NZ opts for UN Framework not Kyoto 2

November 10, 2012

New Zealand is committing the the UN’s Convention Framework rather than signing up for stage two of the Kyoto Protocol:

The Government has decided that from 1 January 2013 New Zealand will be aligning its climate change efforts with developed and developing countries which collectively are responsible for 85% of global emissions. This includes the United States, Japan, China, India, Canada, Brazil, Russia and many other major economies, Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says.

In the transition period 2013 to 2020, developed countries have the option of signing up to a Second Commitment Period (CP2) under the Kyoto Protocol or taking their pledges under the Convention Framework. The Government has decided that New Zealand will take its next commitment under the Convention Framework.

“I want to emphasise that NZ stands 100% behind its existing Kyoto Protocol Commitment.  We are on track to achieving our target – indeed we are forecasting a projected surplus of 23.1 million tonnes. Furthermore, we will remain full members of the Kyoto Protocol. There is no question of withdrawing. The issue was always different: where would we take our next commitment – under the Kyoto Protocol or under the Convention with the large majority of economies? We have decided that it is New Zealand’s best interests to do the latter.

“It is our intention to apply the broad Kyoto Framework of rules to our next commitment. This will ensure that at least New Zealand has started a process of carrying forward the structure created under the Kyoto Framework into the broader Convention Framework.  This had been a point of principle of some importance to many developing countries. It would also mean that there would be no changes in domestic policy settings which had been modelled on the Kyoto Protocol rules.” . .

. . . The next decision will be to set a formal target for NZ’s future emissions track through to 2020 to sit alongside our conditional offer to reduce emissions between minus 10% and minus 20% below 1990 levels. “Cabinet has agreed in principle to set that target once we know exactly what the final rules will be on some crucial technical issues, including access to international carbon markets.”

The opposition and others of a dark green persuasion are saying the government has done the as a result of which the sky will fall and the sea will rise.
They’d prefer we stuff  our economy to make token gestures which will have little if any impact on the environment.
Our emissions are so small on a global scale we could kill all our animals and people and the resulting decrease in emissions would barely register.
That could be used as an excuse to do nothing but instead we’re aligning our efforts with those of most of our trading partners – except Australia.
P.S. I note one of those doing as we are is Canada, do I remember correctly that it pulled out of its first Kyoto commitment?

Less meat, better health, less carbon?

September 15, 2012

A British study suggests eating less meat could reduce disease and carbon emissions:

. . . Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that cutting back on red meat consumption could decrease the number of cases of chronic disease by 3 to 12 percent, and make the carbon footprint nearly 28 million tons smaller per year by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The BMJ Open study included data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British Adults in 2000-2001. Researchers looked at the amount of meat the people in the study consumed, as well as how many green gas emissions were emitted that are linked to 45 different kinds of food.

The BMJ Open study included data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British Adults in 2000-2001. Researchers looked at the amount of meat the people in the study consumed, as well as how many green gas emissions were emitted that are linked to 45 different kinds of food.

After adjusting for proportions, the researchers found that people who regularly ate red or processed meat in the study also just generally consumed more food than people who didn’t regularly eat red or processed meat. So, they calculated that if people who ate the most red and processed meat in the study were to adjust their eating habits so they ate like the people who consumed the least red and processed meat in the study, that would decrease health risks (such as risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease) anywhere from 3 to 12 percent. . .

If I’m reading this correctly, it says people don’t have to just eat less meat, they have to eat less fullstop.

It’s not a matter of replacing red meat with other food but in reducing total food intake.

If eating less still provided a balanced diet there would almost certainly be health benefits. If reduced consumption led to reduced production there would probably be a reduction in carbon emissions too – although that would depend on what food was consumed, how it was produced, transported and stored.

But if the meat was replaced with other food it’s possible there would be no benefits to either people’s health or the environment.


Minnows can’t make big difference

August 2, 2011

Quote of the week from Minister  for Climate Change Negotiations Tim Groser:

“We need some international context around this. I mean, with 0.2 percent of emissions, New Zealand just doing something way out there on its own doesn’t make a damn bit of difference,” says Mr Groser.

He says without buy-in from big emitters like the US and China, the talks are just that.

He was responding to criticism of New Zealand’s progress on reducing carbon emissions.

Not only are our emissions tiny on a world scale, most of them come from farm animals and there’s very little we can do about that.

That doesn’t mean farmers and processors aren’t doing what they can. Fonterra intends to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030.

But Mr Ferrier says the ETS is already costing dairy farmers about $3600 per year in increased energy costs.

He says efficiencies can be made without having to pile more costs onto farmers, who have already reduced on-farm emissions by more than 8% since 2003.

All farmers contribute to research on reducing emissions too.

But we’re still and minnow in the sea of emissions and there’s no point criticising us for doing too little when the whales are being left alone .


Smith speaks sense on emissions targets

December 11, 2010

A friend is developing a farm which has small blocks of forestry.

