Green illusions

Just a few days before the election, and here’s a copy of the latest Green Party newsletter ramping up the attack on our farming communities. New Zealand farming is productive, virtuous and widely admired, but you’d never hear that from the Greens.

Kia ora Richard,

The way we farm in New Zealand affects all of us. It affects how safe our water is to drink, helps us make the best choices for our families at the market, and can ensure rural communities thrive whilst they make resilient decisions that protect us all.

Right now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the way we grow, produce and buy food and fibre. By making smart decisions now about the way Aotearoa recovers from COVID-19, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet.

Today we’re proud to share with you our new Farming for the Future Plan that transforms agriculture from one of the biggest impacts on our climate into one of its biggest solutions.

Farmers and growers play a crucial role in how we recover from the pandemic. COVID-19 forced many of us to think, perhaps for the first time, about where our food comes from. Some of the country’s best farmers are already leading the way toward climate-friendly practices — but we must do more to support all farmers and growers to transition away from intensive farming practices that harm our environment.

We’re transforming the future of farming by:

  • Improving how we look after our land, water, and nature, by phasing out harmful fertilisers and pesticides;
  • Directly supporting farmers and growers to transition to sustainable regenerative practices;
  • Changing the rules around forestry, to ensure our land use is diverse and sustainable;
  • Ensuring New Zealanders are supported to buy local and Kiwi-made;
  • Supporting community and urban food production.

 

Now more than ever, we know the importance of resilient rural communities. But decades of prioritising quantity over quality has polluted our water, hurt our land and our animals, and warmed our planet. It has left farmers fighting against climate and market changes, and our communities without the secure and just food and fibre producing systems they need to thrive.

We’re thinking ahead and acting now for a greener, fairer future of farming.

Ngā mihi,

James Shaw and Eugenie Sage

Green Party Co-leader and Green Party spokesperson on Primary Industries

What the leaflet tells us

Almost every paragraph in this Green leaflet reveals alarming elements of their agenda.

The Greens impudently rename our country with the Maori word Aotearoa that refers to the North Island alone, they accuse all farmers of polluting our water supplies, they fraudulently inflate the effects of methane in order to label farming “one of the biggest impacts on our climate”, and mask the intended dismantling of rural communities behind vague promises of prosperity. Their actions are contemptible.

The way we farm in New Zealand affects all of us. It affects how safe our water is to drink, helps us make the best choices for our families at the market, and can ensure rural communities thrive whilst they make resilient decisions that protect us all.

The claim that farming makes our drinking water unsafe is demonstrably false (though mistakes can happen). Our wonderful produce is sold throughout the land, and rural communities already thrive except where farms have been sold for conversion to forestry.

Burbling balderdash

Right now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the way we grow, produce and buy food and fibre. By making smart decisions now about the way Aotearoa recovers from COVID-19, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet.

I suppose fibre is sheep’s wool. The tone is panicky (once in a lifetime?) but what’s the rush?

Today we’re proud to share with you our new Farming for the Future Plan that transforms agriculture from one of the biggest impacts on our climate into one of its biggest solutions.

They describe farming as the climate’s biggest problem only to justify destroying them, and it comes from a fraudulent formula that calculates a huge greenhouse effect through division by a tiny number that thus declares methane a far stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide — but it isn’t measured, it’s a theory. The truth is that methane’s greenhouse effect is tiny — partly because its concentration in the atmosphere is only 1.8 ppmv, or 0.00018%.

Treason

As you probably know, carbon dioxide itself has always been called a trace gas, because there’s only a trace of it in the atmosphere — not even 1% but, at 410 ppmv, it’s only 0.041%. So methane at 0.00018% is even smaller, vanishingly small. To claim its warming effect is even worth noting is beyond silly; to allege it’s dangerous is incompetent; to destroy farming because of it is nothing short of treason.

The Greens want to destroy our most important industry on the basis of fraudulent mathematics and absolutely no detectable change in weather or temperature over 130 years or so.

Read their plan

The newsletter includes a link to READ OUR PLAN (white rectangle above, fourth paragraph) where they allege all kinds of misconduct against farming but frame their solutions as welcome transformations toward prosperity:

  1. Our Farming for the Future Plan works with farmers and growers to transform our agriculture and horticulture sectors from being one of the biggest impacts on our climate and natural environment into one of its biggest solutions.
  2. Encouraging sustainable farming practices by reducing the use of harmful fertilisers.
  3. Supporting our farmers to improve the ways they grow food and fibre with a new Healthy Food and Farming Fund.
  4. Helping Kiwi farmers get a fair reward for their efforts by developing a robust national sustainability accreditation scheme.
  5. Changing the rules around forestry, to encourage more native trees and ensure our land use is diverse and sustainable.
  6. Connecting urban communities to food production by supporting community gardens.

Comments

1. Though it seems like sloppy grammar, describing both sectors not as having an impact but as “being the biggest impacts” on our natural environment is no typographical slip but a deliberate smear on farming as harming the environment. It doesn’t matter how well it produces good things, farming is always bad for the environment and the climate. Our farmers are famous for their efficiency, and their efforts rather define sustainable.

Since when did ‘impact’ mean ‘deleterious’? Irrigation has an “impact”, high export prices have an “impact”, lower petrol prices have an “impact”, and these are all good things. Apparently the Greens find it difficult to speak plainly.

2. They say fertilisers harm the land, but they give no evidence of it. Used properly, fertilisers replenish arable land in the best possible way. Any competent agricultural scientist will quickly tell you this. Fertiliser comes from crude oil and safely raises farm yields, meaning that hunger is now mostly eliminated and we’re feeding nearly everyone on half the land we once needed.

3. Farmers grow food and fibre (wool?) in unhealthy ways. Really? Our farmers learn about growing food at the best university-level agricultural colleges and institutes in the world. They don’t know how to grow unhealthy food and even if they did, nobody would buy it. The Greens must have some ability to reason but just don’t use it.

4. A fair price is generally provided by the operation of a free market. No other reward is needed. If farming were not sustainable farmers would stop doing it. There’s no need for an interfering bureaucracy to ensure this.

5. If native trees are in demand, farmers will plant them. Why should their land use match the Greens’ definition of diverse and sustainable? It’s not their land, not their marketplace, they know nothing about forestry — they should keep out of it.

6. Urban gardens are not a bad idea, but nothing to do with farmers unless they want to lend a hand. This is not a farming matter.

Support farming for the future — BUT

They say:

decades of prioritising quantity over quality has polluted our water, hurt our land and our animals, and warmed our planet.

Yes, these harms have occurred occasionally, but what is the current evidence? Pollution has been greatly reduced by decades of work. Farmers have striven to improve their knowledge, processes, materials, equipment and plant varieties. Where anything proves inadequate, and they harm the animals or the land, farmers move to restore and improve them. Quite unsurprising, because that’s their business.

To disparage farmers on the grounds they put quantity before quality is deeply ignorant and insulting, and they show us absolutely no evidence. Farmers are warming the planet? Hah! The planet is not warming. Read this excellent summary of nearly 40 years of satellite data and, though three years make little difference, I brought it up to date with the latest graph.

Have a pleasant election.

 

12 Thoughts on “Green illusions

  1. Try arguing with the police next time you get stopped for drunk driving that you are not impaired because you only have a trace amount of alcohol in your blood.

    • Richard Treadgold on October 16, 2020 at 11:59 am said:

      First, you explain to us how CO2 at 0.041% impairs the climate system to the same or a similar extent as blood alcohol at 0.05% impairs us. The point is, as you very well know, that CO2 is not toxic, not a poison. You’ve tried this argument before but it is invalid.

  2. Cambridgedon on October 17, 2020 at 11:38 pm said:

    Richard Treadgold: The reason you do not accept the evidence is simple – you do not understand the science and categorically refuse to learn it. It’s not that you disagree, it’s that you simply deny – a psychological mechanism of defence against something you find unpleasant.

    You might say 410ppm CO2 is of no consequence, but if our eyes were sensitive to the wavelengths the molecules absorbed and radiated, we would live in a fog, unable to see more than a few metres ahead. A great deal of the understanding of CO2 comes from the military – heat-seeking rockets need avoid those wavelengths.

    Carbon dioxide absorbs energy radiated by Earth that would otherwise be lost to space. The energy is almost immediately radiated, some downwards, some upwards. Thus some energy moves up through the atmosphere until the air is so thin some energy can escape to space.

    When CO2 is added to the atmosphere, either by natural events or by man, more energy is trapped at that particular level. Some energy again moves upwards to where the air is thinner, but it is cooler higher, so the radiation is less (being related to the fourth power of temperature). In order to radiate the same amount, everything at that level and below must warm up.

    I note that your go-to authority Michael Kelly has announced he no longer discusses the science. Of course not. He can’t win on the science. So he argues we must burn fossil fuels because it’s too difficult and expensive not to.

    I don’t think the problem is money – our money is fake anyway. It’s more arrogance and stupidity.

    Now China has announced it will aim for “carbon zero” by 2060, and enough Americans have realised they have no future with Trump, there is a reasonable chance humans will avoid more than 3K increase by 2100.

    • Richard Treadgold on October 18, 2020 at 10:44 am said:

      CD, you say:

      The reason you do not accept the evidence is simple – you do not understand the science and categorically refuse to learn it. It’s not that you disagree, it’s that you simply deny – a psychological mechanism of defence against something you find unpleasant.

      Describe this evidence you mention — to clarify what it is you claim I deny, because I cannot fight a fog.

    • @ Cambridgedon

      It’s amazing how you “educated” academic clowns are unable to think.

      “The energy is almost immediately radiated, some upwards, some downwards”

      Yeees and some also sideways, too…. ALL directions, isn’t it ,Cambridgedon? Not just preferentially upwards or downwards to suit your wacko narrative, here.

      “Thus some energy moves up through the atmosphere until the air is so thin, some energy can escape to space”

      So what is it, you call, is the “space” or “spaces” between molecules EVERYWHERE in the atmosphere?
      What’s that space? Is it somehow different from the space beyond Earth? No, it isn’t, eh, Cambridgedon.
      So movement of energy to “space” occurs even at ground level and in the troposphere.

      ” ….can escape to space.”

      Sorry, your brain has been academically compartmentalised…no wacko “heat trapping”, “insulation” , or “blanket”, either.

    • @ Cambridgedon

      There’s also this other gem of pseudo-scientific tripe from you, which can’t be left unchallenged…

      “When CO2 is added to the atmosphere,……., more energy is trapped at that particular level”

      What “particular level” ? Energy “trapped” at a “particular level”. ? Where is this “level”?
      Some basic gas physics for you, Cambridgedon. Energy is not added to the atmosphere by any gas but is dipersed. ALL gases just dissipate heat.
      You people keep on telling us that CO2 is “a well-mixed gas”. Well, the properties of CO2 say it’s a heavy gas, so rather than hanging around, defying physics by “trapping energy” way up at some “particular level”, it’s probably more likely the “blanket” is hanging around near ground-level, keeping your tootsies warm.

  3. The greens have not a clue about farming .
    Their nonsense is now being adopted by the government with farm plans .
    My farm plan states that we emit thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide CO2 and methane CH4 .
    We in fact do not emit any extra CO2 or CH4 as all the fodder that our animals consume has absorbed CO2 from the air to grow .
    The process is a closed cycle and not one additional atom or molecule containing carbon is added to the atmosphere over any time frame .
    Methane is emitted during enteric digestion but it is broken down into CO2 and water vapour in the upper atmosphere in around 8 to 10 years.
    No additional CO2 or methane is added to the atmosphere .
    Yes our fuel for tractors and tankers and coal or gas fired boilers and driers emit CO2 that has been extracted from the earths mantle .
    If the grass and crops had not absorbed the CO2 it would still be in the atmosphere and it should never be counted as emissions when it is recycled through farmed animals .
    The same argument applies to plantation forestry as if the trees had not been grown the CO2 would still be in the atmosphere yet the greens want to count trees sent overseas as logs or timber as New Zealands emissions .
    Their thought processes are unbelievable as any country importing fossil fuel has that fuel counted as their emissions but somehow timber and animal products are different .
    The greens are against nitrogen fertilizer ,the greens are against dams irrigation and water storage .
    I would say that the if green policies were to become the the rules for world food production shortages and famines would become part of every day living.
    Before you have a heart attack with rage check the numbers .
    Less than a billion people lived on this earth two centuries ago and there were predictions that the world could not feed many more .
    Now world population is nearing 8 billion and I would say there are less starving people now than 60 years ago .
    Graham
    All these people have been fed because of modern farming methods that produces massive quantities of food at very low prices when compared with what people could earn even 100 years ago.

  4. Andrew on October 18, 2020 at 9:54 am said:

    The Greens / Labour farming polices effectively nationalises farm management inputs as we know it with their desire to cap nitrogen usage, tax fertiliser plus require Southland farmers to seek permission to grow crops on land greater than 10deg slope – all of which are doomed to failure!
    To compensate for an inevitable decrease in production as a result of the reduction in the use of fertiliser, dairy / beef / sheep farmers will simply import more supplementary feed to maintain production levels, with a likely outcome of an increase in urinary N as not all dietary protein will be utilised & therefore will be discarded as urea – so the risk of leaching will continue, assuming of course that is a genuine problem! If grain / vegetable growers cannot fertilise their crops, the outcome will be reduced yields, therefore to compensate more land is required to grow the same amount of crop or we have to accept less yield = increase in demand = price increases at the supermarket, plus there won’t be enough to go around which will mean starvation for some!
    The Greens also want us to go down the “organic” pathway because for some strange reason they think it is “better for the environment” & therefore for farmers & customers! Really? Organically grown crops are simply grown according to a set of audited rules – it says nothing about the quality & you can pretty much guarantee yields will be less than conventionally grown crops! Yes, they do command a higher price, but if everyone does it – the price will come down, but there wont be enough to feed 8 billion people! Again, to compensate for the reduction in yields, the environmental impacts of a theoretical conversion of world agriculture to 100 percent organic would mean an estimated increase in land use of approx. 30%, which will mean an increase in deforestation to free up more land! Yep – that all makes sense!
    As a consequence of these draconian measures, the cost of the staples will increase at the supermarket – but who will get the blame? Guarantee it won’t be the Govt, but remember they are the ones who set the rules for us to operate in – but there will be consequences if these policies gain traction but these policies will do nothing to solve the problems the Green’s want to solve – never mind there wasn’t a problem in the first place but that’s another topic! No other industries has been targeted like farming, but remember that during lock-down the rivers cleaned up, the air quality over Auckland improved – but we still had the same number of cows & sheep!

    • Richard Treadgold on October 20, 2020 at 8:39 pm said:

      @Mack, [October 20, 2020, at 8:22 pm]

      I think cd is referring to the frequencies at which the CO2 molecule can absorb photons, because they represent energy levels. It’s not so much an altitude. Maybe he didn’t express it clearly. Also I think you’re harsh and sarcastic in your ad hominems towards him. If we could try for a conversational tone, no matter how rude people like cd become, it could be enjoyable for everyone. But I know it’s not easy.

    • Richard Treadgold on October 20, 2020 at 8:56 pm said:

      You make some good points, and Dr Doug Edmeades, director of AgKnowledge, leading soil scientist, agrees with much of what you say. He tells me some of the claims for ‘organic’ products are wildly exaggerated, particularly the claimed nutritional benefits. They’re also expensive, the yields are much lower than with conventional methods and it is of course harder to deal with pests and diseases, which leads to cheating on the standards set for organic production. It’s a lot easier to use modern insecticides and sprays and they let us feed the whole world, not just the lucky few who have money.

  5. Andrew on October 22, 2020 at 9:07 am said:

    thanks Richard – I correspond with Doug from time to time here in the Tron – he talks a lot of sense & mores the pity the likes of the Greens don’t listen! Years ago, he helped me out with a waste product out of the food industry that could have been used on farm as a fertilser. together with the product analysis & his wisdom he pointed a few things out about fertilisers that have stuck with me ever since!

  6. @RT ( Oct 20, 2020 at 8:39pm)

    Yes, sorry RT. My tone is very sarcastic and I’m pretty harsh. I’ll try to be more civil in my comments here.
    I guess it’s in my nature…. It’s definitely the reason I’ve now got myself permanently banned from The Standard….for a 2nd time…. permanently banned. The euphoria of the Labour election victory must have gone to the moderator’s head there for a moment allowing the 1st “permanent” ban to be lifted….
    https://thestandard.org.nz/what-should-labour-do-in-the-next-three-years/#comment-1762246

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