Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:55

Methane not a villain

Written by 
Andrew Hoggard. Andrew Hoggard.

Many people do not grasp that methane is a short-lived gas that recycles, says Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard. 

This statement in the PCE report is important, he says: “Given its shorter lifetime, emitting methane will not [cause] the same irreversible inter-generational warming that carbon dioxide or the release of nitrous oxide have.”

“It was good to hear that being mentioned,” says Hoggard.

“I don’t think a lot of people really get that; they just see that all agriculture produces 50% of our gases, not realising that is a static figure and that gas is recycling, it breaks down over 12 years, then it gets used to grow the grass, it produces the next lot of methane which sits in the atmosphere for 12 years and then breaks down. It all just goes round in a circle.

“We have only increased that methane by 5% since 1990, so if we want to get back to 1990 it requires just a 5% reduction by NZ ag and we will be there.

“Carbon dioxide has a 700-year cycle; it is an accumulating gas – it is up there for 700 years.

“So even if you reduce the gases you are still putting more and more up there. That will be there a long, long time.”

Hoggard says he hopes people pay attention to Upton’s talk on the importance of going hard on these long-lived gases. “Particularly in NZ’s case, whereas methane has gone up 5% since 1990, transport has gone up 78%.

“If we are serious about it and it’s not just a case of making big virtue signals, then we have to look at solutions [in respect of] transport needs and energy needs.

“We are already bloody good energy-wise -- 80% renewable. Can we get more there? That will certainly help things out.”

Hoggard says you often hear the Greens go on about how we must get agriculture into the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme). 

“If you go back to those numbers, the methane has only increased by 5% of the overall 16% [increase in agricultural emissions] which includes nitrous oxide which is another thing we will have to work on – and that is outside the ETS.

“Transport has gone up 78% and that is inside the ETS.  Just having an ETS isn’t a solution.” 

Much more work is needed on technological change in transport which will require more renewable energy, he says. 

More like this

It's coming!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons the 'woke' epidemic - currently rife in left wing and government circles - is now starting to spread its ugly wings into the ag sector.

That's quick!

OPINION: The Hound hears the supposed new collegial working arrangement between Fed Farmers, Beef+Lamb NZ and DairyNZ is off to a rather rocky start.

Pay directive irks farmers

A New Zealand Government directive for farmers to pay new overseas workers higher rates has been slammed.

Genetics to help meet climate change targets?

Genetics will play a key role in helping dairy farmers meet climate targets at a herd level, while maintaining the highest quality milk production, says CRV managing director James Smallwood.

National

a2 Milk seals Mataura deal

The a2 Milk Company (a2Mc) has been given the regulatory approval to buy 75% of Mataura Valley Milk, Southland.

Machinery & Products

Giving calves the best

Waikato farmer Ed Grayling milks 430 cows on mostly peat soil that is low on trace elements.

Feed system helping grow top heifers

Feeding livestock can bring with it several challenges including labour shortages, wasted feed, higher prices for smaller quantities, intake monitoring…

Hard hat or hard head

A recently released coroner's report into the death of a South Canterbury farmworker in 2019 raised the question of the…

Made in NZ: Trimax

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in New Zealand, creating productive…

Vendro badged tedders

Masterton based Tulloch Farm Machines has introduced a new series of Krone tedders badged Vendro, to replace the existing KW…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Microbe power

OPINION: Microbes fished from the stomachs of cows can gobble up certain kinds of plastic, including the polythylene terephthalate (PET)…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter