Denmark is taxing farmers $100 a cow for greenhouse gas emissions

Denmark is set to turn into the initially region to maintain bovines accountable for their carbon footprint. 

Following an settlement before this week by the Scandinavian nation’s coalition governing administration, lawmakers announced a system to tax farmers about $43 (300 kroner) per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted by cows, pigs, and sheep, which account for a big part of global methane emissions. The tax, which is portion of a broader climate arrangement to cut down emissions and preserve habitats, will go into effect in 2030. 

“With today’s arrangement, we are investing billions in the largest transformation of the Danish landscape in modern moments,” Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen reported in a statement Tuesday, according to CNN. “At the same time, we will be the initial region in the planet with a [carbon] tax on agriculture.”

Agriculture is a big offender in the world wide local climate disaster. In 2015, livestock farming by itself contributed around 12% of guy-built greenhouse gas emissions, in accordance to the UN’s Foodstuff and Agriculture Group. 

And in Denmark, a major exporter of dairy and pork, that issue is even much more pronounced. A quarter of the Scandinavian nation’s greenhouse gas emissions appear from agriculture, extra than any other sector, according to a 2022 report from the European Commission.

Because of a 60% tax break that was a section of the arrangement, the real price tag for each ton of CO2 equal for farmers will be just 120 kroner ($17) for the to start with 5 decades of the policy. The common dairy cow in Denmark produces 5.6 tons of CO2 equal for each yr, in accordance to Danish consider tank Concito. That will equate to an once-a-year tax of 672 kroner per cow—or around $96. In 2035, the rate will go up to 300 kroner for every CO2 ton ($42).

The levy is envisioned to be approved by the Danish parliament later this calendar year, and although it would be the to start with time this sort of a plan has been applied, it is not the to start with time a place has tried. In truth, the “burp tax” is coming to Europe right soon after it died on the vine in Oceania. 

Agriculture tax in New Zealand

Grassy New Zealand was really the to start with country to propose a burp tax, again in 2022. The island nation is dominated by livestock—both in terms of economics and inhabitants. In 2023, dairy accounted for 28% of its exports, in accordance to the Worldwide Trade Administration, and cows and sheep outnumber people 7 to one particular. 

If it experienced stuck all-around, the coverage would have started off taxing New Zealand farmers upcoming calendar year, but the approach sparked outrage in the agricultural business. In 2022, Andrew Hoggard, head of New Zealand’s agriculture lobbying group, said it would “rip the guts out of tiny-town New Zealand.”

Before this month, the country’s new middle-right govt explained it was scrapping the program and checking out other approaches to lower methane emissions.

Pushback from European farmers

In Europe, agriculture groups have responded to Denmark’s announcement with blended inner thoughts. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Peter Kiær, chairman of the Danish farmers’ team Bæredygtigt Landbrug, called the system bureaucratic and needless. 

“We identify that there is a weather issue, and Danish agriculture will assist solve it,” Kiær mentioned. “But we do not think that this settlement will remedy the issues, simply because it will put a stick in the wheel of agriculture’s inexperienced investments.”

Kristian Hundeboll, the CEO of DLG Team, a Danish-owned cooperative that is one of the largest farm supply firms in Europe, instructed CNN that for Danish farmers to continue to be competitive, the plan would have to coincide with European Union legislation.

“Neither the weather, agriculture, nor the ancillary industries profit from Denmark performing unilaterally,” he mentioned.

Enacting any form of very similar plan across the bloc may possibly be difficult to attain. The local weather foyer in Europe is on the back foot after sweeping legislation to restore damaged habitats was shelved in March next a wave of farmer protests that embroiled the continent. Previously this thirty day period, elections for the European Parliament—the legislative human body of the European Union—resulted in significant gains for the political ideal.

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