Could meat lovers be facing a 40pc tax to pay for climate change?
Taxing greenhouse gas emissions from food production could save more emissions than are currently generated by global aviation, and lead to half a million fewer deaths from chronic diseases according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change.
Much of the emissions reduction would stem from higher prices and lower consumption of animal products, as their emissions are particularly high.
The researchers found that beef would have to be 40pc more expensive globally to pay for the climate damage caused by its production.
The price of milk and other meats would need to increase by up to 20pc, and the price of vegetable oils would also increase significantly.
The researchers estimate that such price increases would result in around 10pc lower consumption of food items that are high in emissions.
“If you’d have to pay 40pc more for your steak, you might choose to have it once a week instead of twice,” said Dr Springmann.
Future of Food
The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford and the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, is the first global analysis to estimate the impacts that levying emissions prices on food could have on greenhouse gas emissions and human health.
The findings show that about one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided in the year 2020 if emissions pricing of foods were to be implemented, more than the total current emissions from global aviation.