A new report on the environment has claimed that farmers and consumers can be helped to produce and eat better food if a “sustainability charge” is imposed on meat to cover the environmental damage it causes.
The report produced for the Tapp Coalition of health, environment and animal welfare organizations and focuses on the countries in the European Union said that the levy could increase the price of steal by as much as 25 per cent and could be phased out over a period of a decade. The forthcoming European “green new deal” and so-called farm to fork strategy should include the issue of “fair pricing” for meat.
The impact of ;livestock production with respect to the costs of greenhouse gas emissions because of it, other forms of air and water pollution, and losses of wildlife were analysed in the report that was produced by environmental research group CE Delft.
The report estimated that the environmental levy could increase the price of beef by €0.47 per 100g. the report however proposes a smaller levy on pork and chicken because those have lesser of an impact on the environment and it proposed at €0.36 per 100g and €0.17 per 100g respectively. The report predicted that by 20203, there can be a reduction of 67 per cent in beef and 57 per cent and 30 per cent for pork and chicken in the EU because of the additional levy.
The report further calculated that apart from raising as much as €32bn a year for EU member states, such a measure will also reduce green house gas emissions by 120m tonnes a year.
Farmers should be given about half of the amount collected from the levy to help them to move away from meat production, said the Tapp Coalition. That would help the farmers to increase income of farms by thousands of euros every year. It said that the remainder of the money should be put to use for bringing down the costs of fruit and vegetables, support poorer families and used as aid for developing countries to tackle the challenges of climate change.
“Europeans eat roughly 50% more meat than is recommended in dietary health guidelines. [So] we could also save billions of euros every year in lower healthcare costs,” said Jeroom Remmers, a Tapp Coalition director.
“Numerous studies in recent years have shown that a shift to healthy, more plant-rich diets can deliver important health, environmental and economic benefits, said,” three European health associations wrote in a letter to Frans Timmermans, the senior European commissioner leading the green new deal initiative in November.
A second report compiled by the Behavioural Insights Team (Bit), a social purpose company part-owned by the UK government, has also come up with the idea of a carbon tax on high-impact food. That report went a step further to suggest that catered events or on flights should mandatorily offer plant-based food.
One of the ways that climate change can be tackled is to cause a drastic reduction in meat consumption in meat-eating in rich nations, recent research has shown. The personal environmental impact of an individual can also be significantly reduced by avoiding meat and dairy products, suggested other studies.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)