Thursday, 26 May 2022 11:55

Editorial: No free lunch!

Written by  Staff Reporters
There are no easy answers to agriculture’s emissions profile. There are no easy answers to agriculture’s emissions profile.

OPINION: The ink was barely dry on the Government’s newly released emissions reductions plan before the whining began.

“Agriculture – New Zealand’s largest emitting sector – has got off scot-free, again!” the whiners cried. “And it is getting $339m for a new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, despite the sector not paying any money into the Emissions Trade Scheme.”

On the surface, that may be true. However, you only need to dig a little deeper to see there are no easy answers to agriculture’s emissions profile.

New Zealand is unique in that almost half of the country’s greenhouse gases come from the agricultural sector. However, as has been shown in the wake of Covid and the demise of NZ’s once bustling tourism sector, it’s our dairy, meat, horticulture and other primary produce that this country now relies on for income.

If the brains trust at Greenpeace and the like had their way, we’d just cull half the nation’s dairy herd and stop the use of nitrogen fertiliser. Easy! NZ’s climate ‘crisis’ would be resolved.

Not so fast. Just how would the country earn the necessary income to pay for things like schools, hospitals, subsidies for EVs, cycle lanes and trains etc, etc? Ask Sri Lanka how its recent move to organic farming worked out!

Not even the current government is silly enough to want to hamstring the country’s main source of export income without any solutions.

As a recent report by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium pointed out, there are few, if any, silver bullets coming in the near future to deal with nitrous oxide and methane on NZ farms and the only way farmers can currently realistically reduce their emissions is to shrink their businesses.

As DairyNZ’s Tim Mackle says reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions “is a tough nut to crack”.

Therefore, the $339 million to establish a Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions should be seen as an investment for all of NZ, not a freebie for farmers.

By the way, when the finalised He Waka Eke Noa proposal is announced shortly, farmers will be paying for their emissions – so there’s no free lunch.

More like this

No free ride!

OPINION: This old mutt is getting somewhat tired of multi-national, tax-dodging, fund-raising group Greenpeace always given front and centre mainstream media space to coment (i.e. bag) NZ agriculture.

No surprise

OPINION: Whatever the Labour Government decides on climate change, it never pleases the mob at Greenpeace.

Faster kill weights an answer?

OPINION: Mitigation strategies killing off the microbes that construct methane from free hydrogen are ineffective, because that hydrogen must be disposed of.

A tough nut to crack!

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions "is a tough nut to crack".

National

Machinery & Products

Making life easier

Many temporary sheep fencing systems can be troublesome, with reels jamming or breaking and the bugbear of silly hooks on…

Valtra's following grows

With the release of its N5 and T5 series of tractors, Valtra continues to expand its presence in the Australia-New…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No free ride!

OPINION: This old mutt is getting somewhat tired of multi-national, tax-dodging, fund-raising group Greenpeace always given front and centre mainstream…

How come?

OPINION: A mate of yours truly is questioning exactly why the Māori ag sector have been given special budget funding by…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter