Monday, November 07, 2022

Climate Change: A "nightmare" of their own making

Last month, the government grovelled to the sacred cow, basicly adopting Federated Farmers' he waka eke noa framework to not-really price greenhouse gases at the farm level. And of course, farmers hate it and are calling it a "bureaucratic nightmare":

"Paying taxes doesn't equal doing our part, and paying taxes doesn't lower emissions," Marlborough Federated Farmers vice president Richard Dawkins says.


Dawkins said if money was an issue, a "simple levy at the works"- a dollar a head - could be set up to get the funding to research and invest in these mitigation technologies.

"I am not in favour of the idea, but if that's the hill to die on, it's far superior compared to the farm level bureaucratic nightmare that He Waka is."

But this "nightmare" is entirely of their own making: it was farmers who insisted on calcuating and pricing everything at the farm level, so they would have an illusory sense of control (illusory because all they can really do is cut animal numbers). The government has followed that suggestion, and given them exactly what they asked for. And now they're complaining about it. And then they'll complain about the public viewing them as fundamentally uncooperative, antisocial polluters.

Interestingly, the alternative mentioned above - putting agricultural processors in the ETS - would be far faster, easier and cheaper to implement, and result in far deeper cuts to emissions. It is in fact the default, and will come into force in 2025 if farmers continue to drag their feet. And the benefits are substantial: a 16% drop in agricultural emissions, rather than an 11% one. Urban Aotearoa ought to be asking hard questions of the government why they are wasting time on the stupidest, most complicated, least efficient proposal, rather than just doing the quick, easy and effective one. And while we're at it, we should also be asking them why they're planning to pay $3.3 billion a year to subsidise those emissions, when our schools and hospitals and public transport systems are crying out for more money and collapsing from underfunding. Farmers have been dragging their feet on emissions reduction for twenty years. They have had more than enough time to adapt. It is time they stood on their own two feet and paid their way, without being subsidised by the rest of us.