Where taxation is concerned, there’s seemingly no end. But in New Zealand, there may soon be many.
The country has decided climate change stinks; and in the area of prevention, the dairy and meat industries are blowing it.
Therefore, change may be in the air: Having digested the problem, the government is prepared to institute a historic tax. As reported by Sky News, a new proposal would launch a duty on cow farts. Sheep would be scrutinized, too.
The nation has twice as many cattle as Kiwis, and four times the number of sheep as citizens.
[N]early half its total greenhouse gas emissions come from farming, mainly in the form of methane.
Formerly, farts have gotten a pass:
Agricultural emissions have previously been exempted from the country’s emissions trading scheme, drawing criticism of the government’s efforts to slow global heating.
Due to all that pollution, the atmosphere’s as piping hot as a dutch oven:
Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during its first 20 years in the atmosphere — so cutting it is a powerful way to slow warming in the short term.
The tax would put the squeeze on both farts and burps; here’s a biological breakdown:
More than 85% of New Zealand’s total methane emissions come from two agricultural sources: animal stomachs and animal manure, with the former accounting for 97% of that total.
In cows, most (95%) of the methane is exhaled, while 5% is emitted via flatulence.
According to the draft plan — cocreated by government officials and farming reps — farmers would have to cough up their due dollars starting in 2025.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw detects the smell of success:
“There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that.”
Paying for flatulence won’t be the only way agriculturists can assist; as the saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Or step on a duck:
The proposal includes incentives for farmers who reduce emissions through feed additives, while on-farm forestry can be used to offset emissions. Revenue from the scheme will be invested in research, development and advisory services for farmers.
History is ripe for the making, and New Zealand’s taking a crack:
The proposal would make the country the first to charge farmers for the gases belched out by their livestock.
A gas tax is an enticing idea; in homes around the world, it could surely be put to profitable use. Perhaps a higher rate should be levied for beds.
Even so, in New Zealand, what global difference might it make? The nation has a populace of only five million.
Beyond that, will farmers be able to afford it? If the tax on bovine farts causes too much of a strain, some may call it bull****.
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