The resource material in the schools climate change resource attributes agriculture with producing 48.1% of our greenhouse gas emissions which is simply not scientifically true.
Agriculture produces 48.1% of carbon emissions based on the CO2 equivalent system, but that is a political system not a scientific one, and a fatally flawed one at that.
With the Government saying this curriculum is science based, climate scientists must step up for the sake of scientific integrity and put this right. The CO2 equivalent system, on which the statement is based, has no scientific integrity and most of the theoretical carbon emissions it generates from methane emissions do not represent the emission of any real greenhouse gas which causes any increase in the atmospheric concentration of any real greenhouse gas.
A resource stating agriculture produces 48.1 % of our greenhouse gas emissions is in effect lying to our children which should not happen in a supposedly science based programme.
Children are also being told they can save the planet by eating less meat and dairy. This is also not science because the carbon footprint calculator this statement relies on uses the discredited and political (rather than scientific) CO2 equivalent system, which overstates the impact agriculture has on the greenhouse effect caused by greenhouse gases.
Science is also very clear that reducing methane emissions, which is the main greenhouse gas produced by agriculture, will make no difference to peak global temperature. The science actually says that reducing meat and dairy consumption will make no impact on peak temperatures. Scientists with any integrity should be insisting this information is included in the curriculum and so should the meat and dairy industries.
The meat and dairy industries have the science on their side. The shame is they don’t use it very well.
Science is also very clear that reducing meat and dairy consumption must not be done at the expense of CO2 emissions.
Climate scientists are concerned that reducing meat and dairy will be seen as an easy option so people will do that instead of reducing fossil fuel consumption, which is infinitely harder, and this will cause more global warming because it is only the reduction of fossil sourced CO2 that will make any difference to peak temperature.
This means students must be told that it is not an option to choose to reduce meat and dairy consumption instead of reducing CO2 emissions. The science on this is very clear so for James Shaw to say this curriculum is science based is not true because children are being told they can choose to eat less meat as one option. Perhaps cutting back on meat and dairy will help a little wee bit but not as significantly as the political carbon footprint calculator makes out compared to reductions in CO2, and if done in isolation it will make no difference and in fact make matters worse. That is the science Mr Shaw.
If the Government is going to teach science well good for them, but teaching kids they can choose to eat less meat and dairy because it lowers their carbon footprint is not science. This needs to be challenged.
The scientific truth about the discredited CO2 equivalent system on which carbon footprints are based should also be taught and scientists should insist on that because the Government is claiming it is science based. If scientists are not prepared to step up and put this right their profession deserves to be ridiculed.