake in order to curb the devastating effects that raising animals for food has on our planet.
The argument is laid out in a report featured in the journal Nature Climate Change. It explains how methane emissions from animal agriculture are one of the biggest human-related sources of greenhouse gas — and a meat tax might deter people from eating as much of it and encourage consumers to explore the variety of meat-free alternatives.
“Influencing human behavior is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives,” the scientists told The Guardian. “Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns.”
The researchers note that the discussions on greenhouse gases largely revolve around reducing carbon dioxide emissions, not methane — even though methane has 30 times the impact of carbon dioxide on global warming. Incidentally, though, reducing animal production would not only reduce methane emissions, but, according to the scientists, it would also reduce the carbon dioxide emissions released from forest clearing for farms.
To learn more about how you an help protect the planet with your fork, download our brochure Eating Sustainably, or order copies to share with friends.