The Washington Post labels meat as horrible after the crisis of increased global warming becomes more and more imminent. In fact, factory farming is responsible for one-third of emissions by now. If no changes are being made, scientists predict that in 2050 agriculture is going to account for a temperature rise by 2 degrees Celsius which would wreak havoc on the environment. Against this background, food becomes more and more a political issue. That’s why members of the United Stations recommend to levy taxes on meat producers and sellers in order to reduce the demand for it. Read on to learn more about it!
“It may be delicious, but the evidence is accumulating that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment — and not so great for human beings, too.
By 2050, scientists forecast that emissions from agriculture alone will account for how much carbon dioxide the world can use to avoid catastrophic global warming. It already accounts for one-third of emissions today — and half of that comes from livestock.
That’s a driving reason why members of a United Nations panel last month urged its environmental assembly to consider recommending a tax on meat producers and sellers. By raising the cost of buying meat, it would ultimately aim to reduce production and demand for it.
This graph shows agriculture alone would eat up the world’s carbon dioxide budget in 2050, unless we make changes.
Maarten Hajer, professor at the Netherlands’s Utrecht University, led the environment and food report that recommended the meat tax.
“All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products,” said Hajer, who is a member of U.N.’s International Resource Panel, which comprises 34 top scientists and 30 governments. “I think it is extremely urgent.”
But, he added, “Food is very political.”
In countries where meat is a cultural mainstay and income inequality already breeds a lack of food access, it could be a difficult argument. Taxing sugary drinks this month in Philadelphia caused an uproar among lobbyists, some groups representing the poor and even Bernie Sanders, who argued that the tax was regressive. The response to limiting meat, which is certainly more beneficial to a diet than soda pop, could be mutinous.
But, governments must soon move to limit major carbon producers, Hajer said. Food companies will naturally be part of that.
The idea of a meat tax has developed over the past 25 years as a “completely obvious” measure to economists and environmentalists, Hajer said, as knowledge of the environmental toll of meat emerged.
Agriculture consumes 80 percent of water in the United States. These two charts show that meat is particularly thirsty. For a kilogram of red meat, you need considerably more water than for plant products.
Governments are starting to take notice. China, which consumes half of the world’s pork and more than a quarter of its overall meat, announced new dietary guidelines last week that advises the average citizen to reduce their meat consumption by one-half. That country’s meat consumption has increased by nearly five-fold since 1982, even though their population has only increased by 30 percent during that time.
Denmark went a little further in May. The Danish government is considering a recommendation from its ethics council that all red meats should be taxed. Red meat accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and the council argued that Danes were “ethically obliged” to reduce their consumption.
“For a response to climate-damaging food to be effective, while also contributing to raise awareness of the challenge of climate change, it must be shared,” council spokesman Mickey Gjerris said last month.
This graph shows that phasing out meat and simply eating less would knock down agricultural carbon dioxide emissions considerably — particularly in developed, meat-loving countries.”
Read the full article at washingtonpost.com!