ETS for agriculture is economic stupidity

David Bellamy’s biological arguments for excluding agriculture from the Emissions Trading Scheme (see post below) are complemented by economic arguments from Muriel Newman:

The primary sector remains the backbone of New Zealand’s prosperity. Last year it earned 47 percent of the country’s export returns of $35 billion. Dairying was the single biggest export earner with receipts of $7.5 billion, or 21.6 percent of the total. Meat exports ranked second with $4.3 billion or 12.4 percent. In third place, wood exports were worth $2.1 billion, or 6 percent.

The primary sector exports around 90 percent of all of the food produced in New Zealand. This is in sharp contrast to Australia, which only exports a quarter of its food production. An estimated 40 percent of New Zealanders are employed in the food industry.

New Zealand’s prosperity has, of course, always been dependent on farming…

That’s why it is incomprehensible that a New Zealand parliamentary party is undermining the farming sector. The Green Party should be ashamed of itself for blaming farmers for increasing food prices, when farmers, like everyone other New Zealander, are facing rising costs caused by increasing fuel and power prices, higher mortgages, and an escalation in rates and other government charges.

In fact, it is Green Party policies like biofuels, emissions trading schemes, and an over-reliance on solar and windpower that are the cause of much of the cost pressure increases that are occurring in New Zealand and around the world. That is why their call for an inquiry into supermarket pricing smacks of hypocrisy and political game-playing – especially in light of their opposition to the government’s proposal to delay the entry of farming into the emissions trading scheme.

Absolutely right. They don’t appear to understand that if it costs more to produce food it will cost more to buy it.

The government has estimated that at a conservative price for carbon of $50 a tonne, under their proposed emissions trading scheme agricultural payouts will fall by 12 percent for dairying, 21 percent for beef, 34 percent for sheep and 43 percent for venison. 

Anyone who has even the most rudimentary understanding of our economy will realise that these charges will not only ruin the viability of the farming sector and cause food prices to escalate to unprecedented levels, but will further undermine the wealth of all New Zealanders.

Why would any government commit to something which will be hugely expensive, damage the economy and do nothing for the environment. It is economic and political madness to impose such high costs for no benefit.

6 Responses to ETS for agriculture is economic stupidity

  1. the history of emissions trading is interesting. The use of the market was ordained by the neo-liberal faith in the late 80s and early 90s that the market was the best way to do things.

    Unfortunately, the theory has run agounrd again and again on the shoals of market promoters who don’t want to participate in the market. Markets are OK while they are raking in the cash, but to be avoided at all costs when they have to pay out.

    With that in mind, it looks like good old fashioned regulation backed by compulsion will be the only way to herd the reluctant emissions reducers into doing their duty to Earth, our country and their families and descendants.

    The wealthy of Paris in the late 1800s fought like tigers to avoid paying for the sewage system that would save their children from dying of cholera.

    “Bacteria!!!! What utter drivel. I have 20 plumbers and electricians with an interest in biology on my staff who swear there is no such thing! It’s a hoax!!”

    In the end, they were compelled to pay, the sewers were buiklt….and cholera abated.

    Meanwhile, looks like the North Pole could be ice free this year for the first time in thousands of years.

  2. homepaddock says:

    No other country is including agriculture in their ETS and it makes even less sense for NZ to do it when it’s such an important part of our economy.

    If we shot every farm animal in the country world emissions would increase.

    Money and energy should go into research not be wasted on taxes and bureaucracy.

  3. Colin E McIntyre says:

    A Sheep and Beef farmer for 56 yr’s.,having survived many financial and political “swindles” over time I feel Carbon Emissions and Trading is the “Daddy” of them all.

    More Publicity should be given to the people who seriously question the proposals and scientific proof relating to these measures.

  4. homepaddock says:

    Colin: You are right about both the impact and the need for more information.

  5. Colin E McIntyre says:

    This is similar to when many of us questioned much of the spin put out over the Meningoccal B programme .Not that I am against vaccinations.
    Hansard Files on the antics that went on in parliament over this issue certainly point to corruption being alive and well.

    Knowing what goes on in Local and Central Government etc, no wonder Ron Law, BarbaraSumner Burstyn & Dr Diana Lennon were shafted in their efforts.
    Read About it on” Scoop” or Google the subject

    E-mail It Print It Scoop It Scoop >> Health >>

    Minister’s Claims Bizarre
    Monday, 14 April 2008, 3:27 pm
    Press Release: Ron Law

    Minister’s Claims Bizarre

    ,Ron Law
    Risk & Policy Analyst

  6. Colin E McIntyre says:

    Re Steve Withers statement, ” Meanwhile, looks like the North Pole could be ice free this year for the first time in thousands of years” doesn’t gel with what I’m reading and viewing.

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