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Study: Meat Prices Should Jump 146%

If they're to cover their associated climate costs, that is
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2020 12:31 PM CST
Organic Meat Production Is No Better for the Planet
Stock photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – You're doing the planet no favors by eating meat that was produced organically, at least when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions—and whatever meat you're eating, it should cost much, much more than it currently does. That's the determination of a new analysis based on German food production and published in Nature Communications. The analysis linked conventional livestock with elevated emissions due to the grain they eat—which can be imported or cause deforestation. Organic livestock avoid those imports and can be grass-fed, but here's the issue: They grow at a slower pace, meaning they emit more greenhouse gases via their manure and by burping methane; they also ultimately supply less meat. That was just part of the research: The other component involved looking at how meat should be priced in order to cover its associated climate costs.

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As the Guardian explains, under such a "meat tax" plan, "consumers eating climate-damaging diets would pay for their pollution, rather than the costs of increased storms, floods, and droughts being spread across everyone in society as they are today." Using a government estimate that puts the cost of climate damage at about $200 per ton of CO2, researchers with the University of Augsburg determined that conventional meat prices would need to increase by 146%, per Science Alert. Since organic meat is pricier to begin with, it would need a 71% increase. Conventional milk prices would need to jump by about 91%, and organic milk by 40%. Those who eat an organic plant-based diet would be in luck, as those prices would require a slim 6% increase. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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