Franz Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony was first performed on this day in 1865.
. . . there was another week between the end of November and Christmas?
That way people like me who turn off at the first sight of tinsel in September wouldn’t find themselves more than a little under-prepared with just a week to go.
Phil Clarke blogs on sugar beet silliness in the EU.
Good weather has led to a bumper crop of beet and the EU as a whole is expecting to produce about 2.4 million tonnes. But that exceeds the 1.37m it’s allowed to export under a WTO ruling.
That was based on a complaint by Australia, Brazil and Thailand which had argued that the EU was “dumping” its surpluses on the world market.
But that was in the days when world prices were way below EU levels. The situation is very different today, with the global shortage of sugar leading to a doubling in prices in just 12 months.
The response suggested by CIBE is for the EU to increase the export ceiling for 2010, so that, instead of having to stockpile about 1m tonnes of surplus sugar, processors can sell it to the world market and help relieve the global shortage…
What could be more sensible? Global prices would come down a bit, the EU sugar industry would earn a bit and consumers the world over would save a bit.
But that’s not the way Brussels sees it. It maintains that “it is not possible to export out-of-quota sugar in excess of the WTO limit” and suggests the only option is to carry over any surplus into next season.
The EU could make a request to the WTO to lift the export ceiling.
It certainly seems unlikely that the likes of Australia, Brazil and Thailand would complain, since their consumers are feeling the impact of high sugar prices too.
The more likely outcome, however, is that the EU will do nothing. As a result, each member state will have to put its extra sugar into storage this winter, with all the cost that involves, and carry it forward to next season.
And that will mean further reductions in EU growers’ 2010/11 contract tonnages – even though prices are sky high and the world is crying out for sugar.
I presume the reason the WTO is involved is because the sugar beet production is subsidised.
The market might not be perfect and it means accepting the lows which inevitably occur but this illustrates how silly subsidies are when they prevent producers from benefitting from the highs.
It’s not good for consumers either. They’ll have been taxed to pay for the subsidies when demand was low and now there’s a sugar shortage they’ll be paying higher prices.
New Zealand will contribute $45 million over four years to the Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases, Climate Change Issues Minsiter Tim Groser and Agriculture Minsiter David Carter announced.
Ministers from 20 countries last night joined New Zealand to establish the Alliance which brings together public and private researchers.
“New Zealand is pleased to have been able to pull together such a diverse range of countries, including major players like the United States and India, to work together on finding practical solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
“This Alliance will be a credible force for ensuring the resources, research capability and international goodwill to reduce farm emissions while ensuring food production meets the demands of a growing world population,” says Mr Groser.
Founding Alliance member countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
The Alliance – proposed by Prime Minister John Key at the UN General Assembly in September – has been heavily promoted by NZ ministers as a constructive initiative that brings developed and developing countries together on reducing emissions from livestock, cropping and rice production.
Mr Groser says the commitment is a significant step in boosting the profile of agriculture greenhouse gas research internationally.
“14 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, but for New Zealand and parts of the developing world, that figure is much higher. There is an urgent need to develop technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agriculture while enhancing food security,” says Mr Groser.
Agriculture Minister David Carter says the Government is confident the Global Research Alliance will help the world’s food producers keep their emissions to the minimum possible, and play an important role in overall global mitigation efforts.
“The Alliance is one of a suite of measures the Government is working on to address agriculture emissions, including the domestic Centre for Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Research, based at AgResearch, and the amended Emissions Trading Scheme passed last month.
“Other efforts include greenhouse gas footprint projects for primary producers and trials of carbon sequestration techniques such as biochar.
“The culmination of these measures will be a big step towards assisting New Zealand farmers to meet their climate change obligations,” Mr Carter says.
Global Research Alliance members will meet early in 2010 in New Zealand to establish working groups, and discuss priority setting and opportunities for encouraging participation.
Regardless of the motivation, international co-operation on agricultural research is a positive move.
1773 At Wharehunga Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound, 10 men who were with James Cook’s navigator Tobias Furneaux died at the hands of Ngati Kuia and Rangitane, led by their chief, Kahura.
1889 New Zealand’s Eifel tower opened at the South Seas Exhibition.
1904 Paul Cadmus, American artist, was born.
1915 André Claveau, French singer, was born.
1944 Major Major, No. 1 Dog, 2NZEF, and member/mascot of 19 Battalion since 1939, died of sickness in Italy. He was buried with full military honours at Rimini.
|Boeing B-47E-65-BW (AF Serial No. 51-5257)during rocket-assisted takeoff test.|
1969 The SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) began.
1969 Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closed its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.