Word of the day

August 16, 2019

Fracedinous – producing heat through putrefaction.


Thatcher thinks

August 16, 2019


Rural round-up

August 16, 2019

Climate experts flat out lying – Andrew Stewart:

An open letter to our Government and the farming leaders of New Zealand.

For the first time in my farming career, which spans 16 years as an owner and a lifetime on the same farm, I find myself doubting whether I would consider encouraging my two daughters into the agricultural profession. 

This negativity has been created by proposed regulations regarding climate change and how we as farmers will have to cope with it and ultimately pay for it. 

Luckily, my children are still young, at seven and four, and I can only hope I still have the time to help rectify this situation before it is too late.

I am writing this as a response to the bombardment of information that has spewed forth in the past couple of weeks regarding climate change obligations in agriculture.  . . 

Bankers circling? Sudesh Kissun:

Farmers are urging banks to take a long term view of their businesses, now under growing pressure to improve their balance sheets.

Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says some farmers feel they are facing “a banking crisis” because of relentless pressure from banks.

While ultimately farmers must ‘own’ their individual financial positions, Lewis says banks need to go easy.

“They must take the long term view that dairying is a profitable business,” he told Rural News. . . 

Kiwi Climatology: Land of the Long White Clods – Walter Starck:

The science, technology and economics relevant to the possibility of a catastrophic impact on global climate from use of fossil fuels is vast and complex. Vanishingly few persons can spend the time necessary to begin to appreciate the uncertainties, conflicting information and outright misinformation being promulgated.  Unfortunately, we are taught and expected to have an opinion on everything no matter how little we actually know about it and the climate change meme has proliferated into an epidemic conviction of which the chattering classes in particular appear to have little or no resistance.

As professional opinion leaders, politicians seem to be especially susceptible, to the point of engaging in what in effect have become competitive displays of ignorance about climate change. A current example is the recent initiative of the New Zealand government to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  For a start, NZ accounts for about 0.1 per cent (i.e. one-thousandth) of global emissions. Over 80 per cent of their electrical power comes from renewable energy, mainly hydro and geothermal. Their per capita CO2 emissions are among the lowest in the developed world and natural uptakes make them a net CO2 sink. . .

Tougher animal system rolled out after critical report

Changes to New Zealand’s animal tracking system are starting to be rolled out after a report released last year identified a raft of issues with the scheme.

Lax compliance with the National Animal Identification and Tracing, or NAIT, system by some farmers has been blamed for the spread of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Officials complained they sometimes could not find out which animals had been moved or which calves had been born to which cow. . .

Boffins race stink bug’s spread – Richard Rennie:

The spectacular, soaring peaks around Trento on the edge of the Dolomites in northern Italy shelter a glacial valley that has become the fruit bowl of Europe over the past 50 years. But the region is under siege from advancing hordes of brown marmorated stink bugs threatening growers’ futures. The bug’s speed in establishing and its effect on crops provide a chilling insight to what it could inflict in New Zealand should it ever become established here. Farmers Weekly journalist Richard Rennie visited the region to learn more about the bug’s effect and efforts to deal with it.

New Zealand and Italian researchers at the Foundazione Edmund Mach Research Centre near Trento in Italy are on the front line trying to halt the advance of the brown marmorated stink bug rapidly wreaking havoc on crops. 

“This year we have trapped 10 times the number of bugs we did last year and it was only identified here in 2016,” centre head Professor Claudio Ioriatti said.

“The first reports of crop damage came quickly the following year in 2017 and now growers are having to spray heavily to try and slow the bug’s advance.” . . .

More people to shun plant-based ‘milk’ thanks to campaign :

More than one in ten people will now shun plant-based ‘milk’ substitutes following a major dairy campaign highlighting the benefits of real milk.

11% more young parents are certain to buy dairy products according to research carried out after the second year of AHDB and Dairy UK’s campaign.

The study showed an 8% fall in the number of people cutting their dairy consumption now or in the future.

It also showed an 11% reduction in intentions to consume plant-based substitutes. . .

‘Farmers are being bullied over misplaced anti-meat focus of climate change debate’, union leader says – Ben Barnett:

Farmers are being made to feel “isolated” and “terrorised” because of a deeply flawed approach to tackling climate change, according to the industry’s union leader.

Minette Batters has accused a “metropolitan elite” of bullying farmers by focusing on meat-eating alone to tackle climate change.

