Study reveals the potential local weather and sustainability co-benefits of lowering sugar consumption
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Reducing sugar consumption would have vital advantages within the combat in opposition to local weather change, in addition to within the restoration from the well being and financial crises related to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the conclusion of a examine by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) that analyses the potential local weather and sustainability co-benefits of lowering sugar consumption by means of redirecting present sugar cropland to various makes use of.

The examine, revealed immediately within the scientific journal Nature Sustainability, highlights that sugar taxation insurance policies have the potential to satisfy these competing goals as sugar is arguably one of many worst meals to eat from a well being perspective whereas it has nice potential for biofuel manufacturing.

The examine, performed by Lewis King and Jeroen van den Bergh from ICTA-UAB evaluates the reorientation of present sugar cropland for various makes use of. The authors look at three eventualities, particularly the EU reforesting its present sugar cropland, the EU switching its sugar beet crops to ethanol manufacturing, and the EU exporting its extra sugar manufacturing whereas Brazil switches its sugarcane crops from sugar to ethanol manufacturing.

Calculations point out that emissions may fall by 20.9–54.3 MtCO2e per 12 months underneath the primary situation (determine). These financial savings could be double these from the second situation and round 4 occasions increased than these underneath the third situation.

The examine finds that an EU-Brazil settlement with the EU specializing in sugar manufacturing from sugar beet and Brazil producing ethanol from sugarcane would offer the best environmental advantages to society. Sugarcane ethanol manufacturing has already proved to be an economically viable various to sugar in Brazil. The financial affect on farmers in each the EU and Brazil would due to this fact be minimal, leading to an equitable specialization throughout nations that gives welfare features by means of lowering unfavorable externalities. “It provides a clear example of how broad collaboration can help direct society in a more sustainable direction”, says ICREA analysis professor at ICTA-UAB, Jeroen van den Bergh.

Achieving this discount in sugar consumption would possible contain an analogous strategy that has helped the EU significantly cut back its tobacco consumption over the previous many years: training and insurance policies aimed toward behavioral change, with a critical position for taxation. Sugar taxation has been proven to be each efficient and politically in style in nations such because the UK, and thus presents a promising coverage instrument to not directly contribute in direction of reaching local weather change targets. Sugar taxation won’t have an effect on solely finish use but in addition cut back sugar use by manufacturing sectors, reminiscent of drinks.

For sustainability insurance policies to be each environment friendly and efficient, we should contemplate the complete affect throughout the three – environmental, social, and financial – pillars. Changing how we use sugar crops presents an interesting technique from this attitude as sugar is arguably the least environment friendly crop for use as meals, aside even from its unfavorable well being impacts; furthermore, it’s the most effective crop for biofuel from a internet power perspective.”

Lewis King, ICTA-UAB researcher and first writer of the article


Journal reference:

King, L.C & van den Bergh, J., (2022) Sugar taxation for local weather and sustainability objectives. Nature Sustainability.

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