While the Government is mercilessly hammering farming on methane because it is easy, low-hanging fruit to meeting climate change commitments other sectors continue to pump carbon dioxide.
Coal-powered stations, cars and air travel are among the worst offenders. Aviation was left out of the Kyoto agreement but is a major cause of carbon dioxide emissions. The hypocrisy is that politicians are calling for drastic uneconomic cuts to farming and fossil fuel emissions but have no qualms about flying all over the world.
Even the Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says oil companies are not welcome and then the next day hopped on a plane to China.
People not animals are the major cause of carbon dioxide emissions. Our population is now 4.8 million. and more than 4m tourists now visit NZ each year.
Cutting livestock numbers on farms will have a serious impact on the economy. The resulting drop in the standard of living is being ignored.
Lincoln University Professor Keith Woodford writes that if a time horizon of 500 years not 100 years was used, methane falls by a factor of more than three. Gross methane emissions from NZ ruminants have been static for the past 30 years. Net emissions are close to zero.
See: https://keithwoodford.wordpress. com/2019/05/31/why-methane-is-different/#more-2030
This month I’ve been travelling around Southland and Tararua looking at the impact of forestry.
Southland communities were hit by an influx of gum trees back in the 1990s. Farming had staggered out of Rogernomics and farmgate prices were low. This made it easy for Japanese to buy up prime farmland.
In Tararua, Pongaroa is facing destruction from farms being sold for blanket plantings of pine trees.
The billion-tree programme is wrongly blamed for the blanket planting of good farmland when the real cause is the Government’s generous carbon credit subsidy. There is also an easy route through the Overseas Investment Office process for foreign companies buying land for forestry. It is becoming a programme of rural depopulation.
Even anthropology professor Dame Anne Salmond, 2013 New Zealander of the Year, has criticised the large-scale planting of pine trees given it is a monoculture and log prices are collapsing. Native trees, not pines should be planted.
The biggest crime is that carbon foresters can be paid in credits worth $25/tonne for 50 years then just leave the trees standing. No export earnings from the trees, no employment.
They should be made to log a plantation after 30 years and replant it in natives.
And it should be on steep, marginal land not fit for pastoral farming.