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Introduction of Fart Tax and Its Backlash

  • 23.03.28 / 이해인
Date 2023-03-28 Hit 6664

 

As countries all over the world come up with various plans to deal with climate change, the government of New Zealand has revealed that it will soon impose a “fart tax” on livestock farms. According to LADbible, a British digital publisher, the government of New Zealand came up with a plan to tax farmers for their cows’ burps and farts. As cows’ farts have been found to be the primary cause of methane gas emissions, the fart tax is one of the measures that have been proposed to reduce greenhouse gases at the national level. 
The reason why cows’ farts contain methane is because cows have a unique digestive system. Cows actually have four stomachs, the first of which contains microorganisms that ferment what the cow eats. This process generates methane, which cows then release through farts. As a greenhouse gas, methane has a huge impact on climate change, estimated at around 21 times greater than the impact of carbon dioxide. Methane gas is pointed to as the main source of global warming, and 25% of methane gas emissions originate from cows’ farts and burps.

In fact, the amount of methane gases released by the five top meat processing companies and 10 top livestock companies has been estimated to be over 80% of the total methane emissions of all European Union (EU) member countries. Given the significant environmental impact of the methane gas from cow’s farts, burps, and excrement, some countries, including Estonia and Denmark, have introduced a fart tax on the methane gas emissions generated by livestock farms. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, referred to reports of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Changing Markets Foundation (CMF) to demonstrate that the 15 companies mentioned above generate more methane gas than some countries, such as Russia, Canada, and Australia, accounting for 11.1% of the livestock
industry’s total methane emissions worldwide. IATP Europe Director Shefali Sharma said that this fact is truly shocking and spoke out against such a small number of companies raising so much livestock.

Researchers explained that, although it is challenging to make precise measurements due to the poor statistical data of related companies, it is possible to estimate methane emissions using available data on each company’s production and the current conditions of the regional livestock farming industry. According to their reports, if these 15 companies were to be considered a country, they would be the 10th largest country in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. They also found that the methane emissions generated by these companies exceed those of oil companies such as ExxonMobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell. In fact, the methane emissions of JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world, are greater than the total methane emissions of livestock farms in Germany, France, Canada, and New Zealand combined.

However, this plan to cut methane emissions by imposing a tax on New Zealand’s cows and sheep has provoked a furious reaction from the country’s farmers. As the biggest livestock farming country in the world, New Zealand has more than five times as many sheep and twice as many cattle as it does people. Accordingly, the fart tax will threaten the nation’s biggest economic sector and also place a huge financial burden on livestock farmers. The farmers are worried that the livestock industry will contract, claiming that they have not even been informed about how their methane gas emissions will be measured and managed. However, the government of New Zealand, which stated that it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, asserts that this kind of forced regulation is required in order to reduce methane gas emissions by 10% by 2030 and by 47% by 2050. Faced by the strong reaction of farmers, the government is in the process of convincing livestock producers that the proceeds from the fart tax will be used in the development of new technologies for livestock farming, which will eventually help New Zealand maintain its livestock farming competitiveness in the international market. The government has also explained that livestock producers will be able to benefit from the higher prices of ecofriendly products.

However, this is not the first time that the government of New Zealand has pushed this fart tax. In 2003, the government promoted a policy to impose a tax on livestock that generate high levels of methane gas. However,
the policy was heavily criticized by farmers’ associations at that time as well, showing that farmers’ opinion on the matter has not changed much over time. They state that the government’s plan will shrink the country’
s biggest economic sector and have been discussing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without reducing their production.
Meanwhile, environmental groups such as Greenpeace are casting doubt on the New Zealand government’s estimates of the policy’s positive effects. Greenpeace Spokesperson Christine Rose referred to the policy as “greenwashing” as what must be reduced is the use of synthetic fertilizers, not production itself.

Methane gas has been pointed to as the primary cause of climate change. According to the United Nations, methane gas is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it is being generated by livestock at a higher rate
than ever before. Although the introduction of a fart tax is a controversial topic, it seems evident that measures need to be taken to address climate change issues such as this.

