On 24th June 2024, animal farmers in Denmark agreed with the government to pay taxes for emitting greenhouse pollutants, which would be the world’s first emissions tax on animal agriculture. When formally approved, farmers will have to pay 120 kroner (£14) per ton of greenhouse gas pollution from farmed animals in 2030, which will rise to 300 kroner per ton in 2035. Environmental groups have also been part of the agreement’s negotiations.  

The funds raised with this tax will be used to support the animal agriculture industry’s green transition for at least two years after the tax comes into effect. Jacob Jensen, Danish farming minister, said, “We are writing a new chapter in Danish agricultural history.”

Nicolai Wammen, Denmark’s finance minister, said to the Guardian, “We know that a CO2 tax model aligned across all sectors gives us the lowest societal costs in total. What we have now done, from industry sectors to agriculture, shows us that an ambitious green transition is possible.”

The previous week, New Zealand scrapped its plans to tax its agricultural emissions from 2025 after resistance from farmers, so Denmark has become the first country to make such a progressive policy — but hopefully not the last. This may seem like small progress, but it is a significant step toward the vegan world, as it incentivises farmers to switch to plant-based agriculture. Denmark is one of Europe’s biggest producers of flesh from pigs and a significant producer of cow’s flesh and milk, which makes this step particularly important. 

The agreement must still be voted on by Denmark’s lawmakers, but, if passed, it is expected to cut CO2 emissions by 1.8m tons in 2030. It includes the creation of a 40bn-kroner fund to protect nature, restore degraded ecosystems, and create new wildlife spaces such as forests and wetlands.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.