When making a complaint to Stuff about their claim that;
“Methane is the main greenhouse gas emission from agriculture, and makes up roughly half of the warming that NZ’s emissions contribute to global climate change, primarily from livestock belching”.
I asked Dave Frame from Director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University for his view on what contribution methane made. In our discussion in which I said that journalists have an agenda he surprised me by responding that one CRI (Crown research Institution) in particular has a strong incentive to keep the ‘methane is crucial’ narrative going and he wished journalists were as skeptical about the motives of CRI’s as they are of farmers who question claims about the extent to which methane is a problem. He did not name the CRI but Andy Reisinger’s NZAGRC is one by the way.
I asked if I could quote him and he sent me this statement.
On this issue (the role of methane in global warming ) New Zealand journalists have been consumed with worrying about self-interested lobbying from the agriculture sector. But self-interest is not the sole preserve of the private sector – research organisations, government departments and NGOs can also face strong incentives to emphasise certain aspects of problems, especially where resource flows are concerned.
Writing on this issue over the last year has been an eye-opener. Because the research my overseas colleagues and I have done might be of assistance to the agriculture sector, it was summarily dismissed by some media voices, while others did their best to portray it as a fringe view; even though my co-authors include some of the most prominent global figures on this issue. Plenty of psychological research has shown that when scientific facts and deeply held beliefs collide, it isn’t usually the deeply held beliefs that people reject. Writing about methane and carbon dioxide in New Zealand has shown me that this is just as true of environmentalists as it is of anyone else.
This is quite a damning statement about the credibility of this CRI and its suitability in influencing Government policy. You set up an agency to research ways to reduce methane so naturally it is going to do all it can to ensure that as far as the Government is concerned that need continues. It has certainly been busy doing exactly that.
I blogged this about Dave Frame before as he put his head up to defend farmers against misinformation about methane.
“Dave Frame is a big help in overcoming this (misinformation) and he has a lot of credibility in this area. His position reflects, as close as you can get it, the accepted science now that in relation to impacts on atmospheric methane and its impact on temperature, reducing methane at this time is not needed, it only has to stabilize around the time CO2 reaches net zero. (sometime around 2050 supposedly)”
Frame’s view is endorsed by most NZ scientists yet he has been vilified and attacked by environmentalists who don’t want to hear this stuff. They only want to hear that meat and dairy farming is bad. It is not about science for them, it’s about shutting down farming.
Frame is getting it in the neck from these zealots but what must seem like the biggest kick in the teeth for him came from Dairy NZ itself. Dairy NZ jumped on the Stuff propaganda bandwagon to promote the idea that we need to reduce long lived gases to zero and reduce then stabilize short lived gases.”
So a prominent NZ scientist puts his head up to help farmers and Dairy NZ do not support him. It is little wonder farmers are getting it from all sides. Not only do they have to battle a self-interested CRI and anti farming environmentalists and politicians, they have to battle Dairy NZ.
Dave Frame is a good man who has been put through the wringer for trying to support farmers and the truth about methane and it is a shame he is not getting the support from farmers he should be getting. We at PFCR of course do appreciate his efforts and will continue to battle CRI’s with vested interests, anti farming zealots, politicians and Dairy NZ, on your behalf.