Danish expert committee proposes CO2 emissions tax for agriculture

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish expert committee proposes CO2 emissions tax for agriculture
Recommendations for an emissions tax on agriculture were presented by a Danish expert committee on Tuesday., Photo: Thomas Traasdahl/Ritzau Scanpix

An expert committee on Wednesday presented its proposals for a carbon tax for agriculture, which the Danish government has long sought to implement.


The committee proposed a relatively low starting level of 750 kroner per ton emitted, along with two other options. 

The report was originally due to be submitted last year but has been delayed. 

Notably, the committee said that the introduction of a CO2 emissions tax on agriculture would lead to several thousand job losses. This may be seen as a blow by the government, which has stated it does not want its policies to causes job losses or damage competitiveness in Danish agriculture.

However, the committee said that job losses could be recouped in other areas.

“They will be distributed in the rest of the economy. Around 800,000 people in Denmark change their job each year. They can find work in anything from retail to service to manufacturing businesses,” economics professor Michael Svarer, the head of the committee, said at a briefing.


In the model with the highest proposed rax of 750 kroner per ton emitted, a permanent loss of jobs of 8,000 persons is predicted.

All three of the proposed options would result in an initial loss of jobs. The medium option would cost 4,000 jobs and the lightest option – a tax of 125 kroner per ton emitted – would cost around 2,000 jobs.

The committee argues that those figures are small in the context of the volume of turnover on the labour market.

“There’s a high demand for labour in Denmark and has been for a long time. We are not concerned that if we do these things, they won’t find new jobs,” Svarer said.

In isolation, employment in the agriculture sector would fall by 10 percent with the highest tax and 2 percent for the lowest tax.

Rural regions like West Jutland, where agriculture is a major employer, would be more severely affected.

Opponents of the planned CO2 tax have expressed concerns about a loss of jobs and competitiveness against foreign agriculture sectors which don’t have a similar tax. They also say that emissions would simply be moved abroad, and not prevented altogether, if Denmark taxes its agriculture on emissions.

The economic committee said that around 3 percent of jobs and emissions would relocate abroad due to the tax.

Denmark’s politicians have set a long-term target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent in 2030 compared to 1990.

The committee was asked to produce recommendations for an emissions tax on agriculture to contribute to this target without costing jobs.

But the expert group said it is not possible to deliver a model that meets both criteria.

The committee also calculated how the carbon tax will affect the price of products like meat and milk for consumers in Denmark.


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