Why a global carbon policy could have a dramatic impact on the pattern of the worldwide livestock production

Misak Avetisyan, Alla Golub, Thomas Hertel, Steven Rose, Benjamin Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The taxation of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) represents an efficient means of achieving climate change mitigation, and this is often the starting point in any discussion of long run global GHG reduction. However, the direct effects of such a tax, or equivalently, an emissions trading scheme, will vary across countries and sectors according to the emissions intensity of the sector. We report, for the first time, estimates of such livestock emissions intensities for all regions of the world and decompose the intensities to understand the sources of regional variation. Our findings indicate that most of the variation is due to differences in the value of output per animal in different regions, which in turn is due to regional differences in output per animal (yield) and dollar per unit output (price). Animals with relatively low annual output values tend to be characterized by higher economic emissions intensities. We find this to be the case in many developing countries. Livestock activity in these high emissions intensity regions are hit especially hard by an emissions tax, resulting in disproportionate reductions in output and consumption in many regions already suffering from malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberppr026
Pages (from-to)584-605
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • CGE model
  • Emissions intensity
  • GHG taxation
  • Livestock emissions


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