SOFiA - Exploring Values, Meaning and Spirituality: Newsletter issue 164, Feb 2023
Response to Greg Hughson
One of the problems Rev Hughson refers to in response to my initial article challenging the general consensus on climate change, re the lift in global temperatures of 1.1 degrees since 1800; is that the planet needed to warm. For the previous 450 years the world had experienced a period known as the ‘Little Ice Age’, which was the coldest time on our planet for the previous 10,000 years, so to use 1850 as a benchmark for ‘normal’, which climate alarmists do is in itself a flawed concept, as it is not the planet’s normal. During this time glaciers grew, crops failed and hunger and sickness in Northern Europe was
rampant, so it was not a time of abundance, and our planet needed to start warming. 1850 is not the ‘normal’ for our planet. It we used 1000 years ago as the ‘normal’ during the Medieval warming period, or 2000 years ago in the Roman warming period, or 3500 years ago during the Minoan warming period or
8000-10000 years ago in the early Holocene period, there is no climate emergency, as the temperature back then was similar to today. Using the pre-Industrial date of 1850 as the benchmark, being the end of the Little Ice Age period is to cook the books so to speak. For some weird reason all the politically
driven IPCC, MSM and alarmist narrative shut their eyes to paleoclimatology. There is no way we can stop our planet warming 1.5 degrees above 1850 as that was a very cold period, and on average our planet for the past 250 million years has been 6 degrees warmer than today, and only in the late Quarternary period, the past 3 million years has the planet cooled down to today’s temperature, resulting in mass extinctions through Ice Age events. We need global warming to stop us going into the next deep freeze of the Milankovitch Cycle.
We are currently in the middle of an interglacial period, with the last and most severe Ice Age peaking a mere 20,000 years ago. The previous Ice Age peaked 61,000 years ago, with peak interglacial around 40,000 years ago. We should be at peak interglacial but we are not there yet. 40,000 years ago the planet was about 2 degrees warmer than today. Over the past couple of decades there have been some woolly mammoth bodies which have been found in the melting permafrost in Siberia along with other mammals. Their bodies have been preserved for 35,000-40,000 years in the frozen ice tundra, and only now is it
warming enough for them to be discovered. On their bodies and in their stomachs are seeds and stems of temperate grasses, proof of an abundant food source for grazing herds 40,000 years ago in this thawing landscape. Our planet still needs to warm up quite a lot more to equal the last interglacial peak, and
remember the last Ice Age was the most severe ever, being the coldest time for the previous 250,000,000 years. What is interesting with these mammoths is that when the cold hit them, it hit them hard and fast, as they did not have time to migrate to warmer regions further south, and there was no predation and
devouring of their bodies from carnivores, nor time for mass bacterial decay. The temperate climate of Siberia 35,000-40,000 years ago, was suddenly hit by a huge freezing event and their bodies were literally snap-frozen, hence their intact or semi-intact bodies. We need to warm the planet more to reduce the impact of the next Ice Age which will have a much more severe impact on human life and almost all other biological life, than a further 1 or 2 degree warming.
As for the media and our politicians’ fixation with mitigating global warming by taxing all of us at the petrol pump and other places through the ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) and transferring that wealth to a global elite who are buying up large tracts of good farmland and planting it permanently into trees to carbon farm, this is a national travesty. This impact on local rural communities will be disastrous and the hopes of young farmers wanting to buy land to earn an income off it is being crushed by the deep pockets of large corporates and carbon traders who will make huge profits from our politically and artificially
inflated carbon prices in the ETS.
Yes we were a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Accord which states in Article 2…’aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:
(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees of above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C.
(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner which does not threaten food production.
Somehow the last five words of Article 2 (b) seems to be completely ignored. Whether we like it or not, living in our temperate maritime climate and relatively young soils, NZ farmers and growers are first class food producers, and do it very efficiently. Our dairy farmers have been the whipping boys of our MSM,
which continually demonises them as environmental villains with their methane burping cows, yet the milk produced by NZ cows has the lowest carbon footprint of 0.77 kg CO2e per kg FPCM, compared to 1.06 kg CO2e for Australian milk, 1.23 kg CO2e for USA milk, 1.32 CO2e per kg Dutch milk, 1.68 CO2e per kg
Chinese milk, 2.05 CO2e per kg Indian milk and 3.34 CO2e per kg Peruvian milk. We have 10 million cows, around 1% of cow numbers worldwide. India has 300 million cows and along with China and Brazil, they collectively have 63% of cows worldwide, yet none of these countries are likely to issue a tax on their
burping cows, and for good reason. They are an essential source of food as article 2b of the Paris Accord states. Milk and meat not produced in NZ because of our ETS will now be produced somewhere else in the world, with higher net greenhouse gas emissions at the global level. Therefore converting our farms
into trees and taxing farmers for methane emissions is a nonsense, and it is also both socially and economically destructive for our communities and nation as a whole.
As Greg Hughson claims to have studied ruminant digestion, he should be aware that for methane, it breaks down into carbon, oxygen and water, and also assists in the rebuilding of atmospheric ozone, after 30 years, so does not build in the atmosphere like CO2 and nitrous oxide do over the centuries. As methane produced from livestock in 1990 has all broken down and is no longer having an effect on global warming, methane produced by today’s livestock is only replacing that which has broken down, so methane from our national flocks and herds is no longer contributing to an increase in global methane quantities in the atmosphere since livestock numbers are no higher today than they were in
1990. Reducing our national herd numbers could in theory contribute to a global cooling, but I repeat my statement above that any reduction in meat/milk produced here in NZ will likely be produced overseas to feed 8 billion people with a higher net CO2 equivalent cost, resulting in further net warming rather than
cooling at the global level.
