The 14 Words

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Taxing meat for climate change

The roast you had over the holidays in 2013 may have been your last.

If some scientists get their way, meat all over the world could be taxed. It might soon be a delicacy only the rich can afford. And not just foie gras, kobe beef and caviar. Common meats that are the staple of many regular families’ meals.

Seven scientists have authored an analysis for Nature Climate Change magazine that argues for regulation against livestock. They’re concerned by ruminant farts. Grazing livestock fart and create emissions. Watch out sheep, cattle and goats – there is waning tolerance for your flatulent ways.

According to the UN, this accounts for 14.5% of all human-related greenhouse gases in the world. That’s also the single largest human-related source in the world.

Geez. The only thing worse than being blamed for another guy’s farts is being blamed for a random animal’s farts. But I digress.

From the report: 
“Implementing a tax or emission trading scheme on livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions could be an economically sound policy that would modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns.”
Economically sound? By whose reckoning? There are some who believe there is nothing more economically sound than observing the invisible hand of supply and demand in a free market society. But let’s not bicker with those in the ivory tower.

Don’t you just love the wording of “modify consumer prices and affect consumption patterns”?

It all seems so benign. So sanitized. But what this actually implies is they aim to convince governments around the world to jack up the prices so much that people stop eating meat.

Their galling subtext is: Government should get in the middle of transactions between meat producers and consumers.

Even if the two parties are completely happy to do business together, governments out there should discover exactly what tax or regulation would completely sour the deal and make the two parties walk away. Which would likely force the small operators out of business. That would be a form of central planning geared to destabilizing an entire industry.

The truth is more often than not big government disproportionately discriminates against the little guy. This would certainly be the case with a meat tax. While the wealthy can already afford choice cuts of organic meat, low-income earners would be punished by such a tax.

But the ends justify the means for specialists who think the entire world should be mobilized to combat their niche interest.

Again from the report: 
“Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives.”
Blind arrogance

That’s the height of blind arrogance. To translate this out of polite jargon, what it essentially says is: 
“It’s tough to tell people how to live in a free society. Human beings don’t always behave the way certain experts wish they would. So looks like we’re going to have to bring in punitive measures to box them in.”
Notice how they refer to incentives when it seems more likely they mean disincentives.

Now is not the occasion to wade into the scientific minutiae the paper alleges. Perhaps some readers will think they present a compelling case to reduce GHG emissions. Fine.

No, the relevant question is, did humans form governments so the people at the top could pick and choose which reports they like and force a certain lifestyle upon the masses that corresponds with these reports?

Or were governments instead formed to maximize people’s liberties and allow them freedom of choice? It’s sad that this question even needs to be posed. But these days it does. Repeatedly.

We’re talking about something very basic here: A person’s right to decide what they eat.

Some may shrug off this report. Who’s to say anyone will pay attention?

Agenda 21 is an action plan first created by the United Nations in 1992 that many experts and government bureaucrats – Canadians included – seem keen to impose on all levels of government.

In 2012 their revised plan called for 
“the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
If ruminant farts are the single largest source of human-related GHG emissions, then it’s reasonable to assume the recommendations in Nature Climate Change caught the eye of the Agenda 21 crowd.

But the sentiment is actually already in Canada. As the David Suzuki Foundation notes on its website, 
“[b]ecause of their sheer numbers, livestock produce a considerable volume of greenhouse gases (such as methane and nitrous oxide) that contribute to climate change.”
In other words, it might be time to stock up on meat.


1 comment:

  1. Absolute cow dung. Any such measures would surely be better via taxing high fuel requirements, like multi-holiday trips on planes, and millions of Journalists and politicians, who travel causing much more polution. Pure 1984 scenario for the masses.
    Green Man 33

    ReplyDelete