The Green’s have released their action plan that they say will enable NZ to reduce our emissions cheaply. The two I will focus on are agriculture and forestry. They advocate reducing stock rates on dairy farms from 2.83 to 2.3 cows per hectare. this they say will be more profitable for farmers with less bought in feed, no need for run offs etc. They use Agresearch data that shows cows produce more per cow on a low stocking rate to back up their claim and that this means less methane per kilo of milk . They firmly believe farmers are not profitable on a high input system unless payout is $5.50 and would be better off reducing numbers and inputs, this according t0 them will make the next step of going fully organic not too big a step. This may be an indication of where they want to take farming if ever they get back into power. It is also an example of how all this methane emission misinformation thing plays into their hands and gives them an opportunity to mainstream fringe ideas. I would have thought if the best stocking rate for dairy farmers was lower than it is now, it would be, farmers are not fools.
On forestry they want to plant forests on marginal farm land. If forestry was the best economic use of marginal land it would already be planted. The fact is it is not, the Greens want to use an emission trading scheme to drive down pastoral farming and ramp up forestry. Problem is we will end up producing wood which is not profitable (or else it would be planted already)and not producing sheep and beef products that are. Also think about the devastation to small rural towns with people being driven out of the dairy industry as it de stocks and out of sheep and beef farming as trees take over.
In any case forestry is not the answer. Forests produce methane too, and while that is not counted yet, one day soon it willl be, making them less of a carbon sink. Also trees don’t reduce our emissions they just delay them. This means the emissions of today are stored in trees and released when they are harvested. This generation’s emissions will be foisted on the next. The child that featured on the Green’s bill boards during the election will have to pay for our emissions. This is not very sustainable and in my opinion very ungreen and selfish.
There is no detail as to how they anticipated getting farmer to reduce stocking rates or plant trees. One can presume they plan to use carbon taxes and carbon credits to achieve this. I am sure that is not a good idea, it will distort the market, put a lot of people out of work, devastate rural towns and of course it will be of no benefit at all for the environment.
If people really want to reduce emissions they have to stop using fossil fuel it is as simple as that. Livestock are not the problem and forestry is not the answer.