He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN ) is a proposed pricing scheme for livestock emissions.
This is a four-part series explaining the big four mistakes it makes and what it needs to do to fix these.
Part 1 HWEN misunderstands the science of methane in particular what net zero methane means
Part 2 HWEN works on the premise that farmers have to pay for methane emissions without examining alternatives
Part 3 HWEN does not allow for the IPCC scenario the Government adopted to set its emission reduction targets which does not require nitrous oxide to reduce in the manner HWEN does
Part 4 (A) HWEN promotes its pricing scheme as better for farmers than the ETS and that either the ETS or HWEN are needed to satisfy overseas markets. HWEN’s conclusions are questionable and we examine these.
Part 4(B). HWEN advocates that its proposals are needed because the market is demanding farmers take action.
The promoters of HWEN realise their scheme is a dud so they try to sell it by pointing out that farmers have to do something because consumers are demanding it. This may be true, but this is only because the industry has not challenged the misinformation about these emissions.
Consumers may come to care about emissions, and they will drop meat eventually if they are continually told that they can keep driving their V8 and not eat meat on Mondays and they will still be saving the planet.
The only way to combat misinformation like this is with correct information, being in HWEN or the ETS will not counter it, that’s far too beltway for consumers. New Zealand farmers are producing meat and dairy products at NET ZERO methane and if our marketers are too stupid to realise the marketing benefit of that well more fool them. It has been reported that Silver Fern Farms missed some contract because it could not match the carbon emissions of a competitor and that serves them right for playing the CO2 equivalent game.
These corporates have sat back for years and been of no help to farmers in their fight against the misinformation inherent in the CO2 equivalent system, and if they now find themselves in trouble because of it then that is their fault. If Silver Fern Farms and Fonterra and the like play the carbon game of quantifying emissions using CO2 equivalents, without challenging the scientific integrity of these units, then more fool them, they deserve to go broke. They have the opportunity to market their products under Net Zero Methane and if they don’t that is their mistake. Farmers should not have to pay for corporates and politicians who fail basic science.
New Zealand farmers are quite vulnerable because while their emissions are low now compared to others, overseas factory farm and feedlot farming can reduce emissions dramatically with technology to alter diets, trap methane and reduce nitrous oxide emissions caused by urine patches. Of course these farming methods emit a lot of CO2 with machinery use, but the CO2 equivalent system by overstating the impact of methane, makes these systems seem more sustainable than they are. Anyway electric tractors are possible in the future and if that electricity is powered by methane from the farm?? Where will that leave pastoral farming?
For all the talk pastoral farmers have few options to reduce emissions really and significantly so NZ farmers may well find themselves the only farmers in the world paying big chunks of money for their emissions and at the same time unable to demonstrate to consumers they are reducing emissions in the same way others are.
Being in some half baked scheme like HWEN or the ETS that does nothing more than placate an anti-farming government is not the answer to consumer concern that is based on misinformation. Correct information and truthful science are the answer and HWEN had the opportunity to develop a scheme that provided this and was true to science but it did not.