Monday, March 01, 2021

Climate Change: Even dodgier accounting

Last year, Beef and Lamb New Zealand produced a bought-and-paid-for report claiming that their industry was already carbon neutral, so didn't need to do anything to reduce emissions. The report was full of obviously dodgy accounting - basicly, it didn't bother to follow international carbon accounting rules, because they would have given the "wrong" result. But it turns out that accounting was even dodgier than I thought:

Government scientists have busted research claims that our meat farms are close to carbon-neutral.


The ministry report found several faults with the industry study, which was authored by AUT researchers and peer-reviewed. Firstly, it didn’t account for the trees being chopped down each year.

Since more than 11,000 hectares of farmland are deforested, harvested or cleared each year on average, the ministry report factored this into its calculations.

The Beef + Lamb-backed research also significantly overestimated how much carbon was absorbed by native and exotic shrubs and scrubland, the report concluded.

Basicly the entire thing was an exercise in intellectual dishonesty, which ought to be an embarrassment to its authors. And it really doesn't bode well for the farming industry's promise to develop methods to measure and price emissions themselves under the He Waka Eke Noa – Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership. Rather than engaging in good faith, it looks like they're clinging to the same old denier-industry tactics used previously. And if that's the case, the government should pull the plug on the partnership, bring farmers into the ETS without any subsidies, and force them to pay the full cost of their pollution like the rest of us do.