Farmers Forum staff
New research suggests that a global carbon tax on agriculture would do more harm than good, and governments trying to tackle climate change need to develop individualized policies.
The study, recently published in Nature Climate Change, found that by 2050, about 24 million more people will be at risk of hunger due to climate change. However, a global carbon tax on agriculture would put as many as 170 million more people at risk. Those would mostly be people in poorer parts of the world, such as India and sub-Saharan Africa.
President of Danish think-tank Copenhagen Consensus Centre, Bjorn Lomberg, wrote in the New York Post that “We’ve heard similar stories before: In a few short decades, climate policy has often created more damage than the benefits it attempts to deliver.”
“The new research shows that without careful planning, the burden of mitigation policies is simply too great,” the study reads.
“Agriculture should receive a very specific treatment when it comes to climate change policies,” said lead researcher Tomoko Hasegawa.
One of the key recommendations of the study is to bring more efficient agricultural practices, particularly in the livestock sector, to the developing world. Developing countries’ livestock herds produce most of the greenhouse gases from livestock production worldwide, but half of the world’s milk and beef. Making the livestock sector more efficient would lower greenhouse gas production while raising the actual farm production.
Said Lomberg: “My think-tank asked 27 top climate economists to explore all the feasible policy responses, and the conclusion was that the best long-term investment is in green energy R&D. For every dollar spent, $11 of climate damages would be avoided.
“That makes much more sense than today’s climate approach, which mostly does more harm than good.”