Thursday, April 25, 2024

ALTERNATIVE VIEW: CCC’s final report lack change

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It was interesting to read through the Climate Change Commission’s final report. I found the document an example of a bureaucratic process trying to please two masters: political and populist. It didn’t spin my wheels and didn’t seem a whole lot different from the original. Let’s start from the top.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Don’t blame agriculture. We’re a part of a long chain of issues over climate change and not the dominant player.

In addition, no one is working to protect the environment harder than farmers. That needs acknowledgement, as does the section in the Paris Accord, which exempts food production.

Suggesting that large amounts of dairy land will go into horticulture is fine. My question is, to produce what to sell to whom? Will the returns be anything like next year’s $8 payout? I doubt it.

Taking sheep and beef country for trees won’t do much for either the economy or our hill country breeding farms.

Those land-use changes would have our economy shrinking into obscurity.

The options for reducing stock numbers have been discussed at length. What products will take up the slack and what will they achieve?

Much is said about the pricing of agricultural emissions. It’s about how much farmers are to be taxed for our global footprint.

That will be interesting, especially considering research by Beef and Lamb that has shown sheep and beef farmers are carbon neutral now. It will be fascinating to see how the Government and the bureaucracy handle that one.

Greenpeace was quick to condemn the reports suggesting the document was a sop to the dairy industry. How little they know.

The report talks about electric cars, solar and wind power, and reducing the number of dairy cattle that we have.

All good stuff, which we’ve heard before.

Considering those initiatives I believe that electric cars are overhyped and don’t stand up to scrutiny.

The carbon footprint for the manufacture of an electric car is greater than that for a conventional model. Granted over their life they have lower total emissions, but what happens then? Where does the car and toxic battery end up? Talking batteries, they need lithium and cobalt that comes from Third World countries often using slave labour or near enough to it, but that’s another story.

Because of the state of our hydro lakes, charging those electric vehicles will be with electricity generated by coal. I wouldn’t call that green.

It is the same internationally. A mate sent me the Statista electricity generation figures and they make interesting reading. Worldwide electricity is generated by using coal (38%), natural gas (23%) hydro (16%) and nuclear (10%).

I would humbly suggest, in the light of those figures, that electricity isn’t green and won’t be in New Zealand in the near future.

I’ve heard the rhetoric about another hydro lake, Lake Onslow, but haven’t heard anything specific.

I’d respectfully suggest that without Lake Onslow we’ll still be burning coal.

We also read about wind power, which should be suited to NZ. The issues are simple. The carbon footprint of manufacturing the turbines is high and at the end of their life the turbines are buried. That creates a problem for the future.

I recently read that our lakes are a major source of methane production. It is caused by rotting vegetation on the lakebed. No one mentions it.

Putting it all in perspective.

NZ’s contribution to global warming is an infinitesimal .17%. It is a fraction of the global footprint of the US military and that isn’t going to change.

I can understand the rhetoric of wanting to be a good citizen, but if we cut our emissions in half, it isn’t going to achieve anything except making us feel good – almost saintly.

What we need to do is look at the big picture. Figure what we can really do to reduce the global footprint as against just that of NZ. Recent research by AgResearch has our farming sector as the most efficient in the world with both sheep and dairy. No one is close to us when it comes to a low-emissions production system.

In fact, NZ dairy emissions we’re 46% less than the average of 18 countries that were studied.

What we should be doing, in the interests of halting global warming, is to have NZ as one large dairy and sheep farm. That would mean that the less efficient producers could plant trees and that would further lower the world’s carbon footprint.

It is just a matter of the Government and the Climate Change Commission thinking outside of the square.

We shouldn’t be even contemplating a reduction in dairy cow numbers but an expansion. The world needs us to help reduce the awful, harmful and devastating effects of climate change and global warming.

Our solution is simple. We need more cows and we need more sheep.

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