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Examine reveals the potential local weather and sustainability co-benefits of decreasing sugar consumption

Lowering sugar consumption would have vital advantages within the battle towards local weather change, in addition to within the restoration from the well being and financial crises related to the coronavirus pandemic. That is the conclusion of a research by the Institute of Environmental Science and Know-how of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) that analyses the potential local weather and sustainability co-benefits of decreasing sugar consumption by means of redirecting present sugar cropland to various makes use of.

The research, revealed at present within the scientific journal Nature Sustainability, highlights that sugar taxation insurance policies have the potential to fulfill these competing targets 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 research, carried out 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, specifically 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 might fall by 20.9–54.3 MtCO2e per yr below the primary situation (determine). These financial savings could be double these from the second situation and round 4 instances greater than these below the third situation.

The research 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 influence on farmers in each the EU and Brazil would subsequently be minimal, leading to an equitable specialization throughout nations that gives welfare beneficial properties by means of decreasing adverse externalities. “It gives a transparent instance of how broad collaboration might help direct society in a extra sustainable route”, says ICREA analysis professor at ICTA-UAB, Jeroen van den Bergh.

Attaining this discount in sugar consumption would possible contain an identical method that has helped the EU significantly scale back its tobacco consumption over the previous many years: schooling and insurance policies aimed toward behavioral change, with a critical position for taxation. Sugar taxation has been proven to be each efficient and politically common in nations such because the UK, and thus presents a promising coverage instrument to not directly contribute in direction of attaining local weather change targets. Sugar taxation is not going to have an effect on solely finish use but in addition scale back sugar use by manufacturing sectors, resembling drinks.

For sustainability insurance policies to be each environment friendly and efficient, we should contemplate the complete influence throughout the three – environmental, social, and financial – pillars. Altering 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 adverse 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 targets. Nature Sustainability.



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