This is shown by the researchers Kristina Mohlin, Stefan Wirsenius and Fredrik Hedenus, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in an article published in the scientific journal Climatic Change.
Kristina Mohlin is a PhD student at the Department of Economics at the University of Gothenburg. She wrote the article together with her research colleagues at Chalmers University of Technology in connection with her degree project at the Department of Energy and Environment.
In the article, the researchers show that reduced meat, milk and egg consumption has two effects: a direct one which means significantly lower emissions of methane and nitrous oxide and an indirect one through land being made available which can be used for bioenergy cultivation.
Food production is a source that cannot be disregarded when considering greenhouse gas emissions – globally it accounts for 20-25 per cent of emissions. However, emissions from food are difficult to tax as the principal emission sources are methane from the stomachs of cows and nitrous oxide from land to which fertiliser has been applied – both these emission sources are technically complicated and very costly to measure. There is also a lack of effective technical solutions to reduce these emissions. On the other hand, changed food habits can have a great impact. If beef is replaced by chicken, emissions decrease by 90 per cent, and if beef is replaced by beans the reduction is 99 per cent.
“A tax on the emissions from food production would normally be preferable. But as this is virtually impossible in practice, and the effects of switching away from meat and milk are so great, we show that it can be far more effective to apply the tax directly to the meat and milk consumption," says Stefan Wirsenius, a researcher in the Department of Energy and Environment at Chalmers.
Beef, which is responsible for the highest emissions per kg of meat, would be taxed higher under the proposal, while chicken and pork would be taxed lower as their emissions are lower.
”Today we have taxes on petrol and a trading scheme for industrial plants and power generation, but no policy instruments at all for food-related greenhouse gas emissions. This means that we do not pay for the climate costs of our food," says Fredrik Hedenus, another researcher in the Department of Energy and Environment at Chalmers.
A climate tax on meat and milk would probably also mean that land becomes available for the growing of bioenergy crops.
“If the world decides on substantial reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, land will become a scarce resource, as a lot of land may be needed for bioenergy. Land-efficient food production and consumption will therefore become increasingly important. And beef production requires twenty times more land per kcal than beans," says Hedenus.
A tax equivalent to 60€/ton CO2 (far less than half the current petrol taxes in many European countries) would according to the calculations reduce beef consumption by about 15 per cent.
“This tax is not at all a matter of forcing people to become vegetarians but merely moving towards a slightly more climate-smart diet," says Wirsenius.For further information:
Helena Aaberg | idw
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy