• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Meat & Diary Consumption Tax - political suicide? Climate and Global health impacts

Status
Not open for further replies.

Boney

Banned
http://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3155.epdf
The projected rise in food related greenhouse gas emissions could seriously impede efforts to limit global warming to acceptable levels. Despite that, food production and consumption have long been excluded from climate policies. In part due to concerns about the potential impact on food security. Using a coupled agriculture and health modeling framework, we show that the global climate change mitigation potential of emissions pricing of food commodities could be substantial, and that levying greenhouse gas taxes on food commodities could, if appropriately designed, be a health-promoting climate policy in high income countries, as well as most low and middle income countries. Sparing food groups known to be beneficial from taxation, selectively compensating for income loses associated with tax-related price increases, and using a portion of tax revenues for health promotion are potential policy options that could avert most of the negative health impacts experienced by vulnerable groups, whilst still promoting changes towards diets which are more enviromentally sustainable.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/20...dairy-would-sink-emissions-and-diseases-study
Taxing the meat and dairy industries for their impact on climate would lead to lower emissions and save about half a million lives per year, according to the first global study of the issue, published Tuesday.

A 40 percent fee on beef and a 20 percent fee on dairy would counter the industries' impact on climate change, as livestock release significant greenhouse gases while exacerbating deforestation, and would encourage people to consume less of each—which in turn would improve global health, according to the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food, part of the University of Oxford.

The study (pdf), published in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds that raising the price of beef by 40 percent would lead to a 13 percent decrease in consumption.

It is also the latest evidence that keeping global emissions below 2°C and preventing widespread irreversible damage cannot happen without global food system reform. Other recent studies have found that not only is Big Agriculture incapable of "feeding the world" as biochemical giants like Monsanto have promised, but that the focus must actually be on empowering local, small-scale farmers.

The United Nations warned last month that millions more people are at risk of being pushed into poverty and starvation by 2030 without radical system change.

"The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most of which are related to livestock," the study states. "[R]educing the GHG emissions related to food production will have to become a critical component of policies aimed at mitigating climate change."

Lead researcher Marco Springmann told the Guardian on Tuesday, "It is clear that if we don't do something about the emissions from our food system, we have no chance of limiting climate change below 2°C."

"f you'd have to pay 40 percent more for your steak, you might choose to have it once a week instead of twice," he said.

The study also recommended a 15 percent tax on lamb, 8.5 percent on chicken, 7 percent on pork, and 5 percent on eggs.

And a widespread drop in consumption would save about half a million people a year from deaths related to malnutrition, such as those from heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. He pointed to the recently enacted soda tax in Mexico, which raised soft drink prices by 10 percent in 2014, leading to a 12 percent drop in consumption by the end of that year; the Los Angeles Times noted last week that the tax is poised to "prevent 189,300 new cases of Type 2 diabetes, 20,400 strokes and heart attacks, and 18,900 deaths among adults 35 to 94 years old."

The researchers assessed what kind of charges would need to be levied to make up for the climate impacts of meat and dairy, which have a heavy carbon footprint due to deforestation, methane emissions, and land and water use associated with feeding and keeping cattle. Exempting healthy food groups and using a system that researchers say would not burden low-income consumers with heavy taxes, while targeting a portion of the revenues for health promotion, would ultimately reduce climate emissions by 1 billion tons a year, the study found.

Springmann acknowledged that a meat tax might be a hard pill to swallow for consumers who get defensive over their food choices. But understanding the mission would help endear the public to the idea, he said.

"If people see any food price rise, they get angry, so you have to explain why you are doing it," he told the Guardian. "Either we have climate change and more heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, or we do something about the food system."


https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/changing-climate-changing-diets
Meat production produces 15% of all greenhouse gases – more than all cars, trains, planes and ships combined – and halting global warming appears near impossible unless the world’s fast growing appetite for meat is addressed.

The new analysis says this could be done through taxes, increasing vegetarian food in schools, hospitals and the armed forces and cutting subsidies to livestock farmers, all supported by public information campaigns.

The research, from the international affairs thinktank Chatham House and Glasgow University, involved surveys and focus groups in 12 countries and found that even measures restricting peoples’ behaviour could be accepted if seen as in the public interest, as was seen with smoking bans.

“Governments are ignoring what should be a hugely appealing, win-win policy,” said lead author Laura Wellesley, at Chatham House.

“The idea that interventions like this are too politically sensitive and too difficult to implement is unjustified. Our focus groups show people expect governments to lead action on issues that are for the global good. Our research indicates any backlash to unpopular policies would likely be short-lived as long as the rationale for action was strong.”

Increasing appetite for meat and population growth in developing countries mean global meat consumption is on track to increase 75% by 2050, which would make it virtually impossible to keep global warming below the internationally-agreed limit of 2C.

Meat consumption is already well above healthy levels in developed nations and growing fast in other countries, and is linked to rising rates of heart disease and cancer. To get to healthy levels, US citizens would need to cut the meat they eat by two-thirds, those in the UK by a half and those in China by a third.

If the world’s population cuts to healthy levels of meat consumption – about 70g per day – it would reduce carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to annual output of the US, the world’s second biggest polluter.

The UN climate change summit begins in Paris on 30 November, where the world’s nations aim to seal a deal to tackle climate change.

Most countries have already submitted pledges to cut their emissions, but they are not enough to keep warming below dangerous levels. Cutting meat eating to healthy levels would make up a quarter of that shortfall and is very low cost way of curbing emissions, according to the report, but action to achieve this is non-existent.

Previous calls to cut meat consumption, from the chief of the UN’s climate science panel and the economist Lord Stern, or to tax it, have been both rare and controversial.

“We are not in any way advocating for global vegetarianism,” said Wellesley. “We can see massive changes [to emissions] from just converging around healthy levels of meat eating.” She said raising awareness of the impact on the climate from meat production was the first step, but was unlikely to shift diets by itself.

I've been significantly cutting back on meat and diaries from my diet since last year. It's probably the biggest individual contribution one can make for the environment, in terms of greenhouse-gas and agricultural land required to mantain livestock. Nutritional alternatives are easily accessible both economically and locally, making it much easier to stick to it. But as the studies show, there needs to be a major shift in food production process to curb out global climate change and poverty led malnourishment.

So the question around policy making and decision making needs to be aggressively brought onto the table. Common sense would indicate that it would be met with universal animosity, however, historical evidence around sugar taxes and solidly constructed focus groups would indicate that - with the right messaging - it could be a viable policy with many significative positive impacts. Would meat eating GAF be on board with such measures? How do we get there?
 

Anoregon

The flight plan I just filed with the agency list me, my men, Dr. Pavel here. But only one of you!
I could do without beef as long as turkey, chicken and pork are still in play.

I'd miss steaks, though.
 
It would basically price most meats out of many households, but after reading a line like this

Meat production produces 15% of all greenhouse gases – more than all cars, trains, planes and ships combined

its hard to say no to such a measure.
 

Hydrus

Member
I have family and friends who are in both industries, and they are getting destroyed because of the insane regulations, low milk prices and insane feed/ hay prices. Generations of family farms are gone because of all those things. Adding insane taxes like that would basically wipe out the farming industry here in the US. Not to mention put a ton of people out of work, especially Latinos. But I guess that's what they want since more and more dairy and beef is being imported from China. So yea, fuck that tax. Nothing to do about saving lives. Just more money in the pockets of the people at the top.
 

Pancake Mix

Copied someone else's pancake recipe
He even recommended a tax on chicken and eggs and uses a tax on pop as justification. Embarrassing and this won't gain traction. Farmers are already struggling to boot.

No way, no how, never.

Pop can be heavily taxed because it's sugary junk food, not vital nutrition.
 

Nivash

Member
I could do without beef as long as turkey, chicken and pork are still in play.

I'd miss steaks, though.

Those are actually pretty fine. Chicken in particular has a co2 footprint that's as low as many vegetarian options.



You should minimise the pork for health reasons, though. All red meat is fairly carcinogenic. Bacon and sausages in particular, I'm afraid.
 

RobotHaus

Unconfirmed Member
I'm for a taxation like this. Dairy and meats are delicious, but they're also terrible for us in the amount we consume.

As for the farmers, what's preventing them from converting to vegetables and fruits? They take up less land and resources, encourage healthier living and produce less greenhouse emissions.

I feel like this is similar to the coal industry, they have alternatives and can easily learn how to change, but is just so much easier for them to stay the same.
 

Hydrus

Member
I'm for a taxation like this. Dairy and meats are delicious, but they're also terrible for us in the amount we consume.

As for the farmers, what's preventing them from converting to vegetables and fruits? They take up less land and resources, encourage healthier living and produce less greenhouse emissions.

I feel like this is similar to the coal industry, they have alternatives and can easily learn how to change, but is just so much easier for them to stay the same.

Fruits and vegetables take up even more land and water then say a dairy farm. Where are you going to get your milk and meat? You maybe able to live off fruits and vegetables but most of the world can't.
 

Pancake Mix

Copied someone else's pancake recipe
The stupidiest part about this is that children in poor families would greatly be affected by the dairy tax. You could expect a comeback of rickets and generally weaker bones.
 
