climate damaging foods
13. september 2016

Climate damaging foods

The report discusses the phenomenon of The Ethical Consumer – the notion that consumers through their consumption take responsibility for the ethical problems that the production of food may cause.

The Council discusses if, in some situations, consumers could be said to have an obligation to take such considerations into account, and if, in some cases, we should impose regulatory instruments such as prohibitions, taxes or labelling instead of leaving the responsibility to the individual consumer.

This first part of the report focus on one area: Climate-damaging food products.

14 out of 17 council members recommend putting a tax on beef. The main reason is beef's massive contribution to climate change which is seen as a serious ethical problem because it harms other people and constitutes a serious threat to the global society's development and to nature. Therefore the moral responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emission should be shouldered by all citizens in solidarity, and not left entirely to the individual consumer.

Ideally, taxes should be imposed on any food based on its degree of climate impact, and ideally joint international initiatives should be pursued, because the problem is supranational and emissions do not respect national borders. Effective efforts should therefore be international, and the members encourage the Danish government to work for such agreements in order to reduce the climate impact of food. But in the short term, putting a tax on the most climate-damaging food, meat from ruminants, would probably be the most feasible solution.

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Climate damaging foods

Get the report