Big Bets On Red Meat – A Methane Nose in SpaceFebruary 4, 2018
Big Beef Eaters & Greenhouse GasesApril 1, 2018
Taxing Cows to Lower Greenhouse Gases
Recently, the Danish Environmental Economics Council (Council) suggested that the most cost-effective way to reduce (greenhouse gases) is (taxing cows). The Council noted that cows represent at least 1/3rd of Denmark’s industrial (greenhouse gases), and it claimed that the cheapest way to achieve a large reduction in greenhouse gas emission is to impose a per- head user tax on cows.
The EU greenhouse-gas quota system requires Denmark to reduce these emissions 39% by 2030. To accomplish this, (taxing cows) seem to be the best target, even ahead of cars.
User taxes are those taxes paid by the person(s) who use certain items. Drivers, for example, pay a gasoline user-tax when they fill up their cars and trucks. User taxes are “use based”: the more you buy the more tax you pay. It’s very difficult for individuals to avoiding a user tax since these taxes are built into the product.
The ultimate goal of (taxing cows) would be to encourage a reduction in the number of cows and to make cow-owners pay the true cost of the greenhouse gas pollution
caused by cows.
Ultimately, any tax on cows would be passed on to those who eat beef and dairy products.
While the issue of (taxing cows) and whether this might be a good approach for countries to follow is a complex one, there are a number of key issues highlighted by the Council’s findings and recommendation.
First, without question, cows are responsible for a significant fraction of (greenhouse gases). We can debate the exact percentages, but they are significant and undeniable.
Second, controlling the number of cows by one means or another – such as (taxing cows) - is a useful objective.
Third, there are many ways to tackle the problem and cost of (greenhouse gases).
As we’re not tax experts, and we’re certainly a long way from Denmark, we recognize that a cow tax in the US is probably a long way off, if it is ever possible. Still, we believe that the Denmark Council has hit upon a valuable approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; that is, to put some of the cost of these emissions squarely where it belongs: on the people who eat beef and consume dairy products.
You can take pro-active steps by reducing your red meat intake. Please consider taking the Red Meat Pledge
– and help reduce greenhouse gases!