The president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), posting on social media, said some sections of the media were “destroying lives” by their portrayal of farming’s contribution to climate change. . . 


Science when it suits again

August 16, 2019

The government is ignoring its own scientific advice over setting methane reduction targets:

Advice to the Government from MPI’s officials shows that the Government’s proposed methane reduction targets go well beyond the science of what is needed for New Zealand to meet its 1.5⁰C Paris Agreement commitments and was purely a political decision made in Cabinet.

“Official’s advice validates the arguments we have been making that methane does not need to reduce by the amount proposed by the Government in the Zero Carbon Bill in order to limit warming to no more than 1.5⁰C,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s CEO Sam McIvor.

Mr McIvor’s comments are also echoed by DairyNZ’s CEO Dr Tim Mackle.

“The agricultural sector has consistently said that the Government is asking farmers to do more than what’s required, and more than what’s being asked by other sectors of the economy, and this has been confirmed by the Government’s own advice”, says Dr Mackle.

“We are willing to play our part to address climate change and want to have a transparent and science based discussion about what that should be.”

The government can’t ask us to accept the science on climate change then ignore it in responding.

While the Government referenced the IPCC report, in applying the target for a global reduction in methane emissions to New Zealand, they have conveniently omitted the IPCC’s caveat that makes clear these global targets shouldn’t simply be slapped on individual countries.

It is also ignoring the Paris Accord which stipulates that cliamte change mitigation should not be at the expense of food production.

“The combined effect of the excessive methane targets and net zero target for nitrous oxide, which even go beyond the IPCC’s advice for this gas, means that New Zealand is effectively aiming to go below 1.5 degrees and by doing so, letting other countries off the hook,” says Mr McIvor.

The Government is even being inconsistent in its own statements in saying it has relied on IPCC advice, with parliamentary written questions showing it did not seek any specific advice from the IPCC in doing this.  Instead the Government has cherry picked the numbers it wanted and gone with the highest ranges it could find for methane, as well as going beyond what the IPCC recommended for nitrous oxide.

Federated Farmers’ National Vice President Andrew Hoggard says that the advice from MPI vindicates the sector’s position that the Government has opted for a political target on methane rather than a scientific one.

“When the IPCC explicitly states their global methane reduction targets shouldn’t be used as national targets, and Article 2 of the Paris Agreement requires countries to set targets in a manner that doesn’t threaten food production and to take into account different national circumstances, it’s disappointing that the Government has opted to pursue a political target agreed at Cabinet to make it feel good on the world stage regardless of its lack of scientific backing or the disastrous consequences it could have on New Zealand’s food producers,” says Mr Hoggard.

B+LNZ, DairyNZ, and Federated Farmers, while all having made individual submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill, are united in their view that the proposed 24-47 percent target is too high and are encouraging the Government to take a science-based approach that reflects the fact that methane only needs to reduce by a small amount each year in order to contribute no additional warming.

The government is proposing unrealistic targets. Even trying to meet them will come at a high cost, in both economic and social terms, with no environmental gain.

In doing so it is using only the science that suits it again.

There is a better way – setting realistic targets and working with agricultural groups to drive real behaviour change on farm:

Sector organisations have put forward an alternative Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment – He Waka Eke Noa – to build an enduring farm-level emission reduction framework to help the rural sector reduce its footprint.

“We want to play our part and take action. That’s why we have put forward a credible five-year work plan with clear and measurable actions, outcomes and timeframes” Dr Mackle says.  

“Our proposed plan is a collective initiative across multiple agricultural sectors, and includes rolling out Farm Environment Plans for all farms by 2025 to ensure every farmer knows their emissions footprint, where on farm those emissions are coming from, and what they can do to manage them”.

Having reliable data is important so that a farmer can make decisions and trade-offs factoring in resilience, profitability, and all the business decisions that need to be weighed up.

“We are asking the Government to partner with the agricultural sector to develop and deliver targeted programmes of action and coordinate efforts to reduce emissions. We strongly believe that working in partnership is the best approach to deliver real change” Dr Mackle added.

“DairyNZ does not support a levy on farmers in the ETS at processor level because it won’t drive the behaviour change to reduce emissions.

“It will take money out of farmers pockets at a time when it would be better invested on-farm to prepare for and start the process of managing emissions.

“Safeguarding the environment and maintaining a sustainable and competitive dairy sector is very important to our farmers, customers, and consumers. 

“Farmers care about the environment and are continuously refining their farm systems to improve environmental outcomes.“The dairy sector is committed to playing our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions alongside the rest of the New Zealand, but policy responses need to be fair and they need to drive the right behaviours” Dr Mackle concluded.

DairyNZ’s submission on Action on agricultural emissions can be found here.

The government has a choice – it can set realistic targets for methane reduction and work with the primary sector to achieve sustainable on-farm changes; or it can ignore the science and impose unrealistic targets providing neither the tools nor incentives farmers need to make a positive difference to their practices and the environment.


Quote of the day

August 16, 2019

Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible. – Carol Moseley Braun who celebrates her 72nd birthday today.


August 16 in history

August 16, 2019

1 B.C.  – Wang Mang consolidated his power and was declared marshal of state. Emperor Ai of Han, who had died the previous day, had no heirs.

963 – Nikephoros II Phokas was crowned emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

1328 – The House of Gonzaga seized power in the Duchy of Mantua, and ruled until 1708.

1513 – Battle of the Spurs (Battle of Guinegate) – King Henry VIII of England defeated French Forces.

1777  American Revolutionary War: The Americans led by General John Stark routed British and Brunswick troops under Friedrich Baum at theBattle of Bennington.

1780 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Camden – The British defeated the Americans.

1792  Maximilien Robespierre presented the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.

1819  Seventeen people died and more than 600 were injured by cavalry charges at the Peterloo Massacre at a public meeting at St. Peter’s Field, Manchester.

1841  U.S. President John Tyler vetoed a bill which called for the re-establishment of the Second Bank of the United States. Enraged Whig Party members riot outside the White House in the most violent demonstration on White House grounds in U.S. history.

1858 U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurated the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria.

1859  The Tuscan National Assembly formally deposed the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.

1865  Restoration Day in the Dominican Republic which regained its independence after 4 years of fighting against Spanish Annexation.

1868  Arica, Peru (now Chile) was devastated by a tsunami which followed a magnitude 8.5 earthquake in the Peru-Chile Trench off the coast. An estimated 25,000 people in Arica and perhaps 70,000 people in all were killed.

1869  Battle of Acosta Ñu: A Paraguay battalion made up of children was massacred by the Brazilian Army during the War of the Triple Alliance.

1870  Franco-Prussian War: The Battle of Mars-La-Tour resulted in a Prussian victory.

1888 T. E. Lawrence, English writer and soldier, was born (d. 1935).

1896 Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmackn and Dawson Charlie discovered gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.

1902 Georgette Heyer, English novelist, was born (d. 1974).

1913  Tōhoku Imperial University of Japan (modern day Tōhoku University) admitted its first female students.

1913 Menachem Begin, 6th Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1992).

1913 – Completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.

1914  World War I: Battle of Cer began.

1920  Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day.

1920 – The congress of the Communist Party of Bukhara opened.

1929  The 1929 Palestine riots in the British Mandate of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

1930 The first colour sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, was made by Ub Iwerks.

1940 Bruce Beresford, Australian film director, was born.

1940  World War II: The Communist Party was banned in German-occupied Norway.

1941  HMS Mercury, Royal Navy Signals School and Combined Signals School opened at Leydene, near Petersfield, Hampshire, England.

1942  World War II: The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappeared on a routine anti-submarine patrol over the Pacific Ocean.

1944 Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas (CORSO) was formed.

CORSO formed

1944  First flight of the Junkers Ju 287.

1945  An assassination attempt on Japan’s prime minister, Kantaro Suzuki.

1945 – Puyi, the last Chinese emperor and ruler of Manchukuo, was captured by Soviet troops.

1947  – Carol Moseley Braun, American lawyer and politician, United States Ambassador to New Zealand, was born.

1954  The first edition of Sports Illustrated was published.

1954 – James Cameron, Canadian director, producer, and screenwriter, was born.

1957 Tim Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born.

1958 – Madonna, American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and director, was born.

1960  Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

1960  Joseph Kittinger parachuted from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,330 m), setting three record: High-altitude jump, free-fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.

1962 Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) as drummer for The Beatles.

1964  Vietnam War: A coup d’état replaced Duong Van Minh with General Nguyen Khanh as President of South Vietnam.

1966 Vietnam War: The House