Meatless days won’t save world

September 8, 2008

The United Nations wants us to eat less meat to reduce our carbon footprint.

People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world’s leading authority on global warming has told The Observer

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.

I hope he knows more about climate change than diet because health professionals are generally agreed that we shouldn’t eat too much meat at all and that three to five small servings of lean red meat a week is enough.

So we should already be having a couple of meat-free days if we want to lower our risk of heart disease and some cancers. But urging us to do it for environmental reasons is more contentious.

Obesity is literally a growing problem for some but others are starving because the world is short of protein and the mad rush to replace fossil fuels with bio fuels is one of the reasons for that. This prescription for meat-free days could also have unforeseen consequences without reducing carbon emissions.

I hope the work on climate change for which the doctor is so highly regarded is more credible than his pronouncement on meat eating because he doesn’t seem to realise that that some people going without meat doesn’t necessarily alter the number of animals being farmed and the total amount of meat being eaten. Farmers might keep the same size of herds and find new markets and customers for their produce.

Also not all meat production is equal. The extensive grasslands production methods used in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina has a much lower carbon footprint than intensive grain fed systems employed in most of Europe – even when you take into account transporting the meat part way round the world to get it to the market.

Crop production and processing isn’t necessarily equal either. While generally producing a given amount of nutrients from crops may result in lower carbon emissions than producing the same amount from meat; some meat production could be more carbon-efficient than growing, harvesting and producing some crops.

The science is not settled on climate change and unscientific pronouncements like these from Dr Pacahuri only add to the questions.

[Bob Edlin has a related post at Dig n Stir.]

Hat tip: Inquiring Mind


Do you sense a diversion coming?

September 8, 2008

Inventory 2 reckons that Labour will launch a diversion to take attention off tomorrow’s priviliges committee revelations by Owen Glenn.

There are no prizes, just the glory, for the best prediction made about what the diversion might be. You can make yours by popping over to Keeping Stock.


ETS flaws

September 8, 2008

Ngai Tahu says the Emissions Trading Scheme will threaten Iwi assets.

And National environment spokesman Nick Smith says news errors  have been found in the ETS legislation:

These significant errors will needlessly cost industry millions of dollars. Fonterra alone has identified the cost at $13.5 million per year.

“Government officials have accepted these errors, affecting clauses 57 and 69 and schedules 3 and 4 of the bill, and are now scrambling to find a way to make the corrections.

“The problem is that the opportunity for amending the bill has passed, as only the title and third reading stages remain.

. . .”It is not good enough for the Minister to dismiss concerns by saying these are just technical amendments when a few words wrong can cost many millions of dollars.

“This bill represents one of this country’s biggest economic reforms. It is grossly irresponsible to be ramming it through with hundreds of new amendments, when the public has had no opportunity to comment, and when not a single MP can credibly claim to understand it.

The Electoral Finance Act was bulldozed through against advice in much the same way Labour and its allies are ramming through the ETS legislation. The EFA has had a chililng effect on democracy and ironically for legislation which is aimed to combat climate change, the ETS will have a chilling imapct on our economy and society.


SFF votes for PGW offer

September 8, 2008

Silver Fern shareholders have voted to accept PGG Wrightson’s offer to take a 50% stake in their company.

The counting is still going on but they already have the 75% majority needed for the deal to go ahead.

Jamie McKay has just interviewed SFF chief executive Ketih Cooper about the vote on what happens next on The Farming Show. It will be on line here later.

[Update: TV3 reports on the result and what it means here.]

[U[date 2 – Rural Network reports more fully here.]


Liberal’s mission helps Nats

September 8, 2008

Glenn Jameson has been criticised by some Libertarianz for working for the National Party election campaign.

His response is:

I have a single-minded objective: to help bring an end to the most corrupt government New Zealand has ever seen. . .

That she [Helen Clark] said this without blushing demonstrates just how deep the corruption has seeped. She sees no vice in stealing money from the taxpayer to fund an 11th hour campaign that saw her retain power by the narrowest of majorities. She has justified within herself the bullying of the judiciary to drop charges on a prima facie case of the public money. She sleeps soundly at night in the knowledge that she took the unprecedented step to rewrite the law to make the aforementioned theft legal so as to avoid being taken to court by Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton.

Two years later her government followed up this Mugabean act with the EFA, singularly the most draconian, anti-freedom legislation ever written in New Zealand: the act that works to dissolve the first and last right of a citizenry in a civilised country – that is, the right to criticise one’s government.

When I took the role on the marketing team for the National Party I knew I’d have to suffer the enmity of most of you here. I also knew I’d be roundly criticised by my peers for a campaign that was always going to have fewer teeth than its predecessor. I don’t blame Cresswell & Co. for their mockery, outrage and sense of betrayal; they will never see the light that exists between National and a party that is truly corrupt.

I want to see the restoration of free and fair elections in New Zealand, and since Helen Clark refuses to step down for the good of her country I’m doing everything in my power to make her. John Key has promised to end the EFA. It’s my job to make sure he has the chance to do so.

There is only one party which can end Clark’s government and that’s National.  Jameson recognises that and has chosen to use his skills to work for National because he wants to defeat Labour.

The comments below his post make entertaining reading.  Some are from people who pride themselves on being liberal but are appalled at he’s exercising his freedom to work for whoever he chooses; others accept his right to do it.

And for those like me who saw the the health billboard and thought, good policy – bad grammar, Jameson explains:

For the record, the line I’d written was “LESS BUREAUCRACY”. They wanted the message to be about fewer bureaucrats. I was overruled on the grammar. The ‘mistake’ was deliberate and all this extra attention it has generated appears to have made the minor embarrassment worth it.


PM triggers early election

September 8, 2008

Sadly it’s not ours but the Canadian PM.

Canada’s prime minister has triggered an early election, dissolving Parliament in a bid to bolster his party’s grip on power in a vote next month that will be the country’s third national ballot in four years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he expects the October 14 vote to produce another minority government but recent polls show the Conservatives could win the majority they need to rule without help from opposition parties.

Analysts said Harper’s party has a better shot of winning now than if they had waited until being forced into a vote later when the Canadian economy might be worse off or after Canadians could be influenced by the US presidential election results.


Come home campaign canned

September 8, 2008

What a surprise – the come home Kiwis campaign didn’t work.

A marketing campaign aimed at luring expat New Zealanders home from Australia has been canned and declared a failure.

An evaluation of the campaign, obtained under The Official Information Act by The Dominion Post, found it received more media coverage in New Zealand than Australia.

The campaign was launched in May 2006 at a cost $1 million a year.

A similar campaign was more successful in Britain where it was launched in November 2005.

The evaluation found New Zealanders were more integrated in Australia than in Britain and the lifestyle was not sufficiently different to be a selling point.

It was cancelled because it had “not proven to be effective”.

Neither campaign made any difference in the number of people leaving New Zealand.

It’s not people choosing to leave the country for their OE nor choosing not to return that is the real problem.

It is the people who feel they have to go and can’t come back because they have a better life in other countries that is the real problem.

The solution to that is not spin, it’s economic growth and the social improvements which come with it.


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