Build Back Butter? Boris Govt May Push Carbon Taxes on Meat and Dairy to Save the Planet

WREXHAM, WALES - APRIL 26: UK prime minister Boris Johnson visits Moreton farm near Wrexham as the prime minister campaigns in Wales ahead of elections, on April 26, 2021 in Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom. (Photo by Paul Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Paul Ellis - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The British government may seek to impose carbon taxes on the food industry which could see the price of meat and dairy climb even further in a bid to tackle supposedly man-made climate change.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary George Eustice said that the UK would explore carbon taxes after the EU agricultural subsidies are phased out in 2027.

“We’ve got seven years [until EU subsidies are phased out] where we’re going to completely reorientate the way we support agriculture,” Mr Eustice told The Telegraph.

“The question, really, is beyond that, where you start to move into the realms of things like carbon taxes. We need to do the thinking about it now, but we would ideally get the rest of the world to go in a similar direction,” the minister added.

The farming secretary said that border carbon taxes could also be used to “encourage countries like Australia, like New Zealand, to tackle their own greenhouse gas emissions”.

“If there are other countries in the world that don’t pull their weight, and don’t do their share, you know, at some point you will have to find a way of reflecting that in international trade,” he said.

The plan ostensibly would be put into place to give British farmers a leg up over the foreign competition, with British food cheaper than foreign imports. But the measures would also likely result in increased prices for the consumer for items like red meat, which Eustice admitted in the Telegraph interview are already set to increase by ten per cent over the next five years, without any additional new taxes.

It is also unclear, however, if such a scheme would jeopardise the free trade agreements signed with New Zealand and Australia following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

While intended to impact foreign food producers the most, the mooted taxation system set prices on each tonne of carbon emissions produced, meaning it could impact British farmers, as well.

The government is hoping that such a tax would incentivise food producers to shift to supposedly more environmentally-friendly food production as well as encourage the public at large to eat less meat. Eustace admitted that the government would be “whistling in the wind” if it demanded Britons became vegan but signalled he backed people eating less, but better quality, meat.

While being the leader of the Conservative Party, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has consistently pushed for nanny-state controls — particularly on diet — in the wake of the Chinese coronavirus crisis. Mr Johnson has previously blamed his own issues with weight for his hospitalisation with the Wuhan virus.

In July, the government was reported to be planning on releasing a Chinese-style social credit score app in which people would be rewarded for choosing healthier options at the grocery store.

The government has also announced that “new laws will ban the advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on television and online before 9 p.m. when children are most likely to see them”.

This comes despite the prime minister campaigning as a libertarian, vowing to end the “continuing creep of the nanny state”.

The latest green proposals from the British government come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to host the United Nations C0p26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The PM has warned that the world is on the precipice of entering into a new dark age if the world fails to commit to his Build Back Better vision.

The attack on the meat industry falls in line with the aims of the Davos-based World Economic Forum (WEF), which has long advocated for people to eat lab-grown alternatives to meat as a part of its Great Reset agenda.

In a 2019 report from the WEF’s EAT-Lancet Commission, the authors called for Western countries to scale back meat consumption to such an extent that the average person would only be able to eat a “mouthful” of steak per day.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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