As Americans prepare for their Thanksgiving Day feasts, there’s an issue on the horizon that could make that turkey more expensive: taxing meat to reduce climate change.
Livestock is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, adding about the same amount of emissions as that of all the world’s vehicles, according to a new report from the U.K. policy institute Chatham House. But many consumers aren’t aware of the link between their dinner plates and climate change, the report notes.
At the same time, meat consumption is forecast to increase by 76 percent over the next several decades, thanks to rising incomes in developing countries that will boost demand for animal protein. Taking some policy steps — such as a meat tax — to make animal protein less appealing would help curtail demand and lower the impact on the environment, the researchers recommended. But wouldn’t that backfire, given how much people love their burgers?
Not so, according to surveys carried out by Chatham House researchers, who found that consumers in countries including the U.S. and Brazil were more receptive to the idea than one might suspect.
Respondents thought that a backlash against a meat tax “would be short-lived, particularly if people understood the policy rationale,” the report notes.