The University of Oxford says taxing meat eaters could save not just lives, but also the planet.
Researchers from Oxford's Future of Food program published a study in Nature Climate Change journal that looked at the effects of taxing food production based on greenhouse gas emissions.
Food production creates a quarter of all emissions worldwide.
The study found that taxing animal products and other high-emission generators like vegetable oils could cut one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2020. Introducing a 40 per cent tax on meat could also save half-a-million lives, the researchers found, as meat consumption would likely drop by 10 per cent.
"... pricing foods according to their climate impacts could not only lead to lower emissions, but also to healthier diets in almost all countries around the world.”
“So far, food production and consumption have been excluded from climate policies, in part due to concerns about the potential impact on food security,” said study co-author Dr. Marco Springmann in a release.
“Here we show that pricing foods according to their climate impacts could not only lead to lower emissions, but also to healthier diets in almost all countries around the world.”
The researchers suggested that to help people with limited budgets ease into the transition, governments could subsidize other healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and legumes.