Ruminant agriculture has been the backbone for the NZ economy for well over one hundred years due to our efficient farming methods, soils and environment. Greg Hughson suggests Regenerative Agriculture as a way forward and this is also promoted by uniformed politicians and groups such as Greenpeace who do
not understand that the majority of NZ pastoral farms are already ‘regenerative’ by world standards. A study last year by AgFirst/AgResearch compared 16 regenerative farms to conventional sheep and beef farms nationwide, and found that the conventional farms produced 30% more gross revenue per ha, had
slightly less costs/ha, produced more than 50% more kg meat per ha, more than doubled their net income per ha, and produced 20% less greenhouse gases per kg of meat, so claims that regenerative farming in NZ is a better option than our conventional farming methods are bogus. The study can be found here: https://ourlandandwater.nz/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Regenerative-Agriculture-Value-Proposition-FINAL.pdf
One solution climate alarmists have been an advocate of is converting livestock farms to forestry. In the King Country region where I live, over the past two years, 40 farms have been sold to be planted into trees and this trend is happening nationwide. This afforestation of our hill country is happening because
of the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with its totally artificially created high carbon price making carbon farming considerably more economic than livestock farming. Large corporates, carbon traders and the wealthy elite are purchasing these farms and planting them in fast growing pinus radiata which
absorbs carbon faster than most other trees within a 30 year period, being paid handsomely through the ETS money we all pay through the likes of fuel levies. The ETS takes our hard earned money and distributes it to the wealthy elite who can afford to buy these farms and plant them into trees. Meanwhile budding young Kiwi farmers who would like to purchase farms which come onto the market are being outbid by these individuals and companies, many of whom are overseas based. Last year the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approved the sale of the iconic Huiarua Station north of Gisborne and Matanui Station with a combined area of over 6000 ha to Swedish company Ingka Investments to plant into trees for carbon farming. Swiss company Corisol, Austrian company Johannes Trautmansdorff-Weinsberg and Italian company Greendom are other examples of companies which have been buying up large tracts of land to carbon farm as the profits to be made are substantial and with their deep pockets they can see the potential returns far outweigh other investment opportunities. These companies are not interested in saving our planet, but have their own self-interest at heart. Profits do not come back into the community to be redistributed as what happens with local family owned farms. The forestry slash littering the rivers and beaches on the East Coast from cyclone Hale will become more and more common as more farmland is planted in trees.
As for rising sea levels which is making some Pacific Islands uninhabitable and people living on river deltas more vulnerable to flooding events like what we witnessed last year in Pakistan, it may be that there needs to be mass migration to more temperate regions. Maybe in the not too distant future Greenland could become one of the food bowls of the world, and places like northern Russia will again be home to grazing herds like it was 40,000-300,000 years ago, where our human cousins the Neanderthals made their stand and thrived. Let me stress again that the climate of 1800 is not the planet’s ‘normal’. Far from it. Look at paleoclimatology and discover what temperatures have been most conducive to life on this planet for the myriads of God’s creatures, both great and small, that have called our planet home over the eons of time.
Due to industrialisation, more and more people in the third world are aspiring to lifestyles similar to what we have taken for granted. They want to be able to switch on electricity, warm and cool their homes and entertain themselves with electrical gadgets. They also want to be mobile, drive their own cars, and travel
to other places within their country and abroad and explore the planet. Who are we to deny them the option of becoming tourists? We are very fortunate in New Zealand that most of our electricity is produced with renewable energy sources, particularly HEP, due to our hilly terrain and reasonably reliable rainfall. Other countries do not have this option, so for them it has either been coal fuelled
power stations or nuclear, and after the Chernobyl disaster, coal seems a safer
bet and is less expensive to set up. The real challenge for us humans is over-population, which is not a popular subject MSM, politicians or the United Nations want to broach. The demand on ever diminishing resources by a growing world population will at some stage in the future reach a climax and there is likely to be mass famines and starvations, wars and conflicts as these resources will only be available to those who are lucky enough to live in the right place with the right resources. Choosing not to have children, like some indoctrinated young people are doing, is extreme. Introducing a one child policy like dictatorial China once had could solve the problem of over-population, but it also creates other problems as the Chinese discovered, so it was rightfully abandoned. Denying parenthood is extremely onerous, yet in the future I fear young people being pressured from breeding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their natural instincts will be sacrificed on the altar of alarmist indoctrination. So stop generating fear and hopelessness in the minds of gullible young people. I for one do not see a lift in the planet’s temperature of another 1 or 2 degrees as being the greatest challenge to humanity in spite of what the Secretary General of the UN recently declared. Life flourished on Earth for millions of years at much higher temperatures when CO2 levels were three or four times higher than they are today. Life will continue to
flourish should our species destroy itself in the future, but higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere I don’t believe will be the cause of our downfall. Narcissism, power and greed are much bigger omens to deal with and it is these that the gospel of Christ confronts. Scaring gullible young people with a Chicken Little
‘the sky is falling’ type narrative is not helpful.