March 16, 2009

Swedish Parliament discusses meat tax to mitigate climate change

“How to Reduce Meat Consumption’s Climate Impacts” was the title of a recent seminar and panel discussion at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. The Head of the Nordic Office for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Christina Engfeldt, spoke of the organization’s concern about the impact of the livestock industry on climate change, world hunger and human health. Distinguished scientists specializing in environment and agriculture also presented their findings, including a possible meat tax. Also present were members of the Swedish Parliament, including European Parliament member Jens Holm. This meeting came just days after the multi-language release of Mr. Holm’s co-authored report, “The Livestock Industry and the Climate,” along with the launch of the new information resource website,

Supreme Master Television had a chance to interview some of the speakers.

Dr. Stefan Wirsenius, Physics and resource theory scientist, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden (M): You can design a consumption tax scheme on food that is based on the amount of greenhouse gases each category of food emits, in a way that you actually increase the tax on those commodities like meat, that emits more, especially beef and lamb meat, and decrease the value-added tax that we have in many European countries for, like beans. That could be a very good option.

Christina Engfeldt – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Head of the Nordic Office (F): All these decisions will have to be taken at a political and institutional level. We will have to put a price on land areas for growing food, for fodder, for water, for waste management.

VOICE: We asked Ms. Engfeldt what would be the picture if no action was taken on the unsustainable livestock industry.

Christina Engfeldt – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Head of the Nordic Office (F): Then we will double the negative effects on the environment and we are already at an untenable, unsustainable level when it comes to waste management, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, to destruction of natural resources, land, water, ecosystems, biological diversity. And then again, we will not find a way to live healthy lives a few years from now, and our children and grandchildren will inherit a very polluted world.

If more people would choose to live a healthier life, and have a more balanced diet, eat less meat, or preferably no meat, we could ensure that we would decrease environmental degradation, and we could decrease world hunger, and more people would be able to look forward to a better life in the future.

To see the report co-issued by European Parliament Member Jens Holm, please visit,, or

VOICE: We wholeheartedly agree with the call of Ms. Engfeldt, Dr. Wirsenius, Swedish Parliament members, and others for urgent measures toward sustainability, including reducing the impact of meat consumption on the environment. We pray that the world’s governments will step forward in wise actions to pass on a planet that supports the lives of our children and all beings on Earth.

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