The carbon police may soon come for your steak dinner.
Well, kind of. That’s the idea behind a wacky new study out of the UK. The Scientific American reports:
In a new analysis, researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Reading collaborated to see how implementing a tax on foods like red meat that produce more greenhouse gases could help the environment and improve people’s health.
… Beef and lamb were among the most highly priced food items under their modeled tax system, with price increases ranging from 5 to 45 percent. For consumers, that would translate to about £1.70 to £1.80 per kilogram, said Briggs.
Those higher red meat prices meant consumers were more likely to buy more environmentally friendly poultry and pork, which only saw a price increase of between 5 to 10 pence per kilogram.
That same sort of thinking was behind a much-mocked 2010 UN report, which basically said the world is doomed unless more people adopt veganism. Earlier this year, another UN study went so far as to call beef a “climate-harmful meat.”
So will the public willingly change its consumption habits? The lead author of the most recent University of Oxford Study isn’t terribly optimistic.
“The appetite for increased taxes in the U.K. is pretty low at the moment,” he said, adding that he instead hoped to the study would be a conversation-starter.