Ideology + methane needlessly threatens farm livelihoods

These emissions figures are well over ten years old. You’d think by now, for such a topical matter, the Royal Society might have found the 2017 data. Oh, and the MfE claiming agriculture produces nearly half our emissions is a scandal driven only by ideology. They should start pretending they are non-partisan: reduce methane’s atmospheric lifetime to a more realistic five or six years, remove its demented GWP of 28 times carbon dioxide’s and finally acknowledge that the country is a net carbon sink.1

refer The NZ Farmers Weekly – 22 July, 2019

The Government say farmers should pay for emissions from 2025—just six years away—so long as we devise a means of calculating those emissions.

To get their taxes altered, to reflect changes on the farm, farmers will have to provide evidence like invoices and receipts to prove their animal emissions have gone down.

But they’re having to prove they reduce what cannot be proved causes harm.

Because, which is extremely odd, the government has not produced evidence to show the emissions alter the weather, or that there’s a “climate emergency”. That can’t be fair.

The government will say (because they’ve told us before), “we listen to the IPCC.” But to that we say, “We did exactly that too, we examined what they said, and they have no evidence.”

The situation couldn’t be more pig-ignorant if you threw chicken bones on the ground and claimed to know the future.

A lot of work is being done to reduce methane emissions in our livestock, even without evidence to show it’s necessary. It’s costing a lot of money, taking a lot of time and yet, long before they find out whether it’s possible to reduce livestock emissions, they already plan to punish farmers.

The ideology driving the MfE obscures the fact that ruminant methane has been part of a natural cycle for millions of years.

Whatever the best mitigation technology turns out to be, getting it on to farms will take at least seven years—at least one year AFTER farmers start paying for their emissions.

Strangely enough, that’s longer than methane survives in the atmosphere: about five years.

This is no way to run a country, though regrettably our public scientists let us and our politicians down by not providing evidence of the things they tell us.


1. NIWA scientists (pdf, 185 KB) have carefully measured the atmospheric carbon dioxide on both sides of the country over a 36-month period, finding that New Zealand removes an average of 98 Tg CO2 per year from the atmosphere. This is a net figure, after deducting the result of its human-caused emissions which amount to only 35 Tg CO2 per year. That is a big contribution to the rest of the world.

11 Thoughts on “Ideology + methane needlessly threatens farm livelihoods

  1. Gwan on July 29, 2019 at 8:12 pm said:

    I have been fighting this most unjust methane livestock emissions rort because that is what it is .
    Since it was introduced at the Kyoto climate meeting when the Kyoto Accord was thought up and imposed on the world .
    I have written about John Maunder who a lot of you know of and he attended the first two climate meetings in Villach and Rio de Janeiro on behalf of the New Zealand government and he was a member of the WMO.
    John Maunder told me that livestock methane was never mentioned first two climate conferences .
    Our government went to Kyoto in the expectation that New Zealand was a very low emitter and that we could even be in credit .
    Then the UN introduced livestock methane to the conference for what ever reason as some of the power brokers believed that farmed livestock have a very bad effect on the environment and they are plainly anti meat and anti milk.
    I will ask the question .As all other emissions are from fossil fuel and cement manufacture that is extracted from beneath the earths surface where they have been for millions of years .How do live stock methane emissions get put in the same category ?
    They are an entirely different proposition as for a start they are cyclic and they do not add any extra carbon molecules into the atmosphere and after a very short time the same molecules are counted twice and in 25 years the same molecules could be counted three times or four times .
    If we look at the methane emissions world wide farmed livestock emissions and energy production are about the same amounts per year .
    The majority of the energy methane emissions are fugitive emissions which escape during the mining of coal and from oil and gas extraction processes and from pipelines and pumping stations .
    If methane is such a danger a proportion of these fugitive emissions could be captured and use could be made of them and with a small reduction the methane emissions would come into balance as they were between 1998 and 2008 .
    The government has to look very seriously at what they are trying to do to our major export industry and they should be pushing back at UNIPCC to bring energy fugitive emissions under control and leave farmed live stock alone .
    The last fact that I want to put before you is that the methane microbes in the animals stomachs digest cellulose and rapidly multiply and then become food for the animals as they travel through the digestive tract .
    Very little can be done to restrict these microbes as the animals rely on them and a restriction would curtail the productivity of the animal be it growth rate or milk production .
    Graham Anderson

  2. Richard Treadgold on July 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm said:

    Graham,

    You’re entirely correct, and I must congratulate you on your stamina.

    One of the most frustrating things about the global warming scare is that it doesn’t really matter about the many scientific points we continue to raise, inquire into and correct, because even if the warmsters favoured us with a retraction, they’d continue on another track and of course their main purpose is to reform the economic system, it’s nothing to do with the climate. Have a look at Barry Brill’s excellent essays on the Zero Carbon Bill—he makes lots of points you can use in your campaign. I’ll be focussing on those over the next few weeks.

