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Climate change irony for farmers

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 pm, December 1st, 2010 - 121 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, farming - Tags:

When they’re not polluting our rivers or fighting animal welfare laws, our farmers, the ‘guardians of the land’, are opposing having to pay for their greenhouse emissions. Now, with the Earth having just clocked up its warmest 12 months since records began, farmers are scratching their heads at the early start to the summer drought.

If it weren’t so important, it would be amusing to watch the farmers struggle to understand what’s happening. ‘Why has summer come two months early?’ asks Federated Farmers Auckland President Wendy Clarke with farms getting only half the normal rainfall in October and a third in November during some of the hottest weather on record. Soil moisture is already at low levels and a long dry summer will leave them buggered well into next year. BNZ has slashed their dairy output prediction by 5%.

Major droughts knock about 0.5% of GDP and this is coming just three years after the previous big one, which (with the oil shock and the sub-prime crisis) helped push New Zealand into recession. If surging oil prices, the earthquake, international debt dominoes, and a do nothing government that is leaving workers out to dry isn’t enough to send the economy into reverse again then a major drought will be.

Smaller regional droughts are now happening nearly every year and major droughts more and more regularly. Could this be that there climate change starting to make its impact felt?

A farm is a very long-term business. Even if you’re just farming in the hope of capital gain, like many farmers nowadays, you need the long-term productive capacity of your land to be intact or that capital value will wilt away. So why is it that farmers are so relentlessly short-termist when it comes to the environment that supports their industry?

Is it just too hard? Or are they really just greedy little capitalists like the rest of the rightwing elite who want to maximise production now and shift the costs on to everyone else, including their children?

In a sane world, the farmers would be the most vocal champions of tackling climate change because they’re the ones who are already getting walloped by it the hardest.

(oh and, btw, yes the UK is having a cold winter but the world as a whole is warmer and a colder UK is actually one outcome predicted by climate change models – the Gulf Stream supplies as much energy to the UK and Ireland during winter as the sun, making them much warmer than the European continent at the same latitudes, climate change is predicted to weaken this energy flow significantly)

121 comments on “Climate change irony for farmers ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    and a do nothing government…

    Well, it’s not exactly a “do nothing” government – on @3news it sounded incredibly like they were going to give the polluting bastards (otherwise known as farmers) a subsidy if things didn’t improve.

    So why is it that farmers are so relentlessly short-termist when it comes to the environment that supports their industry?

    They’re a bunch of RWNJ psychopaths that don’t see beyond their own personal gain.

    • Maynard J 1.1

      And the government always bails them out, because bailing them out is in the National Interest, even if doing something about climate change isn’t.

    • A 1.2

      Look at it this way: if farmers are so hell bent against sustainable practices, then it will come to a point where whichever government is in power will have no option but to bring down the hammer, thus eliminating farmers as a political force.

      I don’t have any particular problem with the political right tying itself down in the path of an unstoppable force.

  2. ZeeBop 2

    Farmer spend so much time trying not to grow weeds, that they feel happy to grow weedy economics?

    A farmers dog sticks its tongue out to cool down, the planet pushes more warmer air higher up to cool it.
    This is the el nino, la nino, a giant tongue that helps cool the planet. But first the planet has to get warm.

    So farmers know that digging up carbon and burning it will cause changes, they burn off fields because
    they know burning changes their land!

    So why don’t the politicians and farmer representatives talk honestly? Because burning does change
    landscapes, heating does need colling mechanics, and climate change is here with a vengance.

  3. vto 3

    two things;

    1. Pull the digs out of your post, in order to encourage cooperation. (not that I do)

    2. There hasn’t been a drought in New Zealand since the 1700’s. “Drought” today is a term without credibility. It is bent to suit local politics. It is only drought relative to a farmers requirements, which has near nought to do with nature,

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      I have to agree, the rural sector is full of very smart people, and taking the piss/making sweeping generalisations is not going to persuade traditional blue country voters that they need to pay attention to what is happening or to do anything different.

    • Marty G 3.2

      yeah, fair points, but I’m probably not talking to many farmers who are remotely swayable. It’s more what you call a ‘red meat’ post

  4. Cactus Kate 4

    Is this one of those predicted “one in a hundred” year droughts? You know the ones that happen every third year where farmers get yet another chance to whinge about a crazy little thing called SUMMER in an attempt to look poor?

    Warm temperatures are brilliant for NZ. Lets hope the Provinces thrive under NZ’s number one earner – tourism.

    “Or are they really just greedy little capitalists like the rest of the rightwing elite who want to maximise production now and shift the costs on to everyone else, including their children?”

    Nope – they are just like everyone else in NZ owning property, clinging to their bare bottoms scraping their incomes together in the hope that one day they sell and earn tax free capital gain. A positively middle class almost Labour sort of thing really.

    • Cnr Joe 4.1

      meanwhilst running methane production facilities and keeping the forests offa their pastures – Yeah, just like the positively middle class – have another drink Cac.

      • infused 4.1.1

        I would like to know, what is our carbon/methane footprint on the world? Please, take your time.

        • Cnr Joe 4.1.1.1

          No you take your time Infusion, plenty for you to read up on.

        • lprent 4.1.1.2

          What is our proportion of the worlds population?
          What is the difference between our greenhouse gas emissions per head and the average for the world?

          Oh I know? New game. What made infused such a idiot that he thinks that sort of silly debating question is relevant? Was it before or after he started screwing cows? Another question of similar relevance.

          • graham 4.1.1.2.1

            Have you ever considerd not abusing people.
            Life has taught me that when you start abusing people you have lost the arguement.

            Are you a short red head by any chance?

            • lprent 4.1.1.2.1.1

              I’m probably as old or older than you. Life has taught me that the fastest way to dscourage repeated idiotic behavior is to call people on it and ensure that they don’t want to repeat the experience.

              Otherwise they drift on doing the same stupid shit over and over again.

              One of them is asking meaningless questions. That particular question is on that infused has used many times, had answers on, and appears to be too stupid to understand.

              Of course I could just ban him for trolling standard diversion questions.

              • TightyRighty

                funny, heaps of smart people have been calling you on this site for years, but you still persist with idiotic behaviour like being meaningless and being too stupid to understand.

                • lprent

                  Ummm what “smart people”. Do you define them as being the ones who repeat the same thing over and over again? Or the ones like Whale who just make stuff up. Or ones like DPF who specialize in simplified dogwhistles for morons – probably because he understands very little of anything outside of the beltway and simple phrases. or… Well you get the idea – I listen to people who I respect and generally your ‘smart’ people don’t impress me.

                  I’d call them tenacious or tiresome rather than smart.

                  The basic rule is that the moderators make the rules about acceptable behavior on the site and how to deal with unacceptable behavior. You’re always welcome to do the work yourself to set up a site with different behavior standards if you choose.

          • infused 4.1.1.2.2

            I know the answer Cnr Joe, Just wondering if you all do.

            Nice one lprent. Call me more names.

            • Cnr Joe 4.1.1.2.2.1

              Well share the wealth then you legend.
              Give us these numbers, c’mon, educate me!!

            • lprent 4.1.1.2.2.2

              I notice that you haven’t answered any of my questions. As anticipated

              I realize that using a calculator is probably a sticky business for you right now, but NZ’s emissions per head are many times that of of almost all of the worlds population. You have to get down to the last few gouging percent of the worlds population before you get to similar levels.

              We are a major emitter of greenhouse gases per head of population. Bu of course you know this. What you’re trying to avoid is the responsibility for your own crap. How teenager of you.

              • higherstandard

                We are also a major supplier of foodstuffs (dairy and meat products) to the world hence the methane emission levels per head of population.

                I would doubt even the most ardent proponents of decreasing our carbon footprint would advocate punitive taxes on this part of our export sector prior to similar punitive taxes applied by other countries who we compete with in the global market.

                • Marty G

                  that’s like saying we shouldn’t have fought in WW2 if the Yanks weren’t. but we did because it was the right and necessary thing to do.

                  • higherstandard

                    Rather an odd argument bud.

                    For a start even if we slaughtered our entire dairy herd in NZ it would have no appreciable effect on climate change or ppm CO2. Hence any grand gesture to make our dairy/meat exports less competitive on the world stage would serve little purpose apart from hurting our own economy. if their was a global accord on relation to agriculture that would be a different matter – but you need to realise that as always it’ll be the consumer who picks up the bill.

                    As an aside if the USA didn’t take part in WW2 it’s likely we’d currently be talking German or Japanese and thats only those of us who would still exist after the racial purges.

                    • Bright Red

                      Well, we’ld probably be living in a world resulting from the collapse of a large communist empire in Europe and Asia, actually.

                      But the point Marty is clearly making is we fought because it was what needed to be done, saying ‘we’re not doing anything unless the yanks do’ never crossed our minds then, why should it now? Like then, our contribution befits out size but its still necessary that we make it.

                    • freedom

                      If we slaughtered our Dairy we would make a huge difference to the weight of our footprint. The cows are just a ridiculously small part of our Dairy Industry. There is the power that runs the milking shed, and the irrigation, and the fences. There is the fuel to run the fertilizer spreader and the tractors pulling the fertilizer spreaders. Then consider the Milking machines and the trucks that collect the milk to take to the dairy processing plant, then the processing plant and the product creation and the delivery to market etc etc etc

                      all in all a sizable chunk of our footprint is from the boots of dairy

                    • higherstandard

                      “The cows are just a ridiculously small part of our Dairy Industry.”

                      I’ll raise you a similarly fatuous comment……. ” CO2 is a tiny part of the atmosphere”

                      bright red – our contribution in WW2 was both meaningful and useful – preemptively gutting our dairy/meat industries while possibly giving the country a 5 second bit of PR would have our competitors in europe,australia and Nth america wondering whether we were serving magic mushroom omellettes at Belamys.

                      By the way comparing global warming and WWII is a bit silly – shall we stop now ?

                    • jcuknz

                      I thought New Zealand fought in WWII because of the “Where Britain goes there go we” of Peter Frazer {?] and I thank you NZ for that measure of solidarity from a child in the UK during the war. It wasn’t a picnic being bombed and with rationing, 2oz of sweets a week, ditto butter, half a pound of sugar etc. You were needed and appreciated..

            • Shane Gallagher 4.1.1.2.2.3

              It is not a numbers argument – it is a moral and ethical one.
              Think of it this way – even RWNJs might get this. There is an bad thing threatening to engulf the world and kill millions of people and destroy much that we cherish. Does New Zealand do her bit, even if the actions of New Zealand would make not much meaningful difference to the outcome? Does NZ stand by her friends and allies and help, or do we stand on the sideline and watch? Are we part of this world or not?
              Well in the case of World War 2 NZ did do its bit – even though arguably NZ’s participation would not have ultimately changed the outcome of the war. But morally and ethically we were obliged to stand with our allies and friends against a terrible thing that was happening.
              Now climate change is the same thing – except that the moral and ethical imperative is even greater; because we are causing the problem (and causing a lot more per capita than most other countries) and the people who ultimately pay the price for our actions or inactions are our children and grandchildren. We are not asking our men and women to fight and die, we are merely asking for people to place the planet before their profits. Because by not doing so our children will suffer the consequences. We are not really saving the planet – it will happily recover in a couple of hundred thousand years – but the survival of our species is at stake here – let alone the collapse of our civilisation.
              And for what? What is so precious that we risk everything for it?

              • higherstandard

                So which of our friends and allies are hammering their dairy and meat industries Shane ?

                • Shane Gallagher

                  What are you talking about? We are bloody well subsidising them! They should pay their fair share and not expect everyone else in the country to pay their way.

                  So we shouldn’t do the right thing because everyone else is doing the wrong thing? How do you argue that morally or ethically? Nice attempt at derailing the point but it is not going to work. Do you sell your mother/sister/daughter/girlfriend into prostitution? No? Other people do and they make good money. Why don’t you? Do you sell drugs to children? Other people do and drug dealers make a LOT of money. Shouldn’t you do that? No?

                  We should do the right thing because we should do the right thing. End of story – any other argument is morally bankrupt. We know that what we are doing is killing people around the world now and will do so in the future. We have to stop it.

                  There is no incentive for farmers to adapt to a low-carbon farming practice otherwise. And we have a unique profile in carbon emissions in that our farming sector makes up the biggest component. Anyone who moves to a low carbon method of farming will have competitive advantage in the world market and will be able to sell the intellectual rights of the methods to other countries. This is a no-brainer.

                  Anyway it was a stupid bloody system – we should be taxing carbon directly instead of this hash-up. It is such a mess you would almost think it was deliberately set up to socialise the cost and subsidize big business… Wait a second…

    • Bored 4.2

      Kate, nice to see you over here seeing some real concern, if not showing it. Your addicition to property and capital are the things that make you most like our farmers: you know that there is a cliff ahead yet you drive faster and faster toward it. As a Chinese sage said the true path is obvious, crooked paths are popular.

  5. graham 5

    The benifit of irrigation is that my production is up 16%
    i have cut 200% more silage than normal and am growing at 90kgdm/ha/day(demand 67)
    considering that we only use less than 5% of the river water in canterbury
    the economics for more abstraction are plain for even labour supporters to see

    • Bored 5.1

      I think your 5% water use figure is decidely dodgy and selective. I am all for your increased production but I would also question what other inputs you need to achieve that, and what the longer term effects of your practices are on your soil. If you are getting consistent production that does not require increasing inputs of off farm fertilisers / water / energy then you are doing well.

      • ianmac 5.1.1

        graham. Where did you get your 5% water use figure from?
        Since the water use by farms is not yet monitored it is hard to see. It is quite possible that the figure that farmers use is 98% of water available given that there are huge needs of others for industrial use, commercial use, domestic use and recreational use. And please do not use that nonsense that the rivers are just wasting water by tipping it into the sea.

        • grumpy 5.1.1.1

          graham is correct. Canterbury ground water levels are the highest for years, there certainly is no drought in Canterbury and river levels are as high as ever, there is even water in the Selwyn!

        • insider 5.1.1.2

          It’s really really complex and I make no claims of expertise but I have read a bit on the issue and here are some figures from some key ECAN reports but the data is a bit old. http://www.canterburywater.org.nz/downloads/Stage-1-report.pdf

          – The combined mean flow of all Canty rivers is 1120 cumecs
          – Total average annual consented demand is 81 cumecs (but note that peak demand and minimum flows coincide and give a very differnt picture and I’ve ignored ground water which has been the big demand growth area)
          – Irrigation and stockwater make up over 90% of allocated water – industrial and drinking water are small players

          Mfe says http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/water/water-allocation-2009-10/
          – Only 57% of allocated water is actually used
          – Nationally, allocated water comprises less than 5 per cent of the renewable freshwater resource
          – The single biggest consumptive use of water in NZ is Manapouri hydro discharge. It alones ‘uses’ 4x what is allocated in the whole of Canty.

          Choose your statistic and pick your corner…

          • grumpy 5.1.1.2.1

            Good report and should be read by all contributors to this thread.

            There is a lot of confusion here on the relationship between groundwater extraction and river levels. River levels are influenced by direct takes and by extraction from the shallow aquifers.

            To obtain a groundwater irrigation consent one must prove no negative effect on river levels or adjacent aquifers.

            Canterbury groundwater levels are higher than average, as are river levels.

        • graham 5.1.1.3

          ecan data
          They know the allocation of run of river water
          they also know total amounts flowing each year

          What we also know that on my river is that less than 1/2 of the consents are used so the figures are even smaller
          also you must understand that the irrigation season is approx 5 months

    • Swampy 5.2

      What about river water and ground water combined. The groundwater extraction in Canterbury is making rivers dry up.

      • grumpy 5.2.1

        Not this year.

      • graham 5.2.2

        it dosent
        deep wells are unrelated to river flows on the plains

        • Swampy 5.2.2.1

          I think that is rubbish. If the spring that feeds the river comes from in the ground the same as the water that is being sucked out of the ground then the springs dry up. The fact is that groundwater extraction is affecting the levels of the surrounding rivers. Even in Christchurch this is true, the Avon river has far less water in it today than it did in the early years of settlement.

          In some areas the wells have had to be driven extremely deep because all the water at the shallower levels has been sucked dry.

          The Selwyn is dry most summers, that is because of the groundwater extraction.

      • Bored 5.2.3

        I lived and fished for years in Canterbury, the reality is that the rivers on the plains are in a deplorable state. It is not as easy as just looking at the ground water / acquifers, the whole system needs to be considered. One of the big factors never spoken about is the relationship between low flows especially in summer and the draining of thee swamps in the foothills and high country.

        The problem I see with irrigation is not the need for it but the coinciding time between peak farm demand and low flows. Swamps tended to act as sponges and flatten out flow variation, consequently the health of the rivers was less compromised by farming practices. These swamps are now dryland farms, and have been for 50 / 100 years.

        Its a bit ironic that farmers wanted to dam the Selwyn and flood some valleys that had once been swamp areas, buying the land and filling in drains might have been a lot cheaper and easier.

  6. The mountain rivers in Canterbury will run dry and many farmers will look for a rope and a tree.
    The Mak is running that low it should be called a creek and the local tribe continue to build the biggest milk farm in NZ. Great stuff, you bastards deserve what’s coming.

    • graham 6.1

      You are talking crap
      look up ecans website and look at the river flows
      they are very high for this time of the year
      maybe if you pulled your head out of your arse and had a look you would understand

  7. I was watching TV about 3 months ago, they showed a new tourist venture, flights over the Antarctica from Australia and soon from Auckland, I though great these people are getting front row seats to the destruction of the planet.
    But then I looked at my 48″ plasma and had to admit I also was front and center.
    So with that thought in mind, are the farmers any worse than any of us? … we all have computers, in a post peak oil/climate changed world they will be one of the first ‘luxuries’ to go, along with our farmer supplied excessive meat eating diets. A herd of people is way worse than a herd of cows.

  8. MrSmith 8

    Here’s a Quote I read a while back that sums up the farmers for me.

    Green MP Kennedy Graham:
    “Fundamentally, the growth lobby is unsustainable. You can’t shit in your own nest forever. If we poison our rivers and drain our aquifers, there will be no economy. Canterbury’s farmers, pushing for unfettered water use, are like the people on Easter Island cutting down the last tree. But they’re not just destroying their own futures – they’re destroying ours as well.”

    Every time things go wrong the farmers have there hands out but they are always the one’s yelling the loudest about the dole bludgers, they also have there heads firmly stuck in the sand on climate change, or should that be in the cow shit, ever worked for a farmer, I have many times, slave labour was my experience , they have become rich off the sweat of the working man.

    • ianmac 8.1

      It is a bit like the Banks Mr Smith. They are too big to fail so they can do what they like, (such as overlending to farmers) knowing that taxpayers will bail you out.
      Farmers are too big to fail so if there is a drought or market loss or downturn in the land value, never mind because the taxpayers will bail you out.
      Except that it is not just the farmer who is in trouble. It is our land and our water.

  9. the spring/creek we draw water from is looking a bit sad but at least we’re not paying town rates for it. i hope it’s still waters run deep.

    and the tidal estuary/mudfalt out the front would look even more awesome if sea levels rose even just a metre.

    i hope the farmers around us don’t go bust and the iwi we’re renting the farmhouse from dont want to move back anytime soon.

    worst case scenario is, were still in a better position to survive than most, but in event of that movie/book The Road becoming true, who wants to be the last man standing ?

    and lastly, i like the rain, i miss the rain, i hope it rains soon

  10. grumpy 10

    Great news about the drought. I’m on my second cut of baleage today – looks like I’ll be getting top dollar from dairy farmers up North. They’ll be able to afford it too, I see they are already angling for a subsidy!

    Haven’t even turned on the irrigation yet, certianly no drought where I am.

    • burt 10.1

      grumpy

      But it’s not fair that other people didn’t get any advantage from the wet winter, so sorry your baleage will be confiscated by the state for drought relief – It’s the socialist way and you can get subsidies like everyone else if the loss of income reduces your income to below the benefit level.

      • KJT 10.1.1

        Its the right wing way. Take from the taxpaying poor to prop up failing businesses.

        • burt 10.1.1.1

          Yes of course, that’s why ACT tax policy has a tax free lower threshold and Labour don’t. Of course, the right wing way of not taking it off the low earners puts heaps of people out of jobs who use to administer taking it off low earners and giving it back to them. Now talk to me about failed business models.

          • KJT 10.1.1.1.1

            Havn’t had much time for Labour and /or ACT.
            ACT are crazy (Doesn’t mean they are not right sometimes. Like a stopped clock is twice a day) and Labour has not reversed the stupidity of neo- liberal economics.

            Go on Frogblog and see that some real left wingers advocating a guaranteed minimum income. Administered through IRD. Removing WINZ. Though at a level people can actually survive on. Unlike ACT.

      • grumpy 10.1.2

        Thank God you’re here burt to provide some common sense to this argument. Of course, with this climate change/peak oil bullshit, I’ll be out there with the mini14 holding off sandal wearing bearded hordes trying to get hold of my baleage, cattle, sheep, chooks etc. etc……

        Sounds like the greenies and lefties are whipping themselves into quite a frenzy, if they get any more wound up, they’ll be throwing themselves off cliffs – we can only hope.

      • burt 10.1.3

        grumpy

        Its funny eh. If as a country we think we should shell out subsidies for farmers struggling because of natures whim being unkind to them then we should take the excess bounty off people when natures whim has been kind to them. Which is kind of the root of the ideology of redistribution.

        Of course all this behaviour really achieves is to subsidise inefficient or non viable business with the fruits of viable business restraining them from reinvesting to create long term sustainability. But try explaining that to interventionists who think they can control a long cycle in a few short 3 year terms if only we would let them.

        • graham 10.1.3.1

          i have been though a few droughts in my pre irrigation days the fact is the government of the day nevers gives farmers anything
          If you are luckly you could be eligable to counseling FFS
          as if talking about the drought will make you happy
          what gets you though is a good bank manager,Courage to make the right decisions and luck
          so dont panic these farmers will get some kind words but nothing else

  11. Augustus 11

    It will be interesting to see whether hydro power generators will release dams in summer to enable continued irrigation to dairy farms or whether they try and keep the lakes full for our power needs. We have this conflict in our area, and I know where my bet is.

    • M 11.1

      Yes, got a good sleeping bag? IIRC National was burning through $1 million of FF every day during the power crisis of ’92 to shore up the chances of getting re-elected – might it do the same again given this water shortage?

      Like Marty says farmers need to consider their use of resources carefully if only for their own self-preservation.

      It’s a shame that most NZers don’t have a little patch of land to call their own so that they can raise a patch of potatoes – always a good filler, and some healthy greens. I have a small section but have planted out some salad greens, herbs and a couple of fruit trees. It’s handy as you can go and harvest as much as you want at a given time and I would like to expand this when better financially placed.

    • insider 11.2

      I think you’ll find that dam operators have requirements to maintain river flows. The generation of electricty neccessitates the release of water, so two purposes are served that are not exclusive. The time to retain water is in Autumn, as we don’t need much in summer because we use a lot less power then. Note that storage levels are well above average currently.

  12. randal 12

    unfortunately this is not a matter for politics of the usual sort.
    the whole world is at risk and the juggernaut is out of control.
    it is tied to capitalism and the exploitation of insatiable desires of humans to posess stuff.
    till this is sorted out then we are just flapping our gums.

  13. Bill 13

    So as an industry, farming is up there on the ‘not too good for the planet’ front alongside a lot of other industry. And there are individual farmers who are die-hard idiots, just as there are in any walk of life. And some farmers are just people trying to get by and who know what they are doing isn’t that flash, but who don’t know what else to do. Just like many people employed in many other fields.

    Spokespeople for Federated Farmers may well be saying stupid things. But that’s no more a reason to tar farmers in general with a ‘stupid’ brush than it would be to tar any section of the population because of the pronouncements of people who put themselves up as representative spokespeople but who are invariably from ‘not very representative at all’ representative organisations.

    Meanwhile, if we are ever going to make headway on tackling the things that we do that are contributing to climate collapse, then we need to develop networks and offer alternatives to the destructive practices that the market compels us to engage in.

    Everybody knows that everybody is doing stuff that ain’t flash.

    Creating boogie men of such wide swathes of the population based on stereotype and prejudice while offering nothing in the way of alternatives, does nothing to get us out of this mess and a lot to make people dig their heels in out of sheer cussedness.

    • KJT 13.1

      Agree. And if you look on the Green site they are celebrating farmers who are doing their best to both farm and keep the land in a suitable state for future generations as well as asking for ways in which Greens and Farmers can work together.

      We all need to change. I can sympathise with farmers and miners having worked in the oil industry and deep sea trawling myself.
      But we all need to look at things, so we can make our living,, without destroying resources we need for the future.
      I know that there are many farmers who think Federated Farmers are extreme, and would like to be able to farm for a living instead of for capital gains.

  14. Sookie 14

    Although some commenters have said its uncontructive to diss farmers, I find the snark in this piece amusing and entirely justified. Farmers should take a long, hard look at the nuttier pronouncements of Federated Farmers in relation to climate change and environmental management and tell them to get with the program, if they truly give a toss about their image, as their PR sucks at the moment. Many so-called ‘latte sipping poncy urbanites’ like myself view them with exasperation and contempt, and their vociferous and selfish lobby group is not helping matters. I don’t have anything against farmers and their profession, as everyone has to make a living, but stupidity, shortsightedness and eco-vandalism I do object to.

    • grumpy 14.1

      And we view you “with exasperation and contempt”. Don’t try and force your irrational insecurities on us.

      If “Climate Change” ever becomes more than a theoretical bogus wealth redistribution scheme from the left, we will be first to sign up but it’s just a discredited beat up by people on the climate change gravy train.

      Farmers seldom get hysterical, that’s why our naturally pragmatic and restrained nature has prevented us from throwing ourselves off the cliff of “climate change”.

    • grumpy 14.2

      Hi “Sookie”, is that name for real? Couldn’t have chosen a better one for you myself.

      • Sookie 14.2.1

        Ah yes, you’re referring to that delightfully old-fashioned word ‘sook’, as in ‘what are ya’, ya big sook’. Hilarious. I guess they don’t watch much HBO programming on Prime down on the farm, then?

  15. grumpy 15

    MartyG, you managed to offer a semi explanation for the cold weather in the UK, but how about this?

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/heavy-snow-causes-chaos-across-europe-20101202-18h08.html

    I think they would welcome a bit of Global Warming just now.

    • NickS 15.1

      /facepalm

      Look up “gulf stream” on wikipedia, and pay close attention to how it affects the British Isle’s climate, and the role of megatons of ice loss from Greenland on the the stream…

      Oh, and a bit of basic statistics, like paying attention to the whole year’s climate in Britain, and more so the entire planets, preferably over 15 years, may help as well. Instead of ignorantly taking one event and not thinking at all about the climatic factors that generate it.

      • grumpy 15.1.1

        Oh really??????

        What part of the “gulf stream” goes through Germany, Poland, Czech Republic etc.?

        Pity when you guys talk about “climate change” that the climate doesn’t oblige. happenned in Copenhagen and happening now for Cancun – perhaps nature is trying to tell you something.

        /facepalm yourself

        • NickS 15.1.1.1

          lolwut?

          The gulf stream also moderates the climate of other European countries as well:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_stream

          Also, why prey tell why should we pay attention only to outliers and freak events? Instead of global temperature movements over the recent years stretching back for well over a century which point towards ever increasing sea and land surface temps?

          • grumpy 15.1.1.1.1

            Seems that these frequent “..outliers and freak events..”, happen on a regular basis and at inconvenient times.

            As for “.. global temperature movements over the recent years stretching back for well over a century which point towards ever increasing sea and land surface temps?..”

            Haven’t you heard of “climategate”, it’s now pretty much accepted that those ttrends were made up.

            • lprent 15.1.1.1.1.1

              …it’s now pretty much accepted that those ttrends were made up.

              Bullshit – that is wishful thinking by the deniers. You’d have to not understand anything about science to believe that.

              Oh yeah, that covers virtually every denier I’ve ever read – scientifically illiterate in earth sciences.

            • KJT 15.1.1.1.1.2

              It is pretty much accepted, apart from people who do not understand science or believe in B-S, that AGW is proven.

              • grumpy

                KJT

                “…It is pretty much accepted,…”

                define “pretty much”

                • KJT

                  99% certain. Being scientists we never say 100% certain.

                  All the evidence we have points to AGW. Temperature series, wildlife distribution and all the other evidence we have shows AGW is happening and at a faster rate than predicted.

                  No satisfactory scientific explanations have been advanced by the denialists because they cannot find any.

                  The only people who deny AGW are the ill informed, true believing nut cases, big tobacco, flat earthers, creationists and those who know it is occurring but stand to lose money if we do anything about it.
                  Which one are you?

                  • grumpy

                    Just one who is always sceptical when lefties are trying to rock in another tax.

                    And…..

                    if AGW is such a certainty, why is the price of beachfront properties still going up?

                    • KJT

                      Well. Not around here. Sections which were over 300k a year ago can be had for cash offers around the 150k mark.

                      Beachfront house in Reotahi sold for $450k. 700k two years ago.

                    • grumpy

                      Thanks for that KJT but lprent is trying to get me one in the Sounds.

                    • KJT

                      Shameful self promotion here. Can get you a section and build a house on it in Northland for you much cheaper.

                    • lprent

                      Why would I want to get you one in the sounds. More than enough drowned river valleys there after the last glacial already.

                    • Mac1

                      And the Sounds are going under the North Island. As the Wairau and the Sounds go down, Wellington rises.

                      Bloody Wellingtonians, riding on the backs of the provinces. Mutter mutter.

            • NickS 15.1.1.1.1.3

              borkborkbork

              It’s fairly simple statistics, outliers which are 4 or more standard deviations (from memory, as a rule of thumb) can generally be ignored in big data sets, especially if they don’t occur significantly frequently, and there’s specific stats tools to decide which ones to remove, such as Leverage, and AIC. In the case of climate, given how noisy it is in terms of temperature fluctuations, the data set’s usually averaged out, which gives you the general trend, making removal of outliers a bit pointless as they’ll be out numbered by the rest of the temp data.

              With freak weather events (heavy rain, snow etc), you’ve also got once in 100, 500, 1000 years etc events, which make these obvious outliers as well, and only of interest in climate change analysis if they start occurring more often than local climate histories and reconstructions say they should, such as the increase in major heat waves in the EU and USA over the last two decades

              And given the clear increases in EU temps over the last 100 years winters (based solely off instrumental records), arguing that this snow-event is somehow not a freak event and of major climatic importance, becomes incredibly stupid looking. Is this snow interesting how-ever? Yes, because heavy snow is associated with warm moist air front being being forced up into the upper atmosphere and the moisture freezing out as snow. And with increased air temps, and surface temps, it leads to an increase in air moisture, which can lead to heavier precipitation events, especially in 100 year weather events, or otherwise.

              As for this:

              Haven’t you heard of “climategate”, it’s now pretty much accepted that those ttrends were made up.

              Show me the peer reviewed, published research which proves this, in a technical climate journal, and then we can talk. Because climate change is still here as a science, papers are still being published and research grants are still being handed out and climate change policies in the countries not dealing with RWNJ infestations (Hello USA) is still being worked on and paided for at the local, regional and national government levels.

              Which if climategate was actually what you claim it was, the above would have ground to a halt, particularly quickly at the government level.

              Oh, and await teh joy of mocking you if you’re moronic enough to bring up “hide the decline”.

    • lprent 15.2

      grumpy – it is called climate change for a reason. Warming is an effect that drives the changes as more energy gets pushed around the atmosphere and water systems.

      Like last years, I’d anticipate that the arctic weather is considerably warmer than the long term average. There appears to have been enough energy in the arctic around to push considerable amounts of cold air further south below the arctic circle.

      But weather is not climate. However climate changes are the trend line across an accumulation of weather events – over at least a solar sunspot cycle as a minimum. I’d have thought that a farmer would understand that better than anyone with the continual cycling of el nino/el nina periodically shunting the weather up and down.

      But nope – you’re stuck looking at weather… Just another short-term thinker!

      • grumpy 15.2.1

        Yeah, I know lprent – “Global Warming” is sooooo last year. (especially when it was clear at Copenhagen it was actually quite cold). Hard to sell that label when you’re up to your bum in snow.

        “Change” covers all sorts of things from warming to cooling so it must be true – hell, the weather even changed between yesterday and today didn’t it.

        I admit you are one of the more believable commenters/authors on this subject but I’m still waiting for bach prices in the Sounds to come down, so kieep on convincing people – especially real estate agents!

    • Shane Gallagher 15.3

      Hi Grumpy

      This is actually easy. When the planet does not have so much energy all that cold air being dumped on Europe and Eire and the UK normally lands further up north, like in Greenland and the tundra. BUT that area is about 10 degrees warmer than normal so that “warm” (and I am talking relative terms here like -30C instead of -40C) is helping keep that cold air up in the atmosphere longer and instead of falling further north it is falling further south onto Europe. (Try to imagine a loop of cold air coming up from the arctic and falling down further south). The gulf stream also plays a role here but it is complex.

      Most people think of the weather as lines, in that it travels in lines from one place to another but forget that cold and hot air also move up and down in the atmosphere. So hot air moves in a big loop from the equator and drops rain on the south of Australia. As the world warms up that loop gets bigger and Australia misses out on the rain and it is dropped further south in the ocean and so they have droughts on the south coast. There is more moisture in the atmosphere but it gets dumped at sea. Also as Aus is very hot it helps keep that moist air loop up high before it can descend. The same thing happens in a smaller scale from the Arctic. As the temp of the planet rises it pushes that loop further south and so northern Europe gets colder. Ironic, no?

      I hope that explains it somewhat…

      • lprent 15.3.1

        Better explanation of the conveyor than mine. All driven by the extra energy further north than usual.

      • grumpy 15.3.2

        Good expanation of the theory Shane Gallagher, and it might surprise you to learn that I do actually have an ability to understand some technical stuff.

        However, not convincing enough to make me want to throw myself off a cliff. But, if lprent can get Sounds bach prices down with the same argument……….

        • Shane Gallagher 15.3.2.1

          It isn’t a theory – it is a direct observation of what is happening and I wasn’t trying to be patronising – I was commenting on my lack of detailed knowledge of the area. And EVEN if there was a bit of doubt about the details the consequences are so terrible that not to act is far more unreasonable.

  16. freedom 16

    to higher standard

    Climate change irony for farmers

    i simply stated a fact that removing the Dairy industry would drastically reduce our carbon footprint and that the cows are actually a suprisingly small part of that industry.

    this means i was not stating an opinion on the subject either way because it is a discussion that can never be settled as too many have different versions of the same information, it is pointless to try.

    but the removal of commerical agriculture would be fine by me, i have friends with heritage seeds!
    capcha: prepare

    • graham 16.1

      By the same logic i could argue as the dariry industry is what pays our bills as a nation we could work out our surplus population needs and elimate them
      This would mean higher standard of living for those that are needed and a reduced carbon footprint

      • freedom 16.1.1

        or we could concentrate on building a country that is interested in feeding, housing and educating the people that live here. Then if we manage that we could look at selling shit to and buying crap from the rest of the world

        yes i know, dream on freedom

      • grumpy 16.1.2

        Sound thinking there graham. Non productive surplus population first, right?

        • KJT 16.1.2.1

          Yep. All those who have enough money to consume large amounts of resources without producing any should be culled.

          Spencers, Todds, Keys, Bank managers, Finance company owners for a start.

        • Bored 16.1.2.2

          Lovely Darwinian idea Grumpy and Graham, cull the population of those who are “unproductive”. Ever read the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy? The surplus unproductives such as hairdressers, telephone sanitizers etc who were sent off to colonise another planet….the productive ones left behind, happy to be rid of the “bludgers” then all died of a virulent virus caught from an unsanitised telephone.

  17. arandar 17

    Some farmers do get it. They are not all hopeless jurassic lemmings. See here in today’s Stuff. May they lead others by example.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/4414299/Care-and-cachet-for-real-spring-lamb

  18. grumpy 18

    The bloke if Supply Chain Mgr for Foodstuffs Wellington FFS. The place is full of trendy lefties chafeing at the bit to pay more for something that is “environment friendly”.

    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average New Zealander.

  19. Drakula 19

    I live in Canterbury and the shelter belts are being felled like you wouldn’t believe. Oh no this dairy business is absolutely ruthless and rapacious.

  20. Drakula 20

    Oh yes and I might add that the water in Darfield is undrinkable I live in Lake Coleridge and I supply my friends with fresh drinking water.

    That is the real extent of the environmental damage done.

    • graham 20.1

      Tell me how old are the shelter belts

    • graham 20.2

      lake coleridge is where you live if you dont want a job

      • NickS 20.2.1

        lolwut?

        Or maybe they live out there due to being retired, and Cthulhu forbid there’s any jobs out that way that say involve recreation, farming and other related economic activities…

        But hey, it’s not like you’ve ever actually shown any ability to think in your comments on this site.

    • graham 20.3

      Bullshit prove that comment

    • grumpy 20.4

      How do you live in a lake?

      • NickS 20.4.1

        So instead of actually getting around to dealing with any factual rebuttals of the bullshit you’ve posted, instead you’ve ended up asking what amounts to an utterly moronic question.

  21. I was thinking of how to start this rave … then I saw the spam word and it came to me that we will soon be known as a ‘previous’ spices of this planet.
    Nothing will stop what has been set in motion, I just re read these articles by Paul Watson
    http://oilcrash.com/articles/earthday.htm
    http://oilcrash.com/articles/plastic.htm
    They are 4 years old, things have only become worse since 2006/7.
    Taxing our way out is as big a scam as Kiwi Saver, pretending to do something as well as keeping the general dumb public (GDP) amused, by giving them something to argue about – IE is ‘man’ causing global warming’? Is about as good as we should expect from the current criminals in charge (CCC) they are incapable of seeing outside this paradine . They (and most of us) are locked into business as usual, and most will not see the storm coming until their boots are full. That is why I’ve been on about over population and not having children, not because not haveing the kid would ‘save’ the environment, simply because if you did have the child, it would/could have to live through a Slumdog Millionaire movie for most of it’s life.
    The faster we go extinct the better, as there will be less of us,

    • Cnr Joe 21.1

      if we go extinct Robert then there will be less of ‘us’ – this is acutely observed.
      I suspect that Homo sapiens will carry on long time – it’s the suffering ‘we’ are imposing upon the populations of this world – can we not do something for them?
      Overpopulation is not the issue here – its our developed worlds profligate arrogant consumption.
      We do not share – the wealth OR the blame.

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