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Save the Cows

A Commentary By Stephen Moore

   Enjoy your cheeseburgers and steaks when you fire up the grill this Fourth of July weekend, because they may not be available much longer.

   That's because the climate fanatics have declared war on livestock. Turns out the biggest planet killers are apparently cows. That's the only logical takeaway from a recent CNN headline that informs us that the "World's first carbon tax on livestock will cost farmers $100 per cow."

   I don't usually pay too much attention to looney-tune ideas from across the Atlantic, but this is the kind of craziness that migrates across the ocean to these shores.

   Denmark's $96-a-cow tax is to be imposed "for the planet-heating emissions they generate."

   If you are wondering why cows are suddenly supervillains, you aren't paying attention to the extremists running the environmental movement. You see, every time a cow burps or passes gas (methane, to be exact), the planet gets warmer. The fiends!

   So now we have the first nation to impose a tax on livestock -- and pigs and goats may be next. Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen boasts that "we are investing billions" in this transition to a carbon-free society. Sounds like he's angling for a Nobel Prize. The cows are collateral damage in this crusade to save the planet from heat waves.

   CNN says the global food system contributes one-third of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

   PBS says it's worse than that. It finds that "cows and other livestock animals are responsible for about 40 percent of methane emissions -- a potent greenhouse gas. In digesting their high fiber diet, cows emit methane as a byproduct, making them one of the least climate friendly sources of food on the planet."

   Off with their heads.

   My prediction is that within the next 18 months, some members of Congress (AOC?) will propose a similar tax on Bessie here.

   I suppose I should take some consolation that at least we finally have liberals admitting that if you tax something, you will get less of it. More taxes on cows means fewer cattle. That's the idea here.

   So why do we tax work, saving and investment? Do we want less of those too?

   What is sadly ironic about this taxing scheme is that this is the same movement that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to save elephants, polar bears, pandas, tigers, dolphins and other "endangered species." But apparently cows we can live without. They aren't cute and cuddly enough. So much for "biodiversity."

   Where is this all headed? The species apparently responsible for almost all the carbon emissions is human beings. We are the real scoundrels here. We burn coal, wood, oil and gas to bring light and heat and cooling and factories and hospitals and schools.

   Maybe we need a birth tax on humans to save the planet. What's the old saying: This would be a great planet if there weren't so many people -- and cows. Maybe we need some public service ads riffing off the theme of the Chick-fil-A ads with cows urging people to "Eat Mor Chikin."

   In the meantime, do your part to clean the air this weekend. Give up the steaks, burgers and brats, and fill up on veggie burgers instead.

   Stephen Moore is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a senior economic advisor to Donald Trump. His latest book is: "Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy."


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See Other Commentaries by Stephen Moore.

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