Washington: Imposing tax on carbon intensive foods like meat and dairy could help combat climate change, according to a group of researchers from Oxford University. According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, pricing food according to its climate impacts could save half a million lives and one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Taxing greenhouse gas emissions from food production could save more emissions than are currently generated by global aviation, and lead to half a million fewer deaths from chronic diseases, the study found. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. It is the first global analysis to estimate the impacts that levying emissions prices on food could have on greenhouse gas emissions and human health.
The findings show that if pricing of foods were to be implemented, about one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided in 2020, more than the total current emissions from global aviation. Much of the emissions reduction would stem from higher prices and lower consumption of animal products, as their emissions are particularly high. The researchers found that beef would have to be 40% more expensive globally to pay for the climate damage caused by its production. The researchers estimate that such price increases would result in around 10% lower consumption of food items that are high in emissions.