Why not do this the right way?

“Sin taxes” on meat to reduce its huge impact on climate change and human health look inevitable, according to analysts for investors managing over $4tn of assets.

The global livestock industry causes 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and meat consumption is rising around the world, but dangerous climate change cannot be avoided unless this is radically curbed. Furthermore, many people already eat far too much meat, seriously damaging their health and incurring huge costs. Livestock also drive other problems, such as water pollution and antibiotic resistance.

You know, like every damn economist keeps shouting, just tax the emissions themselves?

30 comments on “Why not do this the right way?

  1. In true Progressive style we will be taxed while the rest of the world carries on regardless and the impact of the tax, even if genuinely intended (which it isn’t) will be negligible.

  2. R4 Today had their usual ‘balance’ with two ecomentalists (one from the prog) discussing Blue Planet II. Did you know every time you use a plastic bag or bottle a dolphin dies? Unsurprisingly, no mention of the facts pointed out by Matt Ridley (paywall, but his articles usually appear on mattridley.com a day or two later) – 95 per cent of it [the plastic in the oceans] comes from just ten rivers, all in Asia and Africa. So we could ban all plastic in the UK (destroying our economy) and it would make SFA difference. But you can’t put a price on virtue signalling.

  3. Surely “some” is needed there, Tim, there must be some rational economists out there who realise that taxing CO2 is simply harmful, virtual signalling for the not so bright or part of an anti-Capitalist agenda for the evil left.

  4. Oh just fuck off. If cows don’t eat the grass, something else will eat the grass. Using much the same digestive processes a cow uses. And one of the bi-products of digesting cellulose is methane. Whatever’s doing it.
    So unless you want to concrete over half the planet,the cycle continues. Plants use sunlight to grow. Animals eat plants, breath & fart. And animals includes the bacteria that will consume the cellulose if it doesn’t pass through the gut of something with teeth. Where much the same bacteria assist the digestive processes. And cause the farts.

  5. “You know, like every damn economist keeps shouting, just tax the emissions themselves? ”

    No Tim. What the economists should be shouting is “Tax the environmentalists!” Call it a stupidity tax.

  6. Re BIS, I think the proposal is to plough all grassland and grow cereal instead. That much of the land is unsuitable for this doesn’t occur to them. That the plan would require increased use of fertilizer and pesticides similarly passes them by. That it would require the extinction of many species, not all of them domestic doesn’t register.
    And that people outside the West will ignore it is of no concern.

  7. @Pat
    Any piece of ground, capable of growing plants, will grow plants. Why you have to keep weeding your flower beds. It doesn’t matter which plant it is. Most cereal crops are stems & roots. The seed head’s a minor portion. All of that vegetable matter will be eaten by something. Eventually. And there really isn’t much difference in which particular plant’s growing. Oak trees or clover. So much kW/m2 of solar will be photosynthesised into so many kilos of vegetable matter with much the same efficiency.
    Which all gets eaten.
    Unless you spray with Agent Orange, of course.

  8. Mr in Spain, if we didn’t cultivate animals, can we say whether there would as many of them (of whatever type)?

    I’ve always assumed there would not …

  9. @Mr Lud
    I’d imagine the total mass of animals would match the total mass of vegetable matter available to consume. In whatever ratio required. Or plants would consume all the CO2 in the atmosphere & stop growing.
    What particular animals provided the mass is irrelevant. Bacteria, bison or Belgians

  10. ‘The global livestock industry causes 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and meat consumption is rising around the world, but dangerous climate change cannot be avoided unless this is radically curbed.’

    Ahh . . . it’s “the industry,” you see. It’s not the meat eaters’ fault. They wouldn’t even eat meat if it weren’t for “the industry.”

    ‘dangerous climate change cannot be avoided ‘

    Sure it can. Quit listening to Lefty press.

    ‘This’ has a mushy antecedent. And Damian Carrington is an editor!

  11. That’s what gets me about environmentalists, Mr Lud. They bleat on how Gaia must be in equilibrium. (Save the Planet!) The fail to appreciate Gaia has to be in equilibrium.

  12. That meat-eating correlates with so many natural and human-health “crises” means we are reading a Guardian “economist” who has no interest in actually measuring anything. These people should not be appeased by pondering how best to sculpt a tax to match their calamitous vision.

  13. Dear Tim, I do wish you’d read fellow economist Bjorn Lomborg and then you might see that all the careful calculations of carbon externalities are based on fundamentally flawed economic models based on fundamentally flawed assumptions and thumb-sucked discounting rates.

  14. Arable farming produces a much higher profit per acre than grazing – so one might well think that the reason why the large majority of farmland is used for grazing is because we can’t grow decent crops on it. If we stop eating meat many of us will starve. Does the Grauniad care?
    Of course it does: that will give it massive amounts of ammunition to complain about capitalism while its overpaid journalists consume their vegetarian antipasti.

  15. BiS: What particular animals provided the mass is irrelevant. Bacteria, bison or Belgians

    I beg to differ – and why the small “B”?

  16. I hear the working classes eat meat every day these days; this is clearly unacceptable to the upper middle classes in the Guardian.

  17. The God Argument(s)

    If God didn’t intend for us to eat meat, why did he make it so delicious?

    The cow/sheep/goat (or even horse) is God’s way of letting us eat grass.

    any others?

    PS. Don’t take it all too seriously.

  18. What we really need is a law that says anyone proposing to raise taxes on people has their entire wealth confiscated immediately. If, after that, they still think its a good idea, we might listen.

  19. Thanks Pcar

    @Rob

    I hear the working classes eat meat every day these days; this is clearly unacceptable to the upper middle classes in the Guardian.

    Let them eat quinoa, as long as they pronounce it correctly.

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