The distributional and nutritional impacts and mitigation potential of emission-based food taxes in the UK

Agriculture and food production are responsible for a substantial proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. An emission based food tax has been proposed as one option to reduce food related emissions. This study introduces a method to measure the impacts of emission based food taxes at a household level which involves the use of data augmentation to account for the fact that the data record purchases and not consumption. The method is applied to determine the distributional and nutritional impacts of an emission based food tax across socio-economic classes in the UK. We find that a tax of £2.841/tCO2e on all foods would reduce food related emissions by 6.3 % and a tax on foods with above average levels of emissions would reduce emissions by 4.3 %. The tax burden falls disproportionately on households in the lowest socio-economic class because they tend to spend a larger proportion of their food expenditure on emission intensive foods and because they buy cheaper products and therefore experience relatively larger price increases.

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