It's time we all stood back and had a good, hard, and look at the provable level of causation between greenhouse gases and
so-called climate change.
There is little doubt that greenhouse gases have some effect on the climate but if we are to be serious about cleaning up the atmosphere then perhaps we have to be terribly honest with ourselves, not accept without question the “conventional wisdom” on the causes of climate change, recognise that
Earth's climate is in a constant state of change and have a look at what the really big players throughout the world are doing.
To use the “climate change bogey” as a vehicle to justify reducing carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere could, at the end of the day, discredit the whole environmental argument regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, assuming that such a reduction is at all possible given the increasing world population.
The latest government based exercise in public relations and hypocrisy regarding climate change has come to us by courtesy of the New Zealand Government. New Zealand is an agricultural country that has some eight million cattle and some 45 million sheep. As a result it has excluded it agricultural production sector from the encumbrances of Kyoto, and justifiably so.
However while doing this the New Zealand Government will invest $70m over seven years doing research on pasture modification and the like that could reduce the methane output of the agriculture sector by between 10% and 20%. All's fine so far and given that a cow produces 90kg of methane a year a 20% reduction amounts to 18kg of methane per cow/year or just over 1.5million tonnes for the country as a whole per cow/year.
This New Zealand program has to be put into context with the world situation. The Russian tundra region which is an area larger than France and Germany combined has the capacity, given an adverse scenario of naturally producing 70 billions tonnes of methane in a very short period of time which does make the New Zealand effort look more like a feel good exercise that anything to do with climate change.
The Canadian tundra would have a similar ability to its Russian counterpart and this only compounds the problem.
The real downside is that over the next 7 years New Zealanders will be pumping $70m into what could be called an exercise in futility to the detriment of their health, welfare and infrastructure needs. All to no avail.
On top of this the major producers of greenhouse gases like China, Russia and India have stated openly and determinedly that they will not consider greenhouse gas reduction as a priority if in fact it will be an agenda item at all.
All this of course is New Zealand's business but there is every indication that Australia will follow a similar course of action. If that is done, with any expectation that such actions will sway these developing giants, then the time has come to take a reality check.
It is a given that the world's population increase, combined with an ever changing climatic environment is a recipe for trouble. We have had enough drought in this country to see how disastrous the effects of overstocking can be and if we are so blind that we cannot see the comparison then perhaps we deserve all we get.
Hopefully Australia's governments will not spend too much money sugar-coating the result.
RETURN TO: INDEPENDENT