- Date published:
7:56 am, December 2nd, 2015 - 19 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, farming, global warming, john key, national, same old national, science, slippery, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: paris cop 2015
Two months ago National cut the funding for Agresearch’s work on greenhouse gas production in the Agricultural centre. At the time Radio New Zealand reported:
AgResearch staff are being forced to abandon burgeoning careers and years of important work is being cast aside, a scientist says.
The Crown research institute has confirmed it will cut the jobs of of 33 scientists and 50 technicians during the next year, as part of a restructuring to cope with a $5 million cut in funding.
Their research in greenhouse gases, animal and forage sciences and on-farm tech support is being scaled back, while 27 new roles are being introduced in food security, Maori agri-business, high value foods and innovative food products.
The net loss of 57 jobs suggests that the $5 million figure is a yearly one. This is confirmed in this post by Emeritus Professor Dick Wilkins, a previous employee at Ruakura. His proposal, that AgResearch should be transformed from a corporate structure to a publicly funded science led organisation, is compelling especially when you think of the scientific advancements the state science sector has achieved.
Fast forward to yesterday and John Key announces on the international stage new spending of $20 million over four years on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural centre. Coincidentally this is the sum of $5 million a year, exactly the amount cut from Agresearch’s budget.
The money is available to fund research in livestock greenhouse gas emission mitigation. Two months ago it was gone, now it is back, although contestable and available for the shiniest short term proposal.
And this great switcherooni is offered as justification for National not including agriculture in the ETS. From Jo Moir at Stuff:
New Zealand has specific challenges given half of our emissions are from agriculture, which is why Key has announced $20m towards research specifically in that area.
For this reason the Government didn’t include agriculture in a review of how to best meet a reduced greenhouse gas emissions target after 2020.
It is hard to reconcile this statement with the discussion document’s statement that agriculture is out of scope because the Government does not want to consider extending the ETS to agriculture unless there are economically viable and practical technologies available to reduce emissions, and New Zealand’s trading partners are making more progress on tackling their emissions in general. Either existing policy is the reason agriculture was not included in the ETS review or this announcement is. It cannot be both.