New Zealand to Tax Cow, Sheep Burps for Climate Change

First country to impose tax on animal flatulence in effort to 'reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions

Image Credits: Hannah Peters/Getty Images.

New Zealand has become the first country to impose a tax on cow and sheep burps in an effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.

The consumption of animal-based products has long been in the crosshairs of various climate change activists and policymakers.

And now plans are in the process of being unveiled to tax farmers on their livestock’s flatulence.

The islands nation’s population is of around 5 million people, they are outnumbered by 10 million cows and 26 million sheep.

However, a report stated that “almost half the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane.”

Another source claimed: “More than 85 per cent of New Zealand’s total methane emissions come from two agricultural sources: animal stomachs and animal manure, with the former accounting for 97 per cent of that total. In cows, most (95 per cent) of the methane is exhaled, while 5 per cent is emitted via flatulence.”

According to the Indian Express:

The government on Wednesday announced a draft plan where farmers will have to pay fines for their animals’ emissions starting in 2025. The new plans were made keeping in mind the recommendations from He Waka Eke Noa — a collaboration between the government and the primary sector of climate action. The group recommended the government “introduce a farm-level split-gas levy on agricultural emissions with built-in incentives to reduce emissions and sequester carbon”.

According to the Ministry for Environment, short and long-lived farm gases will be priced separately, although a single measure to calculate their volume will be used. “There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,” Climate Change Minister James Shaw was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Previous proposals to tax livestock under similar grounds has been met with staunch resistance from farmers.

Activists and journalists have lauded the efforts of the New Zealand government.

In recent years, various groups and publications have pushed alternative protein sources as politicians take aim at meat.

Bugs, synthetic, and plant-based alternatives have made forays into the market with varying, yet limited success.

Recent inflationary pressures and supply shocks have given rise to sharp price increases for beef and other protein sources.

New Zealand’s lamb is internationally renowned in culinary circles for its high quality. Taxing livestock under the guise of climate change will have a profound economic effect.

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