Governments around the world are considering taxing red meat like tobacco in an effort to curb climate change

Sophia Ankel and Jack Derwin, Business Insider Australia image: Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker

  • If taxes were successful at constraining the consumption of meat, there would be a large reduction in carbon emissions.
  • A new report by Fitch Solutions reveals that a “sin tax” currently put on products like sugary drinks and tobacco could soon be applied to meat globally.
  • Like sugar, red meat has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • This research follows a recent UN report that found that the human food system accounts for 37% of all greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Introducing a tax on meat would likely accelerate the recent trend of vegetarian, vegan and “flexitarian” diets.
  • Fitch Solutions claims if taxes were as successful at constraining the global appetite for meat, the reduction in carbon emissions could be enormous.

First the taxman came for your cigars, now he might be coming for your steak.
That’s according to a new report sent to Business Insider by research company Fitch Solutions, which concluded that “sin taxes” – levies on products deemed undesirable like tobacco, sugary foods and drinks – could soon be applied to meat.

“Governments could leverage on this demand for more sustainability and tax the consumer instead of implementing stricter environmental production regulations,” Fitch first suggested in May.

Since then, new research by the company predicts such a tax could go global, due to environmental, health and ethical concerns.
“The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry,” Fitch told Business Insider.

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