Carbon pricing of food in Australia: an analysis of the health, environmental and public finance impacts.
Springmann M., Sacks G., Ananthapavan J., Scarborough P.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the impact of integrating the price of greenhouse gas emissions into the price of food commodities on dietary and weight-related risk factors and associated disease burden in Australia, as well as on national emissions reductions and public revenues. METHODS: We used country-specific data for Australia to build a coupled modelling framework that includes economic, environmental and health analyses. Data sources included the 2011-12 Australian food and nutrition survey, meta-analysis of food-related lifecycle emissions, and price and income elasticities. Consumption-related changes in disease burden were calculated using a comparative risk assessment framework with 11 disease states and seven diet and weight-related risk factors. RESULTS: Including a price of $23 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-eq) - the starting price of the former Australian carbon pricing mechanism - into the price of food commodities in our model simulations led to 49,500 avoided disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) (95% confidence interval [CI] 43,200-55,200). Food-related greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 6% (2.3 MtCO2-eq), and greenhouse gas tax revenues amounted to $866 million. CONCLUSION: Incorporating the price of food-related greenhouse gas emissions into the price of food commodities in Australia could be beneficial for population health, while generating public finance revenues and supporting Australia's emission-reduction commitment. Implications for public health: Climate policies that integrate the price of greenhouse gas emissions into the price of food commodities in Australia are compatible with public health objectives to reduce diet-related disease mortality.