Gassy cows and pigs will face a carbon tax in Denmark, a world first

Denmark is the first country in the world to tax livestock farmers on greenhouse gases produced by their cows and sheep. Methane, one of global warming’s most powerful gases, is a major contributor to the emissions.

Jeppe Bruus, Minister of Taxation, stated that the goal is to reduce Danish greenhouse gases emissions by 70% compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

In 2030, Danish livestock producers will pay 300 kroner (43 dollars) per tonne of equivalent carbon dioxide. By 2035, the tax will rise to 750 kroner (108 dollars). The actual cost per tonne will begin at 120 kroner (17.3), but due to a 60% income tax deduction, it will increase to 300 by 2035.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, although carbon dioxide is usually given more attention in relation to climate change, methane traps 87 times as much heat over a period of 20 years.

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Since 2020, methane levels, which are emitted by sources such as landfills, oil, natural gas and livestock, increased remarkably. According to the U.N., livestock accounts for approximately 32% of all human-caused emissions of methane. Environment Program.

Bruus added that Denmark would be the “first country in the World to introduce a CO2 tax on Agriculture” and hoped that other countries would follow.

New Zealand passed a law similar to this one in 2025. The law was removed on Wednesday, after heavy criticism by farmers and the change in government from the center-left to the center-right ruling bloc at the 2023 elections. New Zealand announced that it would not include agriculture in its emissions trading scheme, but instead explore other ways to reduce the methane.

Methane is produced by the fermentation of their digestive juices, which they release through their mouths. Most of the belched gas comes from cows. The remaining 10% is mostly from manure ponds, both on pig and cow operations.

The center-right Danish government reached an agreement late Monday with representatives of the farming industry, unions and other groups. It was presented on Tuesday.

Denmark’s decision comes after months of protests from farmers in Europe against the climate change mitigation measures that they claim are driving them into bankruptcy.

The Danish Society for Nature Conservation (the largest environmental and nature conservation organization in Denmark) described the tax agreement, as a “historic compromise.”

After the discussions, Maria Reumert Gjerding, the head of the group said: “We’ve succeeded in landing on a compromise regarding a CO2 Tax. This lays the foundation for a restructured Food Industry — even on the other side 2030.”

A typical Danish cow emits 6 metric tonnes (6.6 tons) CO2 equivalent annually. Denmark, a major dairy and pork exporter will also tax pigs, despite the fact that cows emit far more emissions than pigs.

The bill will be passed after a broad consensus.

Statistic Denmark reports that as of June 30 2022 there will be 1,484,377 cattle in Scandinavia, a slight decrease from the previous year.