New Zealand wants to tax cow farts to fight climate change

New Zealand wants to tax cow farts to fight climate change

New Zealand on Tuesday unveiled plans to tax greenhouse gas emissions from livestock as part of a controversial proposal to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the tax was the first of its kind in the world.

The gases released by New Zealand’s 6.2 million cows are among the country’s biggest environmental problems. Under the scheme, farmers pay for their livestock’s gaseous emissions, such as methane from cow farts and burps and nitrous oxide from cattle urine.

Jacinda Ardern told farmers to get their money back by raising the prices of their climate-friendly produce.

She said the “realistic proposal” would reduce agricultural emissions while making products more environmentally friendly, boosting New Zealand’s “export brand”.

Encourage tree planting

The government hopes to have its project signed off by next year, and the tax could be introduced in three years. But with elections scheduled in New Zealand for fifteen months, the scheme could cost Jacinda Ardern rural ballots as farmers were quick to condemn the scheme.

Andrew Hoggard, chairman of the Federated Farmers’ lobby, said the program would “rip the guts out of small towns in New Zealand”.

The tax, he said, could encourage farmers to plant trees in fields currently used for livestock. Beef + Lamb New Zealand, which represents the country’s sheep and cattle farmers, says the plan ignores existing rural measures to combat greenhouse gases.

“New Zealand farmers have more than 1.4 million hectares of virgin forest on their land that absorbs carbon,” said New Zealand Chairman Andrew Morrison.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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