D

Deleted member 17706

Unconfirmed Member
Fruits and vegetables take up even more land and water then say a dairy farm. Where are you going to get your milk and meat? You maybe able to live off fruits and vegetables but most of the world can't.

The problem is that the industry thrives off government-subsidized corn and grains being used as cheap feed for animals. It's horribly wasteful, but it allows them to mass produce live stock in terrible conditions.

I try to buy locally and grass-fed as much as possible.
 

AndyD

aka andydumi
Meat and dairy is high-quality food and a vital source of nutrients. You shouldn't tax that.

It is, but you can look at inefficiencies of various types of meat and dairy and optimize taxes and subsidies.

If hypothetically beef is 10 times worse than chicken with the same nutritional benefits, tax beef to encourage chicken consumption. And so on.

And as others said above you have to look at the whole chain, including feed.
 
Nope this is good. Make people eat more plant based and would keep the soil from being raped from making all those grain and corn for animal feed
 

MadSexual

Member
While I do care about the ethical aspects to a degree, this is the single biggest reason I'm trying to become a vegetarian. It's not really that hard so far.
 

Boney

Banned
Just realized I mistitled the thread. While the study also proposes tax for meat other than beef, they are significantly reduced compared the 40% for beef, ranging in a 10% - 5%. Could a mod edit it with beef instead of meat?

It also stresses the need to have financial aide around income loss due to the tax hike, since as it's being pointed out, it could swiftly decimate local dairy farms. The need to move away from it but at the same time sensibly regulating the transition is incredibly complex, but at the very least, it's a conversation that needs to be happening.
 

Xe4

Banned
I'm fine with agriculture being excluded. Any tax would hurt the poor, and it contributes far less than power generation or transportation.

What is needed is a solid heath campaign to get more people eating healthy and eating less meat. Also, subsidies to copanies the more helathy thir food is would help. CO2 emissions in meat production are likely to go down in the future as well, when artificial meat becomes a thing and people like me inevitably switch over.

Also, this:
I've been significantly cutting back on meat and diaries from my diet since last year. It's probably the biggest individual contribution one can make for the environment, in terms of greenhouse-gas and agricultural land required to mantain livestock.

Is not true. Though it may cost more, switching to solar and buying a hybrid would do far more to limit emissions. Though eating less meat is good too.
 

Hydrus

Member
The problem is that the industry thrives off government-subsidized corn and grains being used as cheap feed for animals. It's horribly wasteful, but it allows them to mass produce live stock in terrible conditions.

I try to buy locally and grass-fed as much as possible.

No they don't. One of the biggest reasons farms are going out of business is because of the high feed prices. Corn and grain is not even remotely close to cheap for farmers.
 

ShinZed

Member
I hardly ever eat steak now since it's so expensive in the UK compared to other meat. Wonder what a 40% tax would do to McD's and friends.
 

Stanng243

Member
I'm not an activisit, but if they try and pass this tax, I'll become one. This is absolutely insane. Their should be no taxes on meat and milk. They taste too good.
 
D

Deleted member 17706

Unconfirmed Member
Isn't grass-fed beef usually imported from Australia?

How does that reduce climate change impact?

I'm sure it depends on where you live, but I've never seen grass-fed beef here in Seattle. I try to buy from local farms, of which there are many.

Hard to say exactly in terms of environmental impact. One the one hand, they don't need to consume thousands of pounds of grain that have to be grown and transported, but on the other hand, a grazing cow will have a longer life since it isn't being fattened up in a few months for quick slaughter.

No they don't. One of the biggest reasons farms are going out of business is because of the high feed prices. Corn and grain is not even remotely close to cheap for farmers.

It's massively subsidized. It may not be *cheap enough* for the farmers who require thousands of pounds of it per livestock animal and want to produce more meat, but it's still artificially cheaper than it would be without the subsidies.
 

Somnid

Member
Cut the corn subsidies and let it work itself out. Right now, even if the price goes up, cheaper meat is still going to be loaded with grain feed, and still going to be low quality. The people who can't afford meat are going to get pushed into more cheap grain and sugar foods and worsen the health problem. You cannot solve food issues without solving the monoculture problem, you're only going to trade one problem for another.
 
I'm not an activisit, but if they try and pass this tax, I'll become one. This is absolutely insane. Their should be no taxes on meat and milk. They taste too good.

Not a valid reason to oppose this. It's not a necessity for you. It doesn't hurt the poor since most quality meat is quite pricy anyways. Unless you're talking about that Hamburger from McDonalds
 

Steejee

Member
Fruits and vegetables take up even more land and water then say a dairy farm. Where are you going to get your milk and meat? You maybe able to live off fruits and vegetables but most of the world can't.

