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Will There Be Tax on Meat Production?

May 28, 2016 12:04 AM EDT
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To meet the global rise in consumption and the environmental damage it invites, a UN expert recommended taxing meet production.

The world could face serious environmental problems if China and other emerging economies take down Europeans and Americans in the amount of meat they consume, said Prof Maarten Hajer, the lead author of a report on the impact of food production and the environment. He told this to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, according to The Guardian.

"If we were all to copycat the way in which we feed ourselves in North America or Europe [with meat], the planet would be in deep trouble," he said.

He said that the consumption could be controlled by increasing the price, up the supply chain.

"We think it's better to price meats earlier in the chain, it's easier. It's sexier to tax it at the consumer level, but not as effective," said Hajer, a member of the International Resource Panel (IRP), which comprises 34 top scientists and 30 governments.

The IRP report which was released on Wednesday predicts a chicken and dairy consumption rising by 20%, and an increase in 14% in the consumption of beef and pig over the next ten years. The authors urged the governments to push their citizens to less meat consumption, as it leads to serious environmental problems; however, no policy options are advocated by the report.

"This report shows our current food system has to change because it's not sustainable," said Hajer.

It was found that to feed 7 billion people, the food produced in responsible for 24% of greenhouse gas emission, and a loss of 60% in species around the world.

"Dealing with consumer choices is an extremely touchy issue, but you have to deal with it, because there will consequences," said Janez Potočnik, co-chair at the IRP and former EU environment commissioner as reported by The Guardian. "The time is coming when we will not be able to sweep it any more under the carpet."

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