Denmark to Introduce World’s First Carbon Tax on Livestock

Denmark is set to pioneer a groundbreaking measure by introducing the world’s first carbon tax on livestock, targeting methane emissions from cattle and pigs. Starting in 2030, methane emissions will be taxed at 300 kroner ($43) per tonne of CO2 equivalent, rising to 750 kroner by 2035. This move is part of Denmark’s ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

The agreement, reached between the government, opposition parties, and stakeholders including livestock farmers and trade unions, awaits parliamentary approval later this year. While environmental groups like Greenpeace Nordic see this as a significant step forward, they advocate for higher and earlier implementation of the tax.

Critics, including the Danish Association for Sustainable Agriculture, view the tax as detrimental to the agricultural sector, predicting potential job losses and expressing concerns over food security. Despite a 60 percent tax deduction aimed at mitigating impacts on farmers, projections suggest up to 2,000 jobs could be lost in the sector by 2035.

Revenue from the carbon tax will be reinvested into the ecological transition of agriculture, including initiatives like fallowing 140,000 hectares of land to enhance carbon storage in soil. Denmark, known for its intensive meat production, faces a balancing act between environmental goals and agricultural sustainability, as it remains a major global exporter of pork.

The tax on livestock methane emissions marks a significant policy shift that could influence global agricultural practices in combating climate change, yet it also poses challenges for Denmark’s agricultural economy and food production landscape.