Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Climate Change: Vapourware is not a policy

RNZ reports that the government is throwing more money at researching a methane vaccine to reduce agricultural emissions. That's not a problem, but then there's this:

A methane vaccine for livestock could be a breakthrough tool for farmers to reduce agricultural emissions - but it is still at least a decade away.

Researchers have been trying to develop a livestock vaccine since around 2007, amid a greater focus on reducing emissions. Agriculture makes up nearly half of the country's total emissions.

So, just to make that clear: our entire agricultural emissions reduction policy is based on an idea that we've already been researching for fifteen years, and which is still a decade away. That's not a "policy" - its vapourware. It doesn't exist, and for policy purposes, its just not worth thinking about.

Hope is not a policy. We cannot build our emissions reduction strategy around a technological solution which might never eventuate (see also: "carbon capture and storage", which doesn't seem to work except as a smokescreen to enable further fossil fuel development). We need to cut emissions now. Fortunately, we have a way to do that for agriculture: reduce cow numbers. But farmers simply don't want to talk about that.