Why NZ farmers should hope for positive results from research into the methane effects of lacing stock feed with seaweed

A post on the Point of Order blog today reports on concerns about the contribution of methane to climate change and to the research in New Zealand and Australia to find ways of reducing methane emissions in farm animals…

A warning  bell  sounded  for  New Zealand farmers  when The Economist – in an editorial  last week headed “It  is  not  all  about  the  CO2” – argued  that carbon  dioxide is by far the most important   driver of  climate  change, but methane  matters  too.

The  final  sentence of  the  editorial reads,  ominously:

“Methane  should be  given priority on the  COP26 climate  summit  this  November”.

NZ may  fight  its  corner   vigorously   at the   Glasgow  summit,  but  the   risk is  that  delegates  there   will  seize  on  the  thesis  advanced  by The Economist    that   methane is  a more  powerful  greenhouse  gas  than  carbon   dioxide,  and  decide  to  target  it harshly.

 “Reduce  methane  emissions and  you  soon  reduce  methane  levels;  reduce   methane  levels  and  you  reduce global  warming”,  says The Economist.

With  NZ’s   greenhouse  gas  emissions  comprising  about 49%  methane, this  country  could  be  savaged  by  climate  change  warriors,  while other  countries  could  follow the  European Union  in  contemplating  a  tariff regime,  or  what  it  calls  a  carbon border  adjustment  mechanism  (CBAM),  in  which the  price  of  imports  reflect their carbon  content.    Such  a    mechanism, if  adopted   broadly, could severely penalise NZ  agriculture  exports. Continue reading

Farmers and scientists in US are divided over climate change

Crop producers and scientists in the US hold deeply different views on climate change and its possible causes, a study by Purdue and Iowa State universities shows.

Associate professor of natural resource social science Linda Prokopy and fellow researchers surveyed 6,795 people in the agricultural sector in 2011-2012 to determine their beliefs about climate change and whether variation in the climate is triggered by human activities, natural causes or an equal combination of both.

More than 90 percent of the scientists and climatologists surveyed said they believed climate change was occurring, with more than 50 percent attributing climate change primarily to human activities.

In contrast, 66 percent of corn producers surveyed said they believed climate change was occurring, with 8 percent pinpointing human activities as the main cause. A quarter of producers said they believed climate change was caused mostly by natural shifts in the environment, and 31 percent said there was not enough evidence to determine whether climate change was happening or not.

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