  3. Brett Keane on July 30, 2019 at 9:56 am said:

    Put my submissions in but am unable to speak to them, sadly.
    Ten thousands plus fifteen hundred speakers. No wonder they are behind time. Green jiggery pokery evident in the whole process. Brett

  4. Brett Keane on July 30, 2019 at 7:39 pm said:

    And of course, CH4’s already reedy effect, if ghgs had any (they do not as Maxwell showed), would be extinguished by being present only in billionths. Only radioactive substances can overcome those dilutions. Pity scientific honesty has jumped the warmist ship. Brett Keane

  5. Richard Treadgold on July 30, 2019 at 11:13 pm said:

    Brett,

    Ten thousands plus fifteen hundred speakers. No wonder they are behind time.

    It offers hope of substantive changes in the bill, since not many supporters will be lining up to say, “nice job.” It’s more likely to be opponents wanting a say.

    Though I’ve heard supporters saying the bill doesn’t go far enough, so they’ll want a say too.

  6. Gwan on July 31, 2019 at 9:44 am said:

    I am certain from my observations that farmed pastures are very good sinks for carbon .My observations have been on my own farm part of which is quite steep and track have been bulldozed around hillsides for access.Areas of red clay are exposed but within a few years the dung has enriched the tracks and they are covered with a good pasture sward and the topsoil is building up .
    One track was metaled with brown rock and was maintained for access to a cell phone tower .This track is no longer used as I constructed a much easier graded road to the top of the hill .The original track is now covered with vigorous pasture over the road metal.and is incorporated in to a paddock .
    If this is happening on tracks it has also been taking place on the rest of the farm .
    I am aware that cultivation does lead to less organic matter in the soil as it is exposed to the air and market gardeners often grow cover crops to incorporate into their soils .
    A lot of our volcanic soils were fairly shallow with low natural fertility are now some of our best soils and over the last 100 or more years have built up a much higher topsoil profile with continuous pastoral farming .
    A dairy cow consumes 15 to 18 kilograms of vegetation dry matter each day and excretes most of that which is just digested grass adding up to over four tonne per annum .
    There have been many studies done around the world that farmed pastures are very good sinks of carbon .
    Continuous cultivation for cropping and vegetable growing will deplete the organic matter in the soil .
    I would welcome any comments or criticism about what I have written and any links to carbon capture papers on farmed pasture .
    Graham Anderson

  7. Peter Fraser on July 31, 2019 at 12:29 pm said:

    It would be interesting to know what tourism adds to NZ green house gas emissions. I guess it must be substantial and may be up there with methane from livestock. Why is the government picking on farmers while ignoring the tourism industry?

  8. Gwan on July 31, 2019 at 2:42 pm said:

    The reason the government is attacking livestock methane is because most of our population lives in towns or cities and farming is the easy target .
    Pastoral farming is the driver that keeps most rural New Zealander’s in work directly or indirectly . This flows through to the cities via the processing plants and ports .
    It will be a travesty if the government imposes restrictions on livestock farming as it looks that New Zealand will be the first country in the world to do so .
    Our milk products have the lowest emissions in the world even after shipping half way around the world .
    If New Zealand reduces output other countries will increase their production and the emissions will go up .
    I agree with you Peter about tourism emissions ,but when the Greens are part of government this is the result.
    Common sense and economic well being is disregarded and ideology takes over .
    I am certain if all livestock were eliminated emissions of green house gasses would increase as market gardening is very intensive user of fossil fuel and urea .
    Just go to the Pukekohe Hill in the planting and harvesting seasons .
    As I have said before livestock is a non problem and if a small percentage of fugitive emissions from fossil fuel extraction were captured and used methane levels would level off and slowly decline .
    Graham Anderson

  9. Richard Treadgold on July 31, 2019 at 5:10 pm said:

    Peter,

    It would be interesting to know what tourism adds to NZ green house gas emissions. I guess it must be substantial and may be up there with methane from livestock.

    In a brief search I couldn’t find much to help with this. Natural emissions of CO2 are about 750 billion tonnes (GT) p.a., human emissions about 4.7% of that, or about 32.5 GT. There’s evidence that not all the increase in atmospheric levels is caused by human activity. There’ll be outgassing from the ocean whenever temperatures rise and more takeup during cooling.

    A lot of activists are worried about tourism, since it has a large travel component (understandably!). They’d actually like to shut down all air travel, hence bitter protests against the third Heathrow runway. With that background, New Zealand is completely screwed, because we’re at the wrong end of enormously long flights and voyages. Accounting for long overseas journeys is problematic, since at least two countries are involved in each one, so which country gets charged?

    Since airborne methane is about 1.9 ppm of the whole atmosphere I don’t believe it causes any detectable warming whatsoever, and the same for livestock methane emissions. A strong case can be made that we can’t even call them man-made, since archaic ruminant numbers were, to the nearest billion, the same as today’s. I’ll be posting more on methane shortly, but just now I tend to think it is climatically a complete red herring.

  10. Richard Treadgold on July 31, 2019 at 5:19 pm said:

    Graham,

    You are well informed and you talk sense.

    if all livestock were eliminated emissions of green house gasses would increase

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean temperatures will rise. Global warming fear is based on ignorance, not knowledge, and inspired by a desire to rule the world, not by the need to save the planet.

  11. Brett Keane on August 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm said:

    Yes Gwan, I have seen a 7-inch increase in black topsoil over 70 yrs on well-managed Northland medium hill country. Stock foot tracks too can make useful terraces. So much they will not learn. Brett

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