This is why Denmark, Sweden and Germany are considering a meat tax

meat tax.jpeg

(José Ignacio Pompé, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Carnivores are in the firing line, with nations including Germany, Denmark and Sweden considering a tax on meat.

Advocates of such a plan say the environmental impact, health ramifications and concerns about animal welfare underpin the need for such a levy. But how realistic is it? And would it really work?

While the idea is likely to face opposition from farming bodies and industry lobby groups, in Germany Green and Social Democrat lawmakers are backing a higher sales tax on meat. Officials in Denmark and Sweden have considered similar proposals, according to a report from financial intelligence firm Fitch Solutions.

High emissions

Raising animals for food requires huge amounts of land, food and water. Added to that, the livestock sector plays a significant role in emitting greenhouse gases, producing 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That’s around 15% of all human-induced emissions.

While meat consumption is falling in some developed nations, it is rising elsewhere, including in China, according to research published in Science. When you add to that the FAO’s prediction that overall global demand for livestock is set to increase by 70% by 2050, you can see why some politicians back policies to limit it.

The environmental impact of meat vs other foods
Image: Science

There’s a growing move away from meat in many developed countries. A recent report commissioned by the United Nations advocates plant-based diets to help mitigate climate change, including a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption.

A tax on meat would echo other levies imposed around the world to promote public health and well-being. In addition to long-standing charges on alcohol and tobacco, sugar taxes are now in place in many countries including the UK, Ireland, Portugal and the UAE.

Really effective?

Even so, such measures can be controversial, with some arguing they fall disproportionately on low-income consumers. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning a review of how “sin taxes” work in the UK.

Others argue that better-designed policies could make these taxes work more effectively and alleviate the impact on the low-income population. A working paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research explores how this could function in practice through the theoretical framework of a soda tax.

A study in Science contends more evidence is needed about the effectiveness of trying to influence people’s food purchasing and consumption.

“The multitude of factors that influence the price and availability of meat, and how it is processed and marketed, determine a socioeconomic landscape that profoundly affects, and is affected by, norms and behaviors,” the authors wrote.

“The existence of major vested interests and centres of power makes the political economy of diet change highly challenging.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

UN and partners appeal for $920 million to meet ‘dire needs’ of Rohingya refugees

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

Better ID card security to curb document fraud

Monday’s Daily Brief: biodiversity and forests, labour and road safety, women’s rights, and fallen UN staff remembered

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

The Stray

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Global Talent – Professional Internships

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

What next for Europe? Three (completely) different Davos views

UN chief welcomes re-opening of key Gaza border crossing

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

Japan should reform retirement policies to meet challenge of ageing workforce

Facts and prejudices about work

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

TTIP’s 11th round major takeaways and the usual “leaked” document

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

UN rights chief slams ‘unconscionable’ US border policy of separating migrant children from parents

Why this city is paying people to move there

The remote doctor, can it ever work?

This new form of currency could transform the way we see money

These are the fastest trains in the world

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €1.49 billion for abusive practices in online advertising

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Close to final agreement on the EU Banking Union

3 things to know about India’s space programme

Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told

EU and Australia launch talks for a broad trade agreement

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris is the moment for climate justice”, Swedish MEP Linnéa Engström claims from Brussels

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Central banking in times of complexity

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

Draghi’s 2018 compromise: enough money printing to revive inflation and check euro ascent

Nordic noir: The unhappiness epidemic affecting young people in the world’s happiest countries

Trump blocks US warmongers from bombing Iran

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Capital Markets Union: Making it easier for smaller businesses to get financing through capital markets

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

Afghanistan: UN ‘unequivocally condemns’ attack in Kabul

MEPs criticise “America first” policy

An economist explains why women are paid less

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

There is a forgotten solution to climate change that we must invest in – nature

Job vacancy data reveal better prospects for Britain, stagnation in Eurozone

Commission adopts €4 billion investment package for infrastructure projects across 10 Member States

EU fundamental rights under threat in several member states

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s