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Denmark Creating a Tax on Flatulent Livestock

June 27, 2024
The goal is reducing methane gas emissions, but details are sketchy on how the $100-per-cow levy will make them burp or fart less.

Denmark could become the first country to impose taxes on cows, pigs and sheep for emitting greenhouse gases.

The Danish government this week unveiled a bill that, beginning in 2030, would tax farmers about $43 per metric ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent produced by the methane gas emissions of their livestock. It apparently has parliamentary support to become law.

That rate would increase to about $108 in 2035. The levies would be partially offset by a 60% tax deduction, rendering them closer to $17 per metric ton in 2030 and $43 in 2035, according to a Washington Post story. CNN estimated that would work out to about $100 per cow.

Methane gas from livestock has been implicated as a leading cause of global warming. All reports we saw were not clear on how this tax would make farm animals burp and fart less. The offset apparently would come in how the revenue is spent. Proceeds will be returned to the agriculture industry to support its own green initiatives and research, and some will go to establish more than 600,000 acres of new forest areas, according to several reports.

Danish officials project the tax would cut the country’s emissions by about 2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030. “We will be the first country in the world to introduce a real [carbon dioxide equivalent tax] on agriculture. Other countries will be inspired by it,” Danish Tax Minister Jeppe Bruus said in a statement carried by the Washington Post.

The proposal comes after dealmaking between the center-right government and representatives of groups including farmers, the industry and unions.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says methane must be reduced by 40-45% by 2030 to cap global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) this century.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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