Thursday, June 15, 2017

Climate change: PR, not pollution reduction

Climate change is getting serious, and its looking inevitable that New Zealand farmers will have to start paying for their share of emissions, just like everybody else. They don't want to, of course - farming's entire business model seems to be to profit by dumping environmental costs on others - so DairyNZ has suddenly announced a new plan to "fix" the problem:

The dairy industry is stepping up moves to curb greenhouse gas emissions using "farmer champions" who will show other farmers the steps that can be taken.

In pilot trials, 100 farmers will have their livestock methane emissions recorded as part of environmental performance reporting, and 60 rural professionals will be trained in Massey University's greenhouse gas course.

Note what's not part of the plan: cutting cow numbers or reducing fertiliser use, or even planting more trees - the three biggest things farmers could do to reduce their pollution. But this isn't about reducing pollution - its about appearing to do something so they don't have to.

In this, DairyNZ echoes the New Zealand government, which for decades has "responded" to climate change with promises of "research". Oddly though, such research never actually results in action to reduce emissions. But if we are to solve this problem, that's what we actually need to do. And as our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, farmers need to step up and do their share, rather than being subsidised by the rest of us.