Denmark proposes carbon tax on EU farmers

14 November 20232 min reading

In a controversial proposal, Denmark’s climate minister suggested imposing a carbon tax on European farmers. This move aims to integrate them into the EU’s emissions trading system, potentially reshaping the agricultural sector and its role in achieving the EU’s emissions reduction targets by 2040.

Lars Aagaard

Denmark’s climate minister, Lars Aagaard, has suggested that European farmers should be held accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions. The plan revolves around integrating agriculture into the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS), similar to sectors like power generation and heavy industry. However, this approach raises critical questions about its feasibility and implications. While Denmark seeks to reduce the EU’s emissions by 95% by 2040, the agricultural sector’s contribution is under scrutiny. Emissions from farming have only decreased by 3% between 2005 and 2021, a stark contrast to the power sector’s 37% reduction over the same period. Experts argue that such a move could favor larger, industrial-level farms, potentially disadvantaging smaller farmers. As this debate unfolds, the sensitive nature of the agricultural industry, its powerful lobby, and the potential for protest movements make it a complex issue to navigate.

The EU aims to address agricultural emissions, but previous attempts faced resistance, with no new measures expected before the upcoming EU elections. Policymakers have floated ideas like making supermarkets pay for emissions related to the food they sell. However, challenges related to the sector’s fragmentation and small-scale producers need careful consideration.

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