New Zealand is considering introducing what has been dubbed a ‘fart tax’ by its opponents to curb methane emissions from livestock.
The controversial proposal was announced this week and immediately caused outrage among the country’s farmers.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern plans to introduce the world’s first system to impose a tax on farmers based on the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by their herds.
According to the government’s proposal, the size of the tax would depend on the number of animals in the herds, the type of fertilizer used on the farm, the size of the farm and any measures already taken to limit methane production.
With sheep outnumbering humans five to one and the population of cattle being twice the size of people, livestock is virtually one of the cornerstones of New Zealand’s economy and the backbone of its massive meat and dairy industries.
With that in mind, sheeps and cows are responsible for generating roughly half of the country’s total emissions.
To support the radical new tax proposal, Ardern has argued that all the tax money would go towards funding research and incentives for farmers to help reduce their emissions.
A further argument in favor of the tax was that it would put New Zealand ahead of the world and in the best position to set a price premium for carbon-neutral dairy products and meat.
New Zealand farmers, however, are far from eager to usher in what they have called the ‘fart tax’, which is set to be introduced in 2025, and they are not the only ones.
Agriculture communities around the world have cried out against similar measures, such as the uproar triggered in the Netherlands last year.