Jun 27, 2008

Deer Industry Shows Leadership On Climate Change

The CEO of Deer Industry New Zealand has written an opinion piece in today's NZ Herald on the climate change policy response.

Deer Industry New Zealand is convinced the proposed emissions trading scheme will not make any real difference to climate change as it damages the New Zealand economy. The industry body believes there is a much more pragmatic and meaningful way forward.
As mounting economic analysis shows, the proposed trading scheme will have a large, negative economic impact on individual Kiwis' wellbeing.
There are indications that electricity bills may rise by 20 per cent, the equivalent to between 20,000 and 50,000 jobs will be lost and the average household spending capability will fall by $3000 a year over time.
On an economy-wide basis, the effect of the scheme on gross domestic product may be a drop of $6 billion by 2025. This is like losing revenue from the entire New Zealand wine and kiwifruit industries three times over.

Won't it help solve an important global problem?

Some of these analyses suggest the scheme will also do very little to get New Zealand any closer to carbon neutrality, or make any discernible impact on global emissions. Indeed, in its currently proposed form, there is a significant risk that efficient industries and businesses could cease to operate.
And in the case of agriculture, any drop in New Zealand production could be picked up by less efficient overseas producers, with the net effect that global emissions rise and this country loses valuable export earnings.

So do we do nothing? No

Although the main source of greenhouse gas emissions is the world's use of fossil fuel, New Zealand's economy relies on agriculture to produce food for the world's consumers. It needs to solve the challenges of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture.
NZ has some of the world's top pastoral systems scientists. Ground-breaking work is being done by Kiwi scientists, such as the recent mapping of the entire genetic sequence of a microbe which produces methane from the rumen of deer, cattle and sheep.
As well as reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand would establish itself as a pre-eminent research, development and adoption centre worldwide in the mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gases.
It would make a real impact on global carbon emissions and show real leadership in the fight against climate change.
Solving the methane and nitrous oxide emissions problem requires commitment from the Government and the whole industry.
It also requires focus and creativity. We don't have enough of these at present.