Should we tax our cows for farting


Active member
Makes sense, even if it sounds like a funny headline. If we're going to start introducing carbon taxes to incentivise industry into making their processes more carbon-friendly, then this is no different to asking any other industry to adopt better approaches. From an agricultural point-of-view cows and sheep are nothing more than another part of their production process, and changing their diet can reduce carbon emissions.


Well-known member
Mostly methane actually, not carbon.

I was always a bit of a skeptic regarding reducing methane because, although it's a (very) bad greenhouse gas, it degrades naturally in our atmosphere so is only a short term issue. However this interesting talk on the subject changed my view somewhat:


Surely you just outsource the problem?

We've binned off a lot of our industry as it is polluting, but instead of reducing consumption, we now import from countries with worse practices, resulting in a net increase in emissions.

If NZ taxes it's farmers, people will buy from elsewhere, where meat can be produced more cheaply.

If we actually want to reduce our impact, we need to consume less and that includes everything, not just meat.

I had an interesting conversation with my wife last night, after finishing a review on a planning pack for a hyperscale data centre I'm working on. Does anyone consider the impact of their superfast internet, or the millions of photos and videos held on cloud storage? The amount of energy consumed to run these data centres is astounding. Then you have the issue of (typically diesel) back-up generators that are routinely tested, clocking up huge emissions over the year, which are there to provide resilience in the event of a power outage, even though there are multiple redundant connections and a power outage is virtually impossible. All these emissions are simply to give peace of mind that there won't be a 1 in 1 million chance of a 13 second drop-out on the internet.

We really have our priorities mixed up!


Active member
I think we want to avoid ruining what ever we actually still do in this country , we have so much coming in from over seas because it’s cheaper we actually cause more of a footprint than many people believe, these monster ships are not green that bring it all here for us .


Well-known member
Cloud storage (and crypto-mining etc.) is an energy nightmare about to happen - and there's little benefit that I can see over a dedicated hard drive, other than remoteness in case of fire, burglary or other house-damage. It takes longer to upload a file to the cloud than it does to save it to a hard drive on your desk, and for what? Obviously shared folders are a benefit for business and organisations, but for personal storage of personal files it's absurd, especially if they're just cat videos or a thousand different shots of your kid eating a trifle. Believe me, I get asked to look at these a lot ;)


I think there is a whole lot of things we can do to reduce methane from cows
1, dietary supplements can reduce methane
2, methane digesters
3, we as humans can reduce our red meat volume
maybe not the whole answer but like a lot of things we as humans have tended to bury our heads and have only suddenly realised we need to do more with what resource we have and how we deal with the waste
There was a legal case many years ago in which a vet inserted a tube into a cow to bypass an intestinal obstruction and, being a bit of a show-off, lit the emerging gas with his cigarette lighter. The flame was impressive, the cow panicked and ran into a barn full of hay which promptly caught fire and burned to the ground. The farmer sued the vet. The vet lost....
  • Wow
Reactions: Rob