Ethical Issues in Mitigation of Climate Change: The Option of Reduced Meat Production and Consumption



In this paper I discuss ethical issues related to mitigation of climate change. In particular, I focus on mitigation of climate change to the extent this change is caused by livestock production. I support the view—on which many different ethical approaches converge—that the present generation has a moral obligation to mitigate climate change for the benefit of future generations and that developed countries should take the lead in the process. Moreover, I argue that since livestock production is an important contributing factor to climate change, we should undertake mitigation measures also in this sector and not only in, for example, the transport and energy sectors. However, technological solutions do not seem sufficient in the livestock sector, leaving us with the option of reduced meat production and consumption. In order to reach significant results in mitigation of climate change, political steering seems necessary. With this in mind, I argue in favor of a tax on meat consumption.


Climate change Livestock production Meat consumption Meat tax 



This article is written within the framework of a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council. I have received valuable input from the other participants Bo Algers, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Henrik Lerner. I am also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Applied EthicsLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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