Burp Tax

Burp Tax

Context: New Zealand recently announced the scrapping of the ‘burp tax’, a scheme introduced in 2022 to tax greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.


• The tax aimed to curtail methane emissions from ruminant species, which are responsible for nearly half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
• Ruminants like cows, sheep, goats, and buffaloes have a unique digestive system that facilitates the breakdown of otherwise  indigestible food through fermentation.
• This process produces methane (a potent greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global warming since preindustrial times), primarily emitted through burping by ruminant animals.
• The burp tax faced strong opposition from farmers, who argued it would harm their livelihoods, particularly when coupled with other agricultural emission regulations.
• Livestock products contribute more greenhouse gas emissions than many other food sources due to factors such as feed production, enteric fermentation, animal waste, and land use changes.
• Livestock supply chains account for 14.5% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

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