Last month the New York Times published an article floating the idea of taxing beef to combat climate change. Here’s our response:
To the Editor:
Instead of taxing beef, we should tax silver bullet “solutions.” Richard Conniff’s “The Case for a Carbon Tax on Beef” (Sunday Review, March 17) relies on bad science that fails to distinguish between feedlots and pastures. All beef is not equal: when cattle are raised on pasture in well-managed, high-welfare ecosystems they can store carbon, support rural communities and produce high-quality, nutrient-rich protein.
Taxing pasture-raised beef like feedlot beef will only put sustainable farmers out of business. And what will replace unaffordable beef? Industrial chicken with a side of superbugs, dead zones and indentured farmers? Lab meat whose only achievement is lucrative IPOs?
The author acknowledges a beef tax is unrealistic and a carbon tax critical. With climate disaster looming we need practicable solutions, not fruitless thought exercises. Farmers are amazing innovators already responding to market demand. People who enjoy beef and care about climate change—or animal welfare, public health or rural economies—can seek trusted third-party certifications like Certified Grassfed by A Greener World for food that matches their values, right now, tax-free.
Director of Communications
A Greener World