« Danish government and farmer unions agree with GHG-emission tax for livestock»

Published on 25-06-2024

Yesterday, Denmark put forward a concrete proposal for a climate tax for agriculture, which will now be negotiated among the rest of the parties in the Parliament.

The Danish government will introduce Europe’s first carbon tax on agriculture, after a five-month negotiation with farming and conservation groups ended in a historic agreement on Monday night.

From 2030 farmers will have to pay 120 Danish krone (€16) per metric ton of emitted carbon dioxide equivalent, rising to 300 krone (€40) from 2035 onwards. The government will also provide €5.3 billion to reforest 250,000 hectares of agricultural land by 2045, set aside 140,000 of lowland by 2030, and buy out certain farms to reduce nitrogen emissions.

It’s an “agreement which will form the basis for a historic reorganization and restructuring of Denmark’s land and food production,” wrote Economy Minister Stephanie Lose on X on Monday evening.

In recent years, Danish farming organisations and others have proposed introducing a consumer levy on meat and dairy in addition to a tax on greenhouse gases in agriculture to share the 'burden', plus to allow the levy for farmers to be reduced slightly without jeopardising overall emission reduction targets. This was apparently not (or not yet) decided on in the end after all.

TAPP Coalition reacts happily to the Danish plans. Director Jeroom Remmers: "Finally there is a first country in the world that, 50 years after the acceptance of the 'polluter pays principle', works on pricing greenhouse gases in the agricultural sector. Three years ago we wrote a letter to, among others, the Danish Prime Minister asking him to price greenhouse gas emissions from meat and dairy, and apparently they listened. The letter was sent on behalf of 5,000 companies and NGOs from 100 countries that form the Carbon Pricing Food Coalition". The letter can be read here.




Denmark's Strategy for Taxing Agricultural Emissions - True Animal Protein Price Coalition (tappcoalition.eu)

Danish government to make decision on agriculture CO2 tax and/or meat tax in summer 2024 - True Animal Protein Price Coalition (tappcoalition.eu)

Comments from Danish organisations:

Danish Vegetarian Society director Rune-Christoffer (linked in): Where the tripartite agreement completely fails is that we don't compare our Danish food production with what we're going to eat (dietary guidelines). For some strange reason, we insist on growing some kind of food (pork and beef) that we don't recommend ourselves to eat. And at the same time, we dedicate most of our land to it for production of pork and beef (and animal feed). Michael Svarrer estimated in Gold and Green Forests that by 2035 we will see a 2-3% decrease in the number of animals produced. It is not at all in line with the dietary guideline.

Concito: https://concito.dk/en/news/green-deal-has-several-good-elements-but-creates-uncertainty-about-sufficient-reductions-from

Green Transition Denmark: https://rgo.dk/en/the-tripartite-agreement-secures-nature-and-the-sea-but-fails-by-maintaining-problematic-animal-production/

The Danish Council for Green Transition is critical of the agreement's strong focus on technological measures. "The basic deduction will incentivise farmers to use more technological measures instead of completely switching production away from environmentally and climate damaging animal production. Therefore, we should look at whether the basic deduction can be adjusted downwards and phased out - this will incentivise farmers to switch from animal production to plant production," says Trine Langhede, Advisor for Food and Bioresources at the Council for Green Transition.