Um, what? No, fruit and vegetable farming does not consume more water or land than meat or dairy farming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/opinion/meat-makes-the-planet-thirsty.html
http://www.gracelinks.org/1361/the-water-footprint-of-food
http://graphics.latimes.com/food-water-footprint/

Only a few plants come close to meat/dairy for water requirements, eg Almonds. Unless you're talking purely wild grass raised cattle, you use up a lot of plant matter to raise a cow.

For my part the wife is vegetarian, and I've ditched beef, dairy milk, bison, and lamb for both health and environmental reasons. I eat pork only rarely. I'll have chicken, turkey, or fish a few times per month, as those are much lighter on water resources and don't stuff like the methane side effects of beef. Still eat my cheese though...haven't found any good fake ones and mostly buy New England cheese.
 
D

Deleted member 17706

Unconfirmed Member
Not a valid reason to oppose this. It's not a necessity for you. It doesn't hurt the poor since most quality meat is quite pricy anyways. Unless you're talking about that Hamburger from McDonalds

Even "lower quality" meat is extremely nutritious.
 
Taxing food more for being bad for you or the environment is political suicide and will never happen.

There should be some sugar taxes too, but they will never happen.
 
These articles are from 2015 and 2016? I'm also... not sure about this claim. The articles even contradict themselves on this. (Graph is from the EPA)
Meat production produces 15% of all greenhouse gases – more than all cars, trains, planes and ships combined – and halting global warming appears near impossible unless the world’s fast growing appetite for meat is addressed.
The livestock sector accounts for 15 per cent of global emissions, equivalent to exhaust emissions from all the vehicles in the world.


Interesting that farming internationally would be so much more wasteful than the US. Synthetic beef will hopefully pick up the slack, eventually... If you can convince people to eat it. The next time someone starts to talk about "cow farts" as a source for global warming, do mention that there is plenty of pollution from agriculture already without needing to make jokes of it.
 

SomTervo

Member
Veganism the fastest way forward, once again.

Meat and dairy is high-quality food and a vital source of nutrients. You shouldn't tax that.

And completely optional one with countless alternatives - unless you have a health condition (e.g. anemia) that demands meat or dairy in very specifically large quantities.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Even "lower quality" meat is extremely nutritious.

Like processed meat? Lol, no it's not. Almost everything good is gone from it (e.g. almost no protein left) and it's boosted with salt and mono/poly fats.

Fruits and vegetables take up even more land and water then say a dairy farm. Where are you going to get your milk and meat? You maybe able to live off fruits and vegetables but most of the world can't.

That's absurd. They take up literally a fraction.

Animals on a dairy farm need litres of water a day to keep functioning, and that's not even counting the fact that per animal you're already spending hundreds of litres of water to irrigate and grow their feed.

In hamfisted un-nuanced terms:

- vegetables: use some water to grow veg
- animals: use some water to grow veg THEN feed that veg to a creature which needs substantially more water to survive
 

Stanng243

Member
Not a valid reason to oppose this. It's not a necessity for you. It doesn't hurt the poor since most quality meat is quite pricy anyways. Unless you're talking about that Hamburger from McDonalds

Maybe not to you, but to me, this tax is insane and should be fought.
 

Moose Biscuits

It would be extreamly painful...
Not a valid reason to oppose this. It's not a necessity for you. It doesn't hurt the poor since most quality meat is quite pricy anyways. Unless you're talking about that Hamburger from McDonalds
Your mistake is assuming we need a valid reason to oppose this.

I like meat and dairy. I don't want them to be more expensive. I don't like this idea. I will oppose it were someone over here foolish enough to attempt to propose it.

That's all the validity I need.
 

Steejee

Member
These articles are from 2015 and 2016? I'm also... not sure about this claim. The articles even contradict themselves on this. (Graph is from the EPA)




Interesting that farming internationally would be so much more wasteful than the US. Synthetic beef will hopefully pick up the slack, eventually... If you can convince people to eat it. The next time someone starts to talk about "cow farts" as a source for global warming, do mention that there is plenty of pollution from agriculture already without needing to make jokes of it.

Not really a contradiction there - US vs Worldwide. Remember a lot of Amazon rainforest has been burned for livestock (and soy). For something like Cattle you need a lot of water, and a lot of feed. A lot of resources goes into that feed.

As for a tax - a carbon tax has long been pitched, as it would be the most fair to the most industries and would provide a consistent, predictable cost. Taxing individual things leads to playing favorites.
 

Vestal

Gold Member
What ?! No... The price of food is already absolutely insane. You do this it will drive up the cost on turkey and chicken as well, putting even more strain on the middle class and poor.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom