web analytics

Myth busting – reducing agricultural emissions

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, August 8th, 2011 - 60 comments
Categories: ETS, farming - Tags:

Here was Agriculture Minister David Carter on Q+A yesterday on whether National would bring agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme:

CARTER  We’ve signalled that we’re doing it in 2015. We’ve signalled we’ll do a review prior to that to make sure that there are feasible technologies available for farmers to manage to bring agricultural gases into an emissions trading scheme, and you’ve got the Labour Party campaigning on bringing it in in 2013, with or without solutions.

GUYON         Well, isn’t that fair enough? Why should the rest of us subsidise the farmers? Cos someone has to pay, and at the moment we’re subsidising the farmers. Why is that fair?

MR CARTER  Because New Zealand relies on agriculture for our very survival, so what we need to do is work hard, both here in New Zealand with science and internationally to find solutions.

GUYON         Aren’t you asking a lot, though, Minister? Because you’re saying that farming and farmers are such a big part of the economy, therefore we have to accept that we pay higher prices for milk and cheese at home – oh, and also we have to subsidise them when it comes to the emissions trading scheme. I mean, isn’t there a point where other New Zealanders are going to say, “Well, come on, you should pay your fair share”?

MR CARTER  Yes, they should, and that’s when there are solutions available. So at the moment, as Andrew Ferrier just mentioned, Fonterra, through its processing, is under the emissions trading scheme. Every farmer purchasing energy, purchasing fuel is in an emissions trading scheme. What you’re talking about is making the farmer pay for methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Now, let science find some solutions, and when those solutions are available so that we can still carry on producing agricultural products to export to the world, then is the time to make the farmers pay.

Despite saying ‘yes, we are planning to bring agriculture in’, it’s clear that National is setting up a line of ‘we want to bring them in but there’s no way for them to reduce emissions, so it’s not fair to charge them’. Carter repeatedly states that there’s no scientific solutions to reducing farm emissions. But it’s just not true. Indeed, agriculture is already reducing its emissions, especially when you look at the comparison between economic output and greenhouse pollution. (sources: MFE and Stats)

So, there you have it. Agriculture already can reduce its emissions while increasing economic output. An ETS will further incentivise that, and mean the rest of us aren’t subsidising farmers as much.

If National doesn’t want to make farmers partially pay their own way, it needs a more credible excuse.

– Bright Red

60 comments on “Myth busting – reducing agricultural emissions”

  1. vto 1

    Well, it must just about be the case that the farmers of NZ are net receivers of taxpayers largesse.

    It was recently revealed that they don’t pay much tax and that the working classes in the cities pay the most per head and thus pay for the rural roads, the rural schools and the rural medical services.

    Add these subsidies and voila, it may well be that they receive more than they pay.

    What were the benfits to NZ of the rural sector again?

  2. cowbell 2

    Why would ‘science’ come up with solutions when there is no demand (created by the ETS) for them?

    • mik e 2.1

      Just in case someone pretends theirs no problem. Dung. Most farmers will be better of if they managed their farms better.Most farms I’ve been on thats lot of farms, are very poorly managed. The have poorly trained staff under paid and over worked because there is a shortage of farm workers and even less skilled workers. Farmers when they get these workers isolated in the country ,treat there workers like bonded labour.Dairy farmers are the worst. they treat animals just the same. so for those reasons listed it would not take much to lift farm productivity in the dairy sector very much at all.Making sure staff are trained properly looked after properly will ensure productivity is improved. Don’t hold your breath though these farmers Don’t care. Don’t see these problems.

  3. Andrei 3

    The ETS is moronic enough but bringing Agriculture intro is just insanity.

    Listen: Virtually everything you eat is produced by farmers – no farmers => empty bellys

    The overseas funds that are used to pay for your IPhones and other yuppie toys are earned for the most part by FARMERS and FARMING.

    Do you really want to transfer rewards of their enterprise and work into the pockets of parasites?

    Wake up

    • vto 3.1

      Stuid line #1: “Listen: Virtually everything you eat is produced by farmers – no farmers => empty bellys”

      Oh no, all the farmers disappear and we will starve to death! Ignoramus. Here’s a couple of similar ones for you Andrei;

      Listen: Virtually every house a farmer lives in is built by a builder – no builders => no house and death by hypothermia.

      Listen: Virtually every farmer’s health is suported by the health system – no health system => ill health and early death = no farmers.

      Listen: Virtually every farmer was taught to read and write by a teacher – no teacher => no ability to sell in todays modern world.

      Stupid line #2: “The overseas funds that are used to pay for your IPhones and other yuppie toys are earned for the most part by FARMERS and FARMING.”

      No they are not. Provide some proof to show how farming paid for my non-existant iphone.

      You live in Federated Farmers dreamland.

      • Andrei 3.1.1

        Listen: Virtually every house a farmer lives in is built by a builder – no builders => no house and death by hypothermia.

        If you live in the Kalahari desert you spend virtually all your waking hours finding enough food to feed yourself and those who depend on you. There is nothing left over to trade for something else.

        Hence no way of paying a builder to build you a house and no way of paying a school teacher to to teach your children etc. Thus life for those people is impoverished and short.

        However if you produce more food than you need then you can exchange the surplus for things you don’t have and others do e.g. Bricks to build your house and the skills and labour to build it.

        Or someone to educate your kids etc.

        Our whole civiliztion is based upon the fact that agriculture produces many fold times the food required by the people who produce it and thus can support other people to do other valuable things in addition to a parasite class – Guyon Espiner being an example of such as well as clueless

        • vto 3.1.1.1

          You just don’t get it do you. Agriculture has not provided those advances – each entire society has. Go read some history on how different societies have advanced at different rates and why those differences came about. It has virtually nothing to do with the person on the plough and virtually everything to do with society’s macro settings, which are set in the city. Wake up.

          • Lets be rational 3.1.1.1.1

            Side comment; I suggest you read Guns, Germas and Steel by Jared Diamond. Sure its only one point of view but he essentially reproves a well known point that society and civilization only developed after farming allowed such advances to take place.

            • Puddleglum 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, ‘yes’, but have a read of ‘Cities’ by John Reader and notice that there’s a theory that the first ‘city’ did not develop from agricultural surplus but from hunting and gathering surplus (e.g., from wild wheat) – which then allowed farming to happen after settlement.

              Farming, that is, resulted from ‘urbanisation’ and the advantages of that (e.g., having a local market big enough to make farming for a surplus worthwhile). Urban society, in that scenario, came first.
               

          • Andrei 3.1.1.1.2

            Where did the weetbix you had for breakfast come from? How did it get to your table?

            And the milk you put on it along with the sugar.

            And the butter you put on your toast and the coffee you washed it down with.

            All products of agriculture chum and if they stop coming how long would you last?

            A month maybe, not even that perhaps.

            Our focus on agriculture should be producing more and more cheaply at that – not on nonsense about “emissions”.

            Its not as though everybody gets enough to eat even in these enlightened times

            • vto 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Grow up fool. Again …

              How long would you last if you didn’t have a roof to sleep under tonight?

              dumb comment

              • Andrei

                Again having a roof over my head is predicated upon the fact that the people who built my house, myself in part, have enough to eat and are freed from the task of gathering, hunting, growing food etc for themselves.

                And are therefore able to do other and fundamentally useful things with their lives.

                Same goes for the people who make the electricity that keep it warm, the people who maintain the wires that deliver that electricity and so forth.

                And if the farmers cannot produce enough food to feed this whole army of people who keep the wheels of our world turning – well they stop turning and we end up back in the stone age – well the very few of us who haven’t starved to death do.

                • vto

                  you will die from hypothermia before i die from starvation so nyah nyah nyah

                  ffs

                  • terryg

                    Hey, I can play this stupid game. Andrei, you are missing the point entirely. we are only here because the strong nuclear force is not 2% stronger than its actual value. if it were, hydrogen would fuse into diprotons instead of deuterium and helium. This would prevent the formation of stars as we know them, thereby precluding the universe as we know it.

                    beat that 😀

                    • Andrei

                      Beyond silly – If you don’t eat you die – that is not speculation on what the Universe might look like if Plank’s constant took on a different value but a fact.

                      One that is self evident and sadly on display right now in East Africa

                    • vto

                      If you don’t shit you die. If you don’t sleep under a roof you die. If you don’t get medical help in an emergency you die. If you don’t breathe you die. If you don’t have modern medical help at birth you more often die.

                      If you can’t read or write you can’t sell shit. If you can’t drive a ship or plane you can’t export. If you don’t have two hands you can’t drive a tractor. If you don’t have lawyers you can’t sell properly. If you don’t have oil imports you can’t grow your particular types of food to sell. If the city taxpayers don’t pay for your roads you can’t export. If you have don’t have laws and enforcers you don’t have society and can’t sell.

                      Really Andrei, what is your point, cause I aint seen one yet.

                • John D

                  ETS on agriculture is insane because:
                  (a) NZ the only country in the world doing it
                  (b) Methane levels not increasing much, if at all, globally.
                  (c) Methane from cattle etc part of the natural carbon cycle
                  (d) The following are also big natural emitters of methane – termites, rice paddy fields, the Amazonian rainforest. All much bigger than NZ agriculture
                  (e) We are getting screwed on the ETS because crown forests are not included. If they were, we would be a net carbon sink.

                  If NZ introduces this, it will cripple its primary industry, make food expensive for every NZer, and line the pockets of rich corporates.

                  Anyone who thinks this is a good idea is either a moron, a thief, or both.

                  • millsy

                    Do you like swimming in shitty rivers then?

                    • John D

                      Water polution completely separate issue. I agree that this is a problem, but the ETS is not the solution to this.

                      Actually, some better farm management would be a better idea – e.g fences around rivers so cows don’t crap in streams.

                      Deal with this, not the non-issue of ruminant methane

                    • Andrei

                      The ETS has nothing to do with the cleanliness or otherwise of rivers.

                      And if you want to see shitty rivers go to Africa where the hippos shit in them

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey Andrei, which countries in Africa have a million cows…I mean hippos, shitting in rivers?

                  • (c) Methane from cattle etc part of the natural carbon cycle
                    (d) The following are also big natural emitters of methane – termites, rice paddy fields, the Amazonian rainforest. All much bigger than NZ agriculture

                    Don’t these two points actually miss the point? That climate change is happening (now) because of the recent use of fossil fuels and intensive agricultural practices is, so far as I’m aware, conclusively shown by current research. That means that it is those activities over which we have control that have been responsible (not the Amazon doing what it’s always done, termites doing what they’ve always done, etc.). Rice paddy fields (if you’re correct), intensive dairying, the tendency to farm ruminants in general, are all practices which we have the ability to alter by changing the economic processes of production. Surely that’s sensible?

                    I’m no expert on an ETS vs. a carbon tax vs. some other measure to reduce carbon emissions, but it seems to me that any means by which we can alter human behaviour and practices in this regard should be encouraged to limit carbon emissions. 

                    Your point about methane being part of the natural carbon cycle is no doubt true but, once again, it’s the extra amounts that arise from our modern way of farming that we can control. I don’t think anyone has plans to plug every volcano, kill every antelope and wildebeest on the serengetti or pave over the amazon to limit ‘natural’ carbon and methane emissions just to preserve our industrial and agricultural practices – or are they?

                  • drum

                    Finally someone with some facts and sense.
                    NZ is a primal producing country that has to play in the world market to settle its debts.
                    All the ETS will do is force up our prices nationally and internationally.
                    We are not going to be followed up this path by developing nations who are our future competitors or by any other nation that has the need to export at the level we do.
                    By adding this cost onto our primary production it will filter right through our entire economy as we are consumers .
                    When we want to be smart and produce products that are good for the environment (say packaging) it to will have an added ETS component so when NZ business’s driven by economics look for the cheapest option they more than likely will go to asian markets for the product to package with to export (remember what pays the bills so we can have social services, health, eduction, etc etc)
                    Asian producers are not ETS and since we are heading more and more into relying on their trade for survival we need to be able to compete in their back yard as well.
                    Today the consumer is feed by price, China is the largest consumer on the planet followed very quickly behind by the USA and India chasing up behind. None of these countries have looked at ETS as an option.
                    It’s not a case of wake up but more about catching a dose of reality.

            • millsy 3.1.1.1.2.2

              So you think that farmers should be able to just pour what they want into our rivers, and pollute pollute pollute then? Intergenerational thieves, the lot of them.

              • felix

                Yes, because if it weren’t for the farmers we’d all be living in the Kalahari desert. Andrei the midget told me that.

                This “thank you farmers for our daily bread” line is so much bullshit. It presupposes that the people currently making massive amounts of money from intensive dairying are the only people who could possibly produce food from the land.

                It’s the same as the landlord’s argument that “If I didn’t own all the houses, you’d have nowhere to live”.

                Pure bullshit.

                • RedLogix

                  It’s the same as the landlord’s argument that “If I didn’t own all the houses, you’d have nowhere to live”.

                  Heh felix… bastard landlord I may be… but that’s priceless 🙂

                  Well before the industrial revolution around 90% of any population was pretty much directly engaged in primary production… in effect we were all farmers. It’s only the intensification that cheap carbon fuels and technology have brought which has brought about the enormous transition of people from the rural to the urban workforce.

                  Yes agriculture is an essential and important activity, but that only argues in favour of ensuring that we insist on the highest standards and the most sustainable approaches to it.

                  It’s absolutely no use making a quick buck this week, it the price of it is disaster the next.

    • bbfloyd 3.2

      wake up yourself andrei the alien…. i can’t imagine you will last long on this site with that kind of obvious hatred for humanity….which is why i’m assuming no-one here has bothered to show you the error of your ways… and neither will i waste my time overloading an all ready overburdoned intellect with reality…

      so just fuck off back to your cave..

  4. tc 4

    Country calendar piece saturday where a dairy farmer recycles all his waste and effectively stated any farmer who loses soil and nutrients is simply missing the point and wasting their most valuable resource.

    Farmers get it, especially generational ones who look around and see the damage of over intensive use….the nat’s don’t care as long as fed farmers etc keep writing out the cheques and carter has vested interests in farming so it’s another biased perspective from a govt ministser…surprise surprise.

    • John D 4.1

      How does that relate to pinging farmers to pay for rich corporate forestry owners?

  5. Lets be rational 5

    “that they don’t pay much tax”

    Only 30% of earners pay tax, the long list of benfits has many tax positive. The fact that they pay tax at all has them in front of many. Also, let me remind you to compare the weekly effort the average urban worker puts in each week compared to the average farmer… I think you’ll find that farmers will be working 30hours more per week. They would be NZ’s hardest working, and its not at all surprising that most NZers refuse to acknowledge that. They do a service to NZ.

    Secondly, the graph is completely misleading, try give it a bit more context. The price that farmers are receiving for their exports has been rising with the commodities boom over the past two years. Their emmisions have unlikely been falling.

    It is a well known fact that NZ is under taking an export lead recovery, why then are we trying to crucify the people leading the charge? National is not saying there is no way to do it, they are simply admitting that farmers would need time to implement, no to mention time for science & tech to develop the means. Lets be rational here!

    • vto 5.1

      Oh yes, all hail the great farmer. Bow down.

      Honestly, you lot live in bloody dreamland. You have no idea of the place farming takes in moderns society, or its historical context. You don’t even understand how an economy works. You have just got big heads and you need to stop believing the sort of dumbo shit that past president of Fed Farmers Don Nicholson spouts.

      • Lets be rational 5.1.1

        So lets say I accept your premise of; “lets tax more from the farmers cos they’re just bastards” – the enduring result is that this would make farming a less attractive prospect. The farmers in NZ see that it is slightly less financially viable and for many its simply no longer an option. This leaves a a hole in the market and guess who fills it?? Foreign investors! But i’m sure your categorically against that as well. So in short, you dont want our farmers making money, but you cant have the chinese making a go of it either.

        Options left are few and far between.. Why are you against the prospect of giving time to resolve issues in a manner that does not financial disturb many?

        • vto 5.1.1.1

          “So lets say I accept your premise of; “lets tax more from the farmers cos they’re just bastards”

          I didn’t say that and don’t think that. Silly assumptions don’t help.

          As for foreign investment, I just so happened to post on that this morning, copied below. Foreign investment is ok, foreign ownership of land is a completely different thing and is just dumb…

          “I see Agriculture Minister David Carter is still getting away with equating foreign investment with foreign land ownership.

          The two things are entirely different. Foreign investment can still flow into all manner of business, including farming, without having to own the land beneath. The land beneath must only be owned by the people who live on it. This applies right across the entire globe and has nothing to do with race. In fact David Carter should take note of how the Chinese deal with this issue …. go on Carter, show some intellectual honesty and tell the public why the Chinese don’t let foreigners own their land.”

          The main problem with the farming sector is their lack of honesty over various issues. Pretending that farming hasn’t stuffed our waterways. Pretending that farmers pay a lot of tax to support wider society. Pretending that they are the true heroes of NZ. The sector will get nowhere until it stands up like a man and squarely faces its issues.

        • felix 5.1.1.2

          “So lets say I accept your premise of; “lets tax more from the farmers cos they’re just bastards””

          Jeez, if that’s the depth of your comprehensive abilities you need to pick a new handle.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3

          And, due to the damage that farming is doing to the environment, we should be making it less attractive. We should produce enough food to feed ourselves and no more.

          It’s called being rational which you aren’t.

    • bbfloyd 5.2

      recovery? what recovery? things are getting really scary when the tories are using fantasy as a debating tool.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        They’ve always used fantasy as a debating tool. What’s changed is that it’s becoming more and more apparent is that everything they say is a fantasy.

  6. grumpy 6

    Maybe we should import some of those high tech cows that they have in China that do not have any emissions (at least not taxable ones). We could also bring in some of their magic chimneys, trucks, boats and factories which also do not produce taxable emissions.

    I know, let’s not make anything in NZ and bring it all in from China – oh wait…………………………..

  7. insider 7

    Bright Red

    Interesting numbers but nothing on the underlying mechanisms. The one that springs to mind instantly is ‘intensification’. Are you calling for more of that?

  8. gareth 8

    We really missed the boat with the useless cycle way, that money should have been spent fencing and then planting a riparian zone down every waterway possible in dairy counrty.

    It would have provided heaps of jobs, plant growing, planters, fencers, weed clearance and at the end we will have done something of significant benefit to our water quality, native bird/fish life, enhanced our clean green image. It would benefit farmers through less erosion and kept our harbours and lakes clean through reduced run off.

    All all the muppets in charge could come up with was a useless as f**k cycleway…..

  9. Macro 9

    Back on the subject…..
    This post relates well to the current tour by Jim Salinger, Rod Oram, and Carol Saunders.
    For those who have take the time to attend, and it is well worth the effort, they will learn that there are real opportunities to be had in farming by moving towards more sustainable practices and farming with an eye to Carbon footprints. Europe in particular is particularly conscious of the effects of AGW, and our products are at risk should we fail to recognise this fact. But just as important is the simple good business practice of managing a business that cuts external costs as well as managing internal costs. Farmers are no different from any other business in this regard.
    We hear constantly from the right the cry that regulation stifles business and is simply an extra cost. Business as Usual however is not a stimulus for innovation and improvement of practice – on the contrary where a deregulated market exists the market will tend towards the least common denominator, the least (internal) cost alternative as the competitors strive towards maximizing profit. Regulation – vis California’s Clean Air Act results in innovation, improved practices, and without losses of production or profit.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    The entire industrialised agricultural system is predicated on the consumption of huge quatities of fossil fuels and forced over-production via the application of imported fertilisers, and in many cases the use of irrigation. None of it is by any stretch of the imagination sustainable.

    Once depletion reaches a critical point -probably around 2015- the whole system is going to collapse.

    • Macro 10.1

      I tend to agree with your analysis as a whole Afktt. I’m firmly of the opinion that unless drastic efforts are made to reduce CO2 to 350ppm in the immediate future we are toast. We (I mean the human race here) have a strictly limited budget if you like of FF left – and we need to spend it wisely. Unfortunately I doubt that as a species we have the collective will or intelligence to do that. As a species humans are too self-indulgent for their own good. There is hope that the possible collapse of the free markets and a wide-spread Depression will give time for reflection and a reversal of current economic thinking – but like you I doubt it.

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11

    On the matter of emissions, MED (which drives all government policy) is trying to pull a scam connected with methane.

    Methane is not the major problem. Methane is oxised to carbon dioxide in the atmpshere, and the higher the level of methane in the air, the faster to rate of conversion to CO2. Besides which, the quanty of methane emitted by cattle etc,. is miniscule compared to the quuanty released by the oil industry and via the melting of the permafrost etc. The methane/CO2 emitted by cattle is directly equivalent to the quantity removed from the air via photosynthesis.

    The REAL problem is CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned, when iron ore is reduced and when lime is made from limestone.

    • lprent 11.1

      The residence time of methane is quite short in geological terms compared to the thousands of years of CO2, but it is still measured in decades. It also has an greenhouse effect that is something like 70x that of CO2. So small amounts of methane are very significant over this century.

      The issue with methane is that it has been increasing rapidly, and as far as I’m aware you’re incorrect about it oxidising faster as the concentration rises – at least in atmospheric concentrations. Reducing it is actually easier than for CO2 because it is just a by-product of other processes rather than an intrinsic result of the process when burning hydrocarbons. Reducing it may keep us from hitting a feedback tipping point before we find it the hard way.

      So it is worth while. And in NZ terms, I suspect that reducing methane will actually make us more efficient in the industries that produce it.

      • Afewknowthetruth 11.1.1

        I only have a BSc Honour in Chemistry and have written four books on the topic, so what would I know.

        If you do the research you will see that the level of methane in the atmopshere has been levelling off. However, the amount that COULD be released if we trigger further meltdown of permafrost is humungous and the amount that could be released from methane ice clathrates would aguably raise the temperature of the Earth by several degrees and render the Earth largely uninhabitable in a matter of decades.

        Methane has approximately 20 times as the global warming effect of CO2, not the 70 times you suggest.

        The world is awash with misiniformation.

        I still maintain that CO2 is THE problem -especially since CO2 is [chemically] causing the death of the oceans (something methane is not capable of doing), another matter of course, but one which is being almost u niversally ignored.

        • lprent 11.1.1.1

          Just shows why chemists aren’t that good at looking at complex systems.

          Methane has approximately 20 times as the global warming effect of CO2, not the 70 times you suggest.

          It is – but only if you look at the longer term, ie centuries. The effect within the decades of its atmospheric ‘lifetime’ is about 70x that of carbon dioxide. Umm looking up a basic summary on wikipedia

          Atmospheric lifetime and GWP relative to CO2 at different time horizon for various greenhouse gases.
          Gas name Chemical
          formula
          Lifetime
          (years)
          Global warming potential (GWP) for given time horizon
          20-yr 100-yr 500-yr
          Carbon dioxide CO2 See above 1 1 1
          Methane CH4 12 72 25 7.6
          Nitrous oxide N2O 114 289 298 153
          CFC-12 CCl2F2 100 11 000 10 900 5 200
          HCFC-22 CHClF2 12 5 160 1 810 549
          Tetrafluoromethane CF4 50 000 5 210 7 390 11 200
          Hexafluoroethane C2F6 10 000 8 630 12 200 18 200
          Sulphur hexafluoride SF6 3 200 16 300 22 800 32 600
          Nitrogen trifluoride NF3 740 12 300 17 200 20 700

          Furthermore methane is a lot easier to release as evidenced by out ability to raise and get large quantities into the atmosphere faster – even pre-industrial. From pre industrial times it has more than doubled while CO2 has increased a lot less.

          Gas Preindustrial level Current level Increase since 1750 Radiative forcing(W/m2)
          Carbon dioxide 280 ppm  388 ppm 108 ppm 1.46
          Methane 700 ppb 1745 ppb 1045 ppb 0.48
          Nitrous oxide 270 ppb  314 ppb  44 ppb 0.15
          CFC-12 0  533 ppt 533 ppt 0.17

          As you point out, methane is stored in cold systems and is likely to cause rapid pulses when it releases. We’re on course to get to those types of required tempature levels in the oceans and permafrost regions to cause methane releases sooner rather than later this century regardless of what is done to curb CO2.

          If we have dropped the atmospheric methane levels down closer to pre-industrial levels then there is more buffering in the climate system to handle the inevitable pulse releases of methane. That is something that can be done with methane and HCFC-22, and with virtually no other major greenhouse gases because of their low residence times.

          The effect of reducing atmospheric methane over decades will be markedly increase the atmospheres ability to handle methane pulses in the short term mostly caused by CO2.

          That is why a reduction in CH4 is highly advantageous, not just because of the effect on climate over the long term. But also because it frees atmospheric buffers and allows the climate system to adjust more slowly to the steady rise in temperatures that will happen over the coming centuries. The last thing that would be wanted is (for instance) to get a release of methane from the permafrost followed by a rapid rise in temperatures cause the deep and rapid oxidation of the carbon stored in those regions.

          Oh, and my first degree was a BSc in earth sciences.

          The world is awash with misiniformation.

          There have been a number of good discussions over at Real Climate on the effects of CH4, CO2 and other greenhouse gases and the relative benefits about which to prioritize on. I’d suggest that you hunt them down.

      • John D 11.1.2

        but it is still measured in decades

        8-12 years I believe

        • lprent 11.1.2.1

          Yeah.

          For some reason I keep thinking of the 72x CO2 over 20 years, rather than the more values of the lifetime formulation. But the persistence is more like a radioactive half life – it is there forever – just less of an effect over time. 

  12. Andrei 12

    I still maintain that CO2 is THE problem -especially since CO2 is [chemically] causing the death of the oceans

    I wouldn’t worry about the death of the oceans if I were you. At the time of the Cambrian explosion the atmospheric levels of CO2 was about 4500ppm (as opposed to 380ppm today) and life in the oceans just thrived – it took off in fact, hence the name Cambrian explosion

    • RedLogix 12.1

      Yeah and sea levels were around 90m higher than now. There’s little point in making comparisons with era’s over 500m years ago, for a start the continents were in totally different locations, for another there was little to no life on land.

      And certainly none of the higher mammals.

      The planet will certainly survive our depradations, that was always apparent and never in contention. The question always was, would we?

    • Puddleglum 12.2

      Which species that took part in the ‘Cambrian explosion’ are still around in todays rather less CO2 rich oceans?

      While many of today’s marine phyla originated in the Cambrian, you won’t find many species around that were here in the Cambrian. As the link puts it:

      This does not mean that life in the Cambrian seas would have been perfectly familiar to a modern-day scuba diver! Although almost all of the living marine phyla were present, most were represented by classes that have since gone extinct or faded in importance.

      And,

      A few localities around the world that preserve soft-bodied fossils of the Cambrian show that the “Cambrian radiation” generated many unusual forms not easily comparable with anything today.

       

      • vto 12.2.1

        “Which species that took part in the ‘Cambrian explosion’ are still around … ?”

        Don Brash?

        • Puddleglum 12.2.1.1

          🙂

          Edit: It’s bit worrying then if CO2 levels are once again rising … an explosion of Brashes is imminent.

          • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1.1

            A single implosion of Brash would be satisfactory actually 🙂

            • McFlock 12.2.1.1.1.1

              I dunno – the precursor would probably be a massive release of bullshit into the environment that will take us irreversibly beyond a carbon tipping point, followed by a sudden collapse into a non-maorified whitey hole.

    • Afewknowthetruth 12.3

      At the time of the Cambrian ‘explosion of life ‘ there was no life to speak of on land, and the oceans were populated with invertebrates.

      If you are happy to return the Earth to those kinds of conditions via the burning of fossil fuels I would personally categorise you as severely mentally ill if not completely insane.

  13. Reality Bytes 13

    “Because New Zealand relies on agriculture for our very survival…”

    ^ this might be a problem.

    Perhaps we should try and not rely so much on a single skill-set ‘for our very survival’.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    12 hours ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    14 hours ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    14 hours ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    16 hours ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    20 hours ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    22 hours ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    2 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    3 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    4 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    5 days ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    6 days ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    6 days ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    6 days ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    7 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    7 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    7 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    7 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    7 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    1 week ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    1 week ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    1 week ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    1 week ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere