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German economists call for “meat tax” to combat climate change

A group of environment-focused economists in Germany have called for massive tax hikes on meat products to combat climate change, even as food prices surge due to inflation.

According to researchers from TU Berlin’s Chair of Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, the government should move to limit meat consumption to “attain greenhouse gas neutrality.”

“Livestock farming is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, soil and water pollution, and precious forests are being cleared for pastures and food crops,” said Professor Linus Mattauch, the group’s leader.

“Evidence suggests the environmental impacts are so large that the world can’t meet climate goals and keep vital ecosystems intact without reducing the consumption of meat – at least in Western high-income countries.”

Mattauch added that governments should “start thinking about also taxing meat to reduce its consumption,” claiming that this is the “most efficient path to preventing further strain on our planet.”

“According to the group’s model calculations, the direct cost of livestock farming in relation to climate change is as high as $9.21 per kilogram of beef,” ReMix reports.

“Applying this cost to the price of beef could result in beef products being as much as 56% more expensive. Similarly, poultry would cost 25% more, and lamb and pork would rise by 19%.”

Already, goods such as food are spiking in price due to runaway inflation.

In Ireland, according to the CSO, the cost of groceries rose by 5.5% in 2021, with further increases expected in 2022.

Similarly, the UK is experiencing the sharpest price rises in a decade, nearly doubling in the month of January.

In addition to skyrocketing food prices and proposals to make meat less affordable, the European Union has designated insects such as crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers as human food which is considered more “sustainable” and supposedly better for the climate.

In 2018, the World Economic Forum published an article entitled Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon.”

The piece asks: “As scarcity of resources and sustainability become increasingly important issues for food production and distribution, how long before you’re asking for insects in your food, rather than complaining if you find one?”

The Green Party in Ireland previously urged the government to “reduce meat consumption to avoid climate breakdown.”

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