On Tuesday, New Zealand proposed a novel approach to combating climate change by taxing farm animal burps and pee, according to the Associated Press.
According to a statement from Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s office, the tax would be the first of its kind.
“No other country in the world has yet developed a system for pricing and reducing agricultural emissions, so our farmers will benefit from being first movers,” according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
The initiative would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with Arden’s administration suggesting that farmers could recoup lost income from taxes by charging more for products, according to the Associated Press.
“This is an important step forward in New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions future and fulfils our promise to price agricultural emissions beginning in 2025,” according to the release.
Dairy is New Zealand’s largest export, and farmers are outraged by the proposal. CNN reported that, despite having only 5 million people, the country has approximately 10 million beef and dairy cattle and 26 million sheep. As a result, farms now account for half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Cattle, in particular, emit greenhouse gases such as methane from their burps and nitrous oxide from their urine. These two gases contribute to global warming.
According to the Associated Press, the plan would force farmers to sell their properties and leave.
Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said in a statement, “Our plan was to keep farmers farming.” “Now they’ll be selling up so fast you won’t even hear the dogs barking on the back of the ute as they drive off.”
Lawmakers opposed to the plan have argued that it could increase emissions in other parts of the world as new places pick up the demand.
The proposed plan would take effect in 2025 but no tax rate has been proposed yet, the AP reported.