 

Kim Seo-Hyun
Reporters

aprilkim404@kookmin.ac.kr

Introduction of Fart Tax and Its Backlash

Date 2023-03-28 Hit 6664

 

As countries all over the world come up with various plans to deal with climate change, the government of New Zealand has revealed that it will soon impose a “fart tax” on livestock farms. According to LADbible, a British digital publisher, the government of New Zealand came up with a plan to tax farmers for their cows’ burps and farts. As cows’ farts have been found to be the primary cause of methane gas emissions, the fart tax is one of the measures that have been proposed to reduce greenhouse gases at the national level. 
The reason why cows’ farts contain methane is because cows have a unique digestive system. Cows actually have four stomachs, the first of which contains microorganisms that ferment what the cow eats. This process generates methane, which cows then release through farts. As a greenhouse gas, methane has a huge impact on climate change, estimated at around 21 times greater than the impact of carbon dioxide. Methane gas is pointed to as the main source of global warming, and 25% of methane gas emissions originate from cows’ farts and burps.

In fact, the amount of methane gases released by the five top meat processing companies and 10 top livestock companies has been estimated to be over 80% of the total methane emissions of all European Union (EU) member countries. Given the significant environmental impact of the methane gas from cow’s farts, burps, and excrement, some countries, including Estonia and Denmark, have introduced a fart tax on the methane gas emissions generated by livestock farms. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, referred to reports of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Changing Markets Foundation (CMF) to demonstrate that the 15 companies mentioned above generate more methane gas than some countries, such as Russia, Canada, and Australia, accounting for 11.1% of the livestock
industry’s total methane emissions worldwide. IATP Europe Director Shefali Sharma said that this fact is truly shocking and spoke out against such a small number of companies raising so much livestock.

Researchers explained that, although it is challenging to make precise measurements due to the poor statistical data of related companies, it is possible to estimate methane emissions using available data on each company’s production and the current conditions of the regional livestock farming industry. According to their reports, if these 15 companies were to be considered a country, they would be the 10th largest country in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. They also found that the methane emissions generated by these companies exceed those of oil companies such as ExxonMobil, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell. In fact, the methane emissions of JBS, the largest meat processing company in the world, are greater than the total methane emissions of livestock farms in Germany, France, Canada, and New Zealand combined.

However, this plan to cut methane emissions by imposing a tax on New Zealand’s cows and sheep has provoked a furious reaction from the country’s farmers. As the biggest livestock farming country in the world, New Zealand has more than five times as many sheep and twice as many cattle as it does people. Accordingly, the fart tax will threaten the nation’s biggest economic sector and also place a huge financial burden on livestock farmers. The farmers are worried that the livestock industry will contract, claiming that they have not even been informed about how their methane gas emissions will be measured and managed. However, the government of New Zealand, which stated that it would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, asserts that this kind of forced regulation is required in order to reduce methane gas emissions by 10% by 2030 and by 47% by 2050. Faced by the strong reaction of farmers, the government is in the process of convincing livestock producers that the proceeds from the fart tax will be used in the development of new technologies for livestock farming, which will eventually help New Zealand maintain its livestock farming competitiveness in the international market. The government has also explained that livestock producers will be able to benefit from the higher prices of ecofriendly products.

However, this is not the first time that the government of New Zealand has pushed this fart tax. In 2003, the government promoted a policy to impose a tax on livestock that generate high levels of methane gas. However,
the policy was heavily criticized by farmers’ associations at that time as well, showing that farmers’ opinion on the matter has not changed much over time. They state that the government’s plan will shrink the country’
s biggest economic sector and have been discussing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without reducing their production.
Meanwhile, environmental groups such as Greenpeace are casting doubt on the New Zealand government’s estimates of the policy’s positive effects. Greenpeace Spokesperson Christine Rose referred to the policy as “greenwashing” as what must be reduced is the use of synthetic fertilizers, not production itself.

Methane gas has been pointed to as the primary cause of climate change. According to the United Nations, methane gas is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and it is being generated by livestock at a higher rate
than ever before. Although the introduction of a fart tax is a controversial topic, it seems evident that measures need to be taken to address climate change issues such as this.

 

Kim Seo-Hyun
Reporters

aprilkim404@kookmin.ac.kr

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