Dairy NZ have responded through a supporter to my post titled The enemy is Within which attacked Dairy NZ’s stance on methane: https://farmcarbon.co.nz/the-enemy-is-within/.
Dairy NZ claim we are wrong to say that stable emissions of methane do not cause further global warming.
Unbelievably they trotted out this line.
It is true that all of the carbon dioxide absorbed into grass and eaten by grazing animals eventually returns as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and is therefore part of a closed cycle. However, it is the fact that some of the ingested carbon is converted into methane for a period of time that causes the challenge. Although methane only remains in the atmosphere for a relatively short period of time (most of the warming occurs within 50 years after its emission), it is a more powerful greenhouse gas. The warming it causes is above and beyond the warming which would have been otherwise caused by carbon dioxide alone, and thus sits outside of this ‘net carbon’ equation. For this reason, the agricultural sector has a role to play in managing our climate change contribution.
So the bright sparks at Dairy NZ recognise that when CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and returns as CH4 it causes warming because CH4 is a more powerful gas than CO2. But they don’t think to ask themselves, if converting CO2 to CH4 causes warming what happens when CH4 converts back to CO2?
And not only are they not able to think that far they also don’t think well if over time the atmospheric concentration of methane remains constant, then how can it be causing any warming?
Even the NZ Government through the Ministry for the Environment now accept that stable emissions play no part in any further warming. In the Carbon Zero Consultation document put out by the Ministry states as its description of Option 2
Option 2. Reducing long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to zero and stabilising our short-lived gases, which would mean our domestic emissions would not contribute to any further increase in global temperatures.
So Dairy NZ’s statement on our position is farcical. Their stance is inexplicable and they are more the enemy than the Labour Government. Why do they continue to kick farmers in the guts over this?
Dairy NZ go on to say
Overall, the science is clear that methane causes warming, and that stabilising methane at a lower level would prevent this additional warming.
Oh no its not. One of their climate ambassadors trotted out the same line in a Stuff propaganda item. Stuff have forsaken their role as an independent news outlet and become activists for climate change action and published an article by Dean Alexander. “The science appears clear he said, methane only needs to reduce and stabilise.
The science he and Dairy NZ rely on is Andy Reisinger’s un-peer reviewed ‘note’ which I have seen described as an embarrassment and using a simplistic mathematical model that could not even model the climate in a room let alone the world. The best one could get to established scientific thinking would be Motu’s report of 2016 which was written by a number of climate scientists and stated that in order for the climate to stabilise methane emissions do not need to reduce at all, they only have to stop increasing.There is also plenty of science out there, which is peer reviewed and finds that methane is not even a problem at all. So why do Dairy NZ ignore that science?
Next time you talk to a Dairy NZ climate change ambassador send them the link to Motu’s report and tell them to think for themselves rather than trot out Dairy NZ BS, because it is BS. https://motu.nz/our-work/environment-and-resources/agricultural-economics/agricultural-greenhouse-gas-emissions/cows-sheep-and-science-a-scientific-perspective-on-biological-emissions-from-agriculture/
Dairy NZ in their response to our supporter, do acknowledge the shortcomings of the carbon unit and specifically the GWP metric but they explain that we must be realistic as it will be difficult getting the rest of the world to change the metric. What Dairy NZ forget is that it is not the farmers of NZ who should carry the burden of government incompetence in NZ and the other countries which agreed to a nonsensical metric initially. If our climate change negotiators were too stupid to see the problems when they invented this carbon unit NZ farmers should not have to bear the cost. Specifically if NZ has agreed to reduce emissions based on a unit which clearly overstates methane, and that by not reducing methane in the same way as CO2 it ends up in a difficult position with its pledge, well tough. It was their incompetence and theirs alone. A simple fix for the Government is to admit its mistake, sack all the incompetent climate chumps it employs to negotiate these international agreements and restate a lower target. Dairy NZ should not be concerning itself with the plight NZ might find itself in if the true scientific representation of methane prevails, it should be concerning itself with the its own farmers and the peril they face thanks to its own stance.
On a bright note, our video ‘The Methane Mistake’ has to date had almost 12,000 views, so the message is getting out there. National Party MP Stuart Smith got himself in a bit of hot water recently when he published it on his facebook page with Stuff and other climate change activists coming down on him. He made his points well though and stood his ground and it looks like National’s stance on methane is changing for the good.
The link to the video is here, if you want to email it to people who have an interest in this. https://youtu.be/BOJdz_LgDBE