Henry Cooke in an article published by Stuff on 11 November 2019 stated; https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117328000/nz-first-kept-methane-target-from-exiting-zero-carbon-bill
“Methane is the main greenhouse gas emission from agriculture, and makes up roughly half of the warming that NZ’s emissions contribute to global climate change, primarily from livestock belching”.
This statement is not true and it is so frustrating that the farming industry allows the media to portray it this way. One supporter emailed me that he was laying a complaint with the Media Council and so have we. But where is Dairy NZ or its counterpart in uselessness Beef and Lamb? With all the resource they get from farmers and they don’t even bother to stick up for them.
Our complaint to the Media Council is that the statement is inaccurate and willfully so because I have sent Henry Cooke and all journalists a number of fact sheets on methane. They can not plead ignorance even.
Based on the latest NZ Inventory of Greenhouse Gases published by the Ministry for the Environment methane from livestock contributed 34.1% of NZ’s carbon emissions, so if he based his statement on methane’s contribution to our total carbon emissions he is not accurate to say it is almost half.
Further to this though and importantly, carbon emissions are not an indication of warming in any case and Henry Cooke’s statement relates to the warming caused by methane not its percentage of total carbon emissions.
The reason the quantity of carbon emissions by a gas or sector cannot indicate how much warming it causes is because carbon which stands for CO2 equivalent is a completely discredited unit. Dr Andy Reisinger Deputy Director of NZ Agricultural GHG Research Centre said this of the CO2 equivalents system;
it “does not measure the actual warming caused by emissions and ignores the fact that methane does not accumulate in the atmosphere in the same way as CO2”.
It is only in the global warming world that anyone would consider it a good idea to use a unit which does not measure the actual warming a gas emission causes and ignores the fact that it does not accumulate in the atmosphere to quantify how much warming a this gas creates.
So Henry Cooke can’t rely on methane’s contribution to our carbon emissions to substantiate his claim because methane is only one third not a half but more importantly carbon emissions are no indication of warming in any case.
In an attempt to try and determine what contribution methane does make to any warming our emissions cause it is very complex and depends on whether it is emissions that are causing further warming from today, or emissions that have caused warming since 1990 or pre industrial days.
Dave Frame informs me that of the historical warming since 1990 about 25% is from methane (worldwide)
Andy Reisinger puts it at 19% for methane and nitrous oxide combined in one of his climate model scenarios (a doubtful model albeit)
In another statement Reisinger claims methane needs to reduce by 27% by 2100 in order to not contribute to any further warming which means methane at current levels is causing about 14% of further warming.
Finally if you take the common sense approach which global warmers rarely do, methane when it is stable as it is now, is not causing any further increase in atmospheric methane and therefore it is contributing 0% of further warming.
There is no basis at all on which Cooke can base his statement.
Henry Cooke’s statement should read “Methane is the main greenhouse gas emission from agriculture, and makes up roughly zero percent of the warming that NZ’s emissions contribute to global climate change, primarily from livestock belching”.
Stuff have not responded to my complaint in the 20 working days they are allowed to take so I have this morning sent my complaint to the Media Council. I will keep you informed and if you have any contact with Dairy NZ or Beef and Lamb or even Feds why don’t you ask them why they allow the media to portray farmers this way. Is it any wonder farmers are under attack?
If you appreciate our taking this up with Stuff and other media as we have done and will continue to do, and you have not donated for a while please consider supporting us. There are a number of things we are involved in and while no one gets paid any money for doing this having financial resources allows us to contract out some work.
Our video the methane mistake https://youtu.be/BOJdz_LgDBE has passed 18,000 views on youtube. It has made a real difference and if we get enough financial support we will commission another one which will be more focused on combating the anti meat and dairy brigades and be more international. I had not anticipated how much worldwide attention it would get.