As the Kyoto rules stand at the moment if he fells the pines re-plants in the same place or fells the trees and leaves the stumps he will have no carbon liability. But if he fells the trees, clears the stumps and replants trees in a different place he will.

Many hectares of land around Taupo were planted in trees because stock grazed there got bush sickness. It has since been recognised that this was caused by cobalt deficiency which can be addressed.

In other areas development incentives encouraged farmers to clear marginal land which is prone to erosion.

It would be better for both the economy and the environment if the land near Taupo was cleared for pastoral farming and the marginal land was returned to forestry but that is unlikely to happen under the current Kyoto rules which were designed with native forests in mind.

New Zealand is one of few, possibly the only, country in the world with a large areas of exotic forestry.

There may be sense in requiring the replanting of trees where they’ve been felled if you’re trying to save rain forests but it makes no difference to carbon emissions if replacement trees are planted in a different place.

New Zealand has put a lot of effort into getting this changed and now Climate Change Minister is sensibly saying New Zealand won’t commit to emissions targets unless forestry rules are clear.

He told the United Nations conference in Cancun New Zealand wants a change to allow pre-1990 forests to be harvested and re-planted elsewhere and also to lock up emissions for wood which is felled and used for building  rather than have it count as being consumed and its emissions released on felling.

It’s such a good idea, Whaleoil, who doesn’t praise lightly, has given him politician of the week on the strength of it.


Risks and opportunities in ETS

June 3, 2010

The ETS will hold both risks and opportunities, Rabobank head of Food and Agribusiness Research Advisory, Justin Sherrard, told farmers in Oamaru.

“New Zealand farmers had proven ability to improve productivity year on year to remain competitive in international markets and the ETS will be another driver for this.”

He said the government has introduced the ETS to:

* meet international obligations,

*play its part in addressing a major global challenge;

*transition the economy to low carbon growth

* preserve our clean, green image.

Sherrard said an  ETS is the most cost effective way of achieving emissions reductions and international retailers are already cutting carbon..

Walmart has introduced a sustainability index target to cut 20m tonnes of carbon by 2015 – that’s about half of what New Zealand produces.

“It will send a signal up the supply chain and ask all supplier to reduce emissions and reward those which do,” Sherrard said.

Tesco has a carbon footprint label on products which show the total life cycle carbon emissions so it can give consumers information on which to base their choices.

The Japanese government has introduced a carbon labelling scheme.

Marks and Spencers is converting 50% of its branded products to Plan A products by 2015 and 100% by 2020 by working with suppliers.

The market is moving and suppliers who don’t move it will be at a disadvantage.

The ETS will impose costs but that’s what it aims to do in an attempt to encourage reductions and Sherrard said carbon could be a driver of innovation.

“Globally the food and agriculture sector needs to cut carbon from food production and New Zealand could be a leader in the agriculture sector,” he said.

“There is an opportunity for New Zealand to gain early access to techniques and technology. This will provide market access advantages and branding advantages.”

Farmers had opportunities to reduce exposure to carbon prices by using alternative fuels and when replacing machinery ensuring it was more fuel efficient.

Alternative energy such as solar or biogas could be used. There are also opportunities for efficiency gains in plant and equipment..

Sherrard said that to prepare for the ETS the food and agriculture sector needs to:

* ensure it understands how the ETS works and the associated risks and opportunities.

* engage effectively in the policy process before agriculture comes into the ETS.

* understand the mechanics of carbon pricing.

* ensure there is sufficient investment in innovation.

Individual farms won’t be participants in the ETS but processors will be.

“Markets hate uncertainty. You may not like what’s going to happen but at least we know what’s going to happen and we’re able to assess the risks and opportunities and act on them, ” he said.


Three questions:

November 25, 2009

1.Why does the carbon liability for oil falls on consumers when the liability for food falls on producers?

2. Why is New Zealand criticised for our per capita emissions when we export most of what we produce form the animals that produce the bulk of our emissions?

3. Why action which reduces emissions in one place is deemed to be good, even if it leads to an increase in emissions in another place?


More food less carbon

October 8, 2009

One of the criticisms of carbon emissions’ policy is the impact on agriculture and the need to increase food production.

Trade and Associate Climate Change Minister Tim Groser discusses this in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.

Reducing agricultural emissions cannot be at the expense of food production, however. To feed the world, food production will need to double by 2050. This is the same time frame in which the science tells us global greenhouse gas emissions will need to be halved if we are to limit global warming to two degrees centigrade. Already the food system is struggling to feed the world’s population, and food security will always take priority over climate-change considerations.

Groser says there are commercial reasons for reducing emissions and that the Global Alliance which New Zealand is promoting could find the answer to growing food without growing emissions.

If it doesn’t any attempts to reduce emissions will have to exclude agriculture because the need for food today will always win against the good of the environment tomorrow.


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