Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Local, a Danish Newspaper, reports that the Danish Council on Ethics, a government funded think tank, has recommended that red meat be taxed to try to combat global warming.
Could Danes face a ‘red meat tax’ to help climate?
Saying that “climate change is an ethical problem”, the Danish Council on Ethics (Det Etiske Råd) has called for a climate tax on red meat.
The council said that Danes have an ethical obligation to minimize their climate impact and that a natural place to start would be lowering their red meat consumption.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, more than the the total exhaust from all forms of transport worldwide.
Cattle alone is responsible for ten percent of all emissions and conservative estimates state that at least 43,000 litres of fresh water are needed to produce just one kilo of beef.
The Council on Ethics said that in order to live up to global environmental standards, Denmark should use a ‘climate tax’ to bring down the nation’s meat consumption. The Council said it debated the issue for six months, focusing on whether it should be left up to consumers to make more climate-friendly choices or if government should push them in the right direction by taxing the food products that have the greatest negative impact.
The Danish Government is less than enthusiastic about the proposal.
A spokesman for governing party Venstre said the government is very unlikely to act on the council’s suggestion, calling it “a bureaucratic monster” that would have limited effect.
“Maybe it would get beef consumption to fall in Denmark, but it wouldn’t do much of anything for the world’s CO2 emissions,” Thomas Danielsen told broadcaster DR.
Read more: Same as above
Perhaps the Danish Council on Ethics should go on tour, try to sell their message of helping the environment with more taxes to impoverished working class regions suffering carbon policy inflated energy costs. After all, the Danish People already pay some of the highest tax rates in the world, so they surely won’t mind paying a little more.