John Armstrong, NZ Herald political commentator, takes on the role of National Party spokesperson by justifying the Government’s implementation of the ETS
It firmly believes something had to be done to safeguard the country’s export trade – or New Zealand would otherwise face mounting consumer resistance to goods transported from afar.
Farmers – amazingly – have seemed to be blinkered to this danger to their livelihoods. They have poured scorn on what Smith calls a “soft” ETS when they should actually have been supporting it. They won’t get a better deal.
The bottom line is that whatever farmers think about the veracity of climate change is irrelevant. It is what the consumers of New Zealand’s export products believe that matters. They have choices. They call the shots. Yet, yesterday, Federated Farmers was calling for next year’s review of the scheme to be brought forward.
It seems the penny is taking an awfully long time to drop in that neck of the woods.
Points to note here.
John is saying that the facts of climate change are irrelevant and he is right to a point. I have long predicted that climate change will ultimately have nothing to do with it. The arguments for global warming may be weak and getting weaker but the argument for managing consumer resistance is strong. Meat and dairy products have to compete with other food products. Global warming is a weapon the producers of other food products use against it. As long as there is the remotest possibility that global warming could be happening and that agriculture is contributing to it, managing consumer resistance will be a strong argument. John is saying the best way to manage that is for farmers to pay something to protect themselves from the perceptions painted by the global warmists, because even if global warming may not be real, perceptions are always real.
John Armstrong is adopting John Key’s pragmatic approach. This is easier for people who don’t have principles, I suppose. However what people like John Armstrong and John Key don’t get is that they themselves are doing more harm for the NZ export trade by implementing and promoting this ETS and adopting Kyoto, than farmers are by fighting the misinformation the Government produces. The Government, with its ETS and by adopting and honouring Kyoto, are saying to the world that the production of meat and dairy products and, to a lesser extent, wool is filling the atmosphere with carbon. By extension anyone eating meat or dairy products, or wearing a woollen jersey is contributing to the increase of carbon into the atmosphere. This is not true at all and yet they are being told this repeatedly by our own Government and even our own processors like Fonterra.
That is why to me it seems quite clear that the Government and Fonterra and others like John Armstrong who promote this misinformation are doing NZ farmers a greater disservice than has ever been done to them before. This Government should be battling for its farmers and its export products. It should admit Kyoto was a mistake because it did not distinguish between fossil emissions and the biogenic, eco emissions from livestock which are neutral to the atmosphere.
It should then fight for its farmers and the truth about these emissions. This can easily be done by research into the empirical effect enteric methane has on the atmosphere. If the Govt won’t do it Fonterra should be instigating such research; it is inexplicable that they do not. Dairy NZ, Meat & Wool all have the resources to do it yet they won’t.
John Armstrong is right; farmers should be concerned about our export trade. He is wrong when he thinks they aren’t. The only difference between him and farmers is in how to manage these concerns. I say they should be managed by seeking and promoting the facts about these emissions; The Govt and John Armstrong is saying to hell with the facts just pay some money and be grateful it is not more.
John Armstrong quotes Federated Farmers, as far as I know they do not argue the science of livestock emissions and the fact that enteric methane does not alter the composition of the atmosphere and that this carbon that is supposedly produced by livestock is not real. I wish they would, because they get television time, I don’t, and then John Armstrong and the consumers of our products might realise that what John Key and his Government is saying about meat and dairy products, and the carbon they supposedly produce, is not true.
After all, as John Armstrong said, it is what the consumers of New Zealand’s export products believe that matters. I say let’s tell them the truth John.
If you are interested in the full article and my response in the comments section click the link below.