This blog is written by Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Posts appear Monday & Wednesday.
Carbon taxes at the gas pump are just the beginning. Oxford University researchers think we should pay carbon taxes on food.
Even in the most affluent parts of the world, food banks are a permanent fixture. UK food bank usage is reportedly at a record high. Food Banks Canada distributes non-perishables via 500 outlets. Meanwhile, the Feeding America Network – which includes 200 food banks and “60,000 food pantries and meal programs” – tells us that millions of senior citizens on fixed incomes have difficulty affording sufficient food, and that 1 in 6 US children are at risk of hunger at least some of the time.
Many people, therefore, are struggling. In the here and now. But never fear, over at Oxford University there’s an entire department devoted to the Future of Food. Its primary concern isn’t those in their twilight years who are, at this moment, borderline malnourished.
Instead, their concern is with imaginary problems. The kind that may or may not develop decades from now. In a world awash in concrete and immediate challenges, academics are nevertheless confident they have something useful to say about what might happen 35 years hence. The front page of the Future of Food website talks about climate change, which it says could cause deaths in 2050. And about plant-based diets, which could save lives. As far as I can tell, this is an entire academic edifice built on nothing more than speculation, shaky assumption piled upon shaky assumption.
Last month, four researchers affiliated with Oxford’s Future of Food programme published a paper that discusses “levying greenhouse gas taxes on food.”
That paper talks calmly, glibly about making milk and meat more expensive. On purpose. Deliberately. Via government intervention.
Climate change is scary. It has the power to turn intelligent people into zealots who behave as if children with empty bellies don’t actually matter.
Read the research paper here.
Read a news story here.