In response to questions in Parliament yesterday about the use of GE technology to reduce agricultural emissions, James Shaw said that just because the science exists it does not mean it is a good idea. He pointed out there were risks from unintended consequences to brand NZ by pinning hopes on ‘magic technology that doesn’t exist yet’.
Shaw used the example of DCD which was applied to farms to reduce nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions but which turned out to be a mistake and did harm to brand NZ because of market resistance.
James Shaw however seemed to forget his own message when in the same answer he pointed out that modelling by BERG that he relied on to set his methane reduction targets in the so called carbon zero bill, concluded there was medium to high confidence a methane inhibitor could be developed by 2030 that would reduce methane emissions by 10 to 30 percent. He advocated this technology over GE despite it also being a ‘magic technology that doesn’t exist yet’ and that the unintended consequences he warned about to brand NZ from market resistance could equally apply.
It appears the Minister is fully aware of the potential for unintended consequences to brand NZ of adopting new technology and he should heed his own advice and not be basing emissions reduction targets in the carbon zero bill on ‘magic technologies that do not exist yet’ and may very well not be able to be used even if they are developed.