Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Botswana beef faces fresh EU threat

Botswana beef exports face future threats from international green lobby groups that are campaigning for tax on meat consumption in a bid to fight global warming.

It has emerged that the ecological impact (carbon footprint) of beef production in Botswana is higher than that of European Union countries, which provides the biggest market for Botswana beef. The issue of Botswana’s big carbon footprint came to the fore this week as Norwegian farmers mounted an opposition to a host of proposals from a government appointed “green tax committee” designated to cut emissions. This includes introducing a carbon tax on red meat or red meat consumption and reducing government subsidies on red meat production.

Norway provides a bid market for Botswana Beef. Norwegian farmers are however arguing that green tax committee proposals are counterproductive as they would increase meat prices and imports on red meat. They pointed out that this would increase the global carbon footprint of beef production because major exporters of beef to Norway like Botswana have a much higher carbon footprint that that for Norwegian beef.

In 2014, 43% of beef imported into Norway came from Botswana, Uruguay, Namibia, Swaziland and Brazil and the carbon footprint from their beef production was four times higher than for Norwegian beef. This comes at a time when there is a growing campaign in the European Union for a tax on meat consumption in a bid to fight global warming. There is also a growing body of evidence that meat production increases global warming, abuses the water supply and leads to a loss of biodiversity. To address the harms of consuming meat there is currently a campaign in the EU for member states to enact a tax law.

The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world. All agricultural practices have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production arepollution through fossil fuel usage, and water and land consumption. Meat is obtained through a variety of methods, including organic farming, free range farming, intensive livestock production, subsistence agriculture, hunting, and fishing.

A report Livestock’s Long Shadow, released by theFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, states that “the livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources ofgreenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.”

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