It's no secret that some green activists have a profound dislike for gasses and products of varying types and want governments to ban their use (natural gas-powered appliances being a prime example).
But the most ardent green campaigners also have a thing against cows. Cattle, you see, are prodigious produces of methane gas – a potent greenhouse gas. As such these same campaigners are out to do whatever is necessary to cut down on the number of cattle as a way to cut methane emissions.
But banning cattle is tough. Instead, they are looking at what could be called powerful “nudges” – taxes, mandates, and regulations – to make meat and dairy products too expensive for the average consumer to purchase.
It's a triple bank shot way of making the world go vegetarian…to save the planet. As the Wall Street Journal's Allysia Finley writes:
California requires dairy and livestock operations statewide to reduce methane emissions to 40% below 2013 levels by 2030. Sacramento plans to achieve this target with costly regulations that drive farmers out of business. Consider the state's mandates that more space be given to farm animals under the guise of improving animal welfare. The real purpose of these regulations is to increase the cost of livestock production and thus reduce farmers' output.
California's farming rules will have a national effect, because they apply to any livestock raised in the U.S. and then sold in the state. Thousands of pork producers nationwide warn they may be forced to shut down because of the high cost of compliance. Congressional members from 21 farm states this summer introduced legislation to block California from regulating farmers outside its borders—much to the consternation of green groups.
But green advocates aren't entirely coercive. Like well-practiced statists everywhere, they are keen on subsidies, too:
California and the federal government also provide regulatory credits for dairy farms to capture methane from manure. These credits are literal cash cows, worth nearly $2,000 a head. An April 2022 presentation at the California Air Resources Board titled “What's Worth More: A Cow's Milk or Its Poop?” mused that these subsidies might become so rich that farmers may begin to “farm methane rather than milk.”
The thing about the Air Resource Board presentation is this doesn't have to be a binary choice. Using cow flatulence as an energy source makes good sense.
As for punitive taxation on meat and dairy products…that's just extracting wealth from those who can least afford it and handing the proceeds to the state. The well off will still be able to get whatever they want. The less fortunate? It's tough to be you, but this is for the Earth, after all. Pipe down and eat your carrots.