Monday, June 24, 2024

Climate Change: National's vice-signalling


Two weeks ago the climate denier government announced they would be giving farmers what they want and removing agriculture from the ETS. On Friday they introduced the bill for it to the House. Due to past efforts and backdowns, the Climate Change Response Act has a lot of inactive clauses relating to agriculture, with the dates for their activation having been repeatedly delayed over the years. The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Scheme Agricultural Obligations) Amendment Bill removes all of that. The immediate impact is small - though it does mean fertiliser companies and meat and dairy processors will no longer have to report their emissions, which sabotages and delays future action. Instead, its about vice-signalling that the present government has no intention whatsoever of doing anything about our worst polluters. As the statutory targets for agricultural emissions reduction are unaffected, it means we're back to the same depressing cycle illustrated above: targets with no plan equals failure.

But while the government of today may be able to deliver to its climate denier donors and cronies in the agricultural sector, it is obviously unsustainable for Aotearoa to refuse to reduce our biggest source of emissions. Which means the next government is going to have to deal with them. And the easiest way of doing this is just to put the removed provisions covering emissions at the processor level right back. He Pou a Rangi has already repeatedly recommended that fertiliser companies be covered, and the he waka eke noa work made it clear that using the ETS at the processor level would be more effective at reducing agricultural emissions than any of the bullshit schemes farmers had come up with. Farmers hate the idea, because it "penalises good farmers" and "doesn't incentivise farm-level reductions", but processors can just handle that by contracts with their suppliers - as they are already doing. So farmers can either reduce their emissions, or not be able to sell their milk to anyone. And if farmers don't like that, they should feel free to fuck off and farm elsewhere, and good riddance to them. Whoever buys their land will put it to a more productive, less emissions-intensive use.

Farmers have used bad faith and predatory delay for twenty years now to avoid paying for their emissions. National's sabotage is just the latest step in that game. But the time for Fucking Around is over. Its long past time farmers Found Out.