Taxing farming key for Denmark's climate target - govt adviser

Tax would force farmers to switch to more climate friendly sectors, he said
calendar icon 21 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Denmark should aim to reduce beef and dairy production by levying an emissions tax on farming of 750 Danish crowns ($108) per tonne in order to reach its ambitious climate targets, the government's independent adviser said on Monday, according to Reuters

Such a tax on farming will increase the incentive for farmers to switch to crops and pork production which emit less greenhouse gas than cattle, according to a report by the Danish Climate Council, which provides recommendations to the government.

The new government said in December it sees an emissions tax on farming as crucial to achieving a binding target of reducing CO2 emissions by 70% of 1990 levels.

Emissions from belching cows are a major component of agricultural methane. If no new policies are introduced, farming in Denmark is expected to account for around 40% of emissions in 2030, the council says. The sector currently accounts for 28% of emissions, according to Statistics Denmark.

A carbon tax of 750 crowns per tonne would be similar to the level for other industries which was agreed by parliament in June last year, though a farming lobby group has warned it would lead to a wave of bankruptcies among farmers.

Such a tax would "move jobs abroad and prevent Denmark from developing the solutions that can really make a difference to the climate," said Niels Peter Norring, head of climate Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

The industry should look into alternative solutions like cattle feed additives, which could lower the amount of methane released from cows by 25-30%, he said.

($1 = 6.9689 Danish crowns)

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