Monday, June 23, 2003

Farmers bleating for a free ride

NZPols has a couple of excellent posts on the proposed livestock "fart tax". I really don't see what all the fuss is about. We tax cigarettes and petrol to offset the costs to society of their use; why should sheep and cows get a free ride?

The farmers in fact are getting off lightly. Farm animals contribute over 50% of our greenhouse emissions, but they're being slapped with a measley $0.09 a sheep. That's because the government doesn't want to discourage farming, but instead wants to pump some money into public good science to research whether those emissions can be decreased. And in the long-term, it's good for farmers, because those emissions are lost energy - any decrease in them means fatter sheep, and therefore more money.

But instead, the farmers would rather externalise their costs. Fuck that. I'm not going to be allowed to externalise the cost of my fossil-fuel usage for much longer, so why the fuck should farmers get to dump their emissions for free?