Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Climate Change: National isn't serious

Agriculture is our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 48% of the total. It follows that meeting any credible emissions reduction target requires cutting agricultural emissions, most likely by having fewer cows. But National thinks people shouldn't be allowed to even discuss that option:

National's climate change spokesperson Todd Muller has criticised Te Papa museum for an exhibition he says is "biased and not science based".

The museum's Climate Converter interactive exhibition has an option labelled 'less dairying' as one way New Zealand can reduce its carbon footprint.

Mr Muller said that was a "kick in the guts" for rural families.

The Climate Converter allows users to pick a conservation option and watch the results on an animated mural.

Te Papa said it was based on a scientific report and the 'less dairy' option was one of 14 possible actions represented.

That report (from the Royal Society of New Zealand) is here. It looks at what our options are and the implications of various sorts of emissions reductions (an "emissions wedge" approach). It does this for every sector: electricity, transport, buildings, and of course agriculture. And because the Royal society doesn't believe in magic, or in hope as a policy, it focuses on things which actually work: like reducing the number of cows, rather than magic emissions-reduction vaccines which don't exist yet.

Todd Muller, the National Party, and Federated Farmers might not like that. But that's the scientific reality: if we are to reduce emissions significantly, we need fewer cows. Its that simple. And their refusal to consider this and opposition to people talking about it suggests strongly that they are not interested in significant emissions reductions. In other words, they are simply not serious about climate change, our biggest policy challenge. They're simply a pack of deniers and foot-draggers, unfit for government.