Essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; In the face of last month’s UN warning that 49 million people in 43 countries face severe risk of starvation, the New Zealand Government has chosen now to introduce a new climate change food tax.
Climate change: New Zealand’s plan to tax cow and sheep burps
By Peter Hoskins
New Zealand has unveiled a plan to tax sheep and cattle burps in a bid to tackle one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases.
It would make it the first nation to charge farmers for the methane emissions from the animals they keep.
New Zealand is home to just over five million people, along with around 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep.
Almost half the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane.
However, agricultural emissions have previously not been included in New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme, which has been criticised by those calling for the government to do more to stop global warming.
“There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,” New Zealand’s climate change minister James Shaw said.
Under the proposal farmers will have to pay for their gas emissions from 2025.
…Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61741352
You might think that a tax on New Zealand lamb is a rich person’s problem, starving Africans or Afghans can’t afford New Zealand lamb. But that is not strictly the case – New Zealand exports significant quantities of unfashionable cuts of meat like mutton flaps to poor countries.
This trade is controversial – high fat New Zealand mutton flaps have been blamed for a rise of obesity and diabetes in Pacific Islanders. But worrying about long term excess fat intake, or climate change, is very much tomorrow’s problem, in a world where people face a real risk of running out of food today.
Why would New Zealand’s Prime Minister Ardern wilfully ignore a genuine global hunger crisis, and choose now to impose what is effectively a food tax?
We don’t have to look far back in history for comparable episodes of political blindness and indifference.
Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-49 was primarily caused by potato blight reaching Europe, but it was also caused by neglect, by British landlords and politicians imposing impossible burdens on their Irish tenant farmers, by politicians ignoring the problems their unreasonable demands were causing.
When I first learned of the Great Irish Potato Famine, I read some of the horrible stories – of a priest who wrote about finding a little girl of his parish wandering the streets by herself. When he asked what she was doing, she complained her dad had gone all quiet and cold, and had stopped speaking. Her mum had died a few years ago, but her dad had struggled on, until he had starved himself to death, giving his last scraps of food to his child in an effort to save his little girl. I don’t know if the little girl survived, but with so many adults dying, it is likely she did not.
It didn’t have to be this way. In the mid 1800s the British Empire controlled half the world, they were near the historic pinnacle of their economic and military power. Likely all the politicians in charge of the Empire needed to do to alleviate the suffering in Ireland was reduce or defer the taxes and tithes they imposed on Irish farmers. But the British of the time chose selfishness over compassion.
I wondered when I read this how the authorities of the time could possibly have been so blind to all the misery and death, how they could have been so careless and unfeeling as to let a million people suffer and die, when a trivial effort on their part could have mitigated the situation.
I guess now we have our answer.