Denmark to bring in $144.5/head methane tax

Sheep Central July 1, 2024

DENMARK has become the latest country to make plans for taxing livestock methane emissions – with its government making a deal with its dairy industry to implement a $144.5 (672 krone)/cow/year tax by 2030.

The plan at this stage appears to be for dairy cattle and it is unclear what beef cattle or sheep producers are going to have to pay.

It is the most specific plan, Sheep Central is aware of, put in place by a government to tax methane emissions. The plan has been welcomed by the dairy industry but some media reports are suggesting it has angered local farmers.

The Danish Government is planning to return proceeds of the tax to industry to assist with re-foresting some areas and other “green” initiatives – the package is worth 40b krone or about AU$8.6b.

“With today’s agreement, we are investing billions in the biggest restructuring of the Danish landscape in recent times,” Danish foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said.

“We create much more nature, a cleaner water environment, grow much more forest and make it possible to develop agriculture for the green competition of the future. At the same time, we will be the first country in the world with a CO2 tax on agriculture. It is another example of what we can achieve when we conduct politics across the middle.”

Other attempts to tax methane

Several other attempts to either tax methane or enforce reduction of cattle herds to reduce methane emissions have been canvassed in recent years – which have been unpopular with local livestock industries.

The Netherlands was planning to buy out thousands of farms in the name of reducing methane and nitrogen emissions, which resulted in widespread protests from farmers blocking supermarket distribution centres and clogging up cities with tractors. Politicians campaigning against the legislation have had some success in recent elections.

New Zealand’s previous Jacinda Ardern-led Government proposed to implement what became known as a burp tax for sheep and cattle which also drew widespread protests. A new Government has been elected with promises to reverse the tax.

The Irish industry is also being legislated to reduce methane emissions by 25pc, with some saying the country can do it through genetic improvement and others saying it will reduce herd sizes. The impact it has had on the electorate is unclear.


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