Stuff have agreed to change their story on methane
On November 11 last year Stuff published a story by left leaning political reporter Henry Cooke on the role NZ First played in keeping the ridiculous and excessive methane target in the Zero Carbon Bill. As you will remember the Government was keen to have cross party support for the bill and James Shaw may have accommodated National’s request to have the methane target removed from the bill. NZ First as much out of spite as anything ensured it remained in. They were prepared to hang farmers out to dry rather than let National get any credit for changing the bill.
I complained to Stuff that they inaccurately portrayed the impact of methane from livestock by stating
Methane is the main greenhouse gas emission from agriculture, and makes up roughly half of the warming that New Zealand’s emissions contribute to global climate change, primarily from livestock belching.
Methane from livestock make up 34.1% of our carbon emissions I pointed out and that is not roughly half and also carbon emissions don’t meant they cause warming because the carbon unit does not take in to account the cyclical nature of methane.
Initially the editor just referred my complaint to Henry Cooke who refused to back down inexplicably, despite overwhelming evidence which indicates a bias on his part. I referred my complaint back to the Editor who then revisited the complaint and has now agreed to a correction. The sentence will be changed and a correction notice and apology will be published.
The sentence now reads
Corrected sentence: Methane is the main greenhouse gas emission from agriculture. Overall, on the government’s official measure, methane emissions — including those not generated by agriculture — made up 42 per cent of the warming that New Zealand’s emissions contributed to global climate change in 2017.
Correction notice: This article previously stated that methane emissions from agriculture made up “roughly half” of New Zealand’s warming impact on global climate change. In fact methane made up just 42.2 per cent of emissions in 2017, including methane from non agricultural sources. The error is regretted.
On the topic of the accuracy of the carbon unit Stuff stated that because they used the official unit they were not inaccurate and with the corrected sentence including the phrase Overall, on the government’s official measure, they make a fair point. The political editor did acknowledge my concerns over the problems of the carbon unit and if nothing else at least he is aware of it.
It is crucial to get this CO2 equivalent system that uses the carbon unit dumped but while it is really only us that is calling for it, farmers will continue to suffer an unfairness.
Another member also complained to Stuff about the article and while complaints are time consuming and often get little reward they are important. I have made many complaints over the years and they are a black mark on the journalist and one way to make editors and journalists more considered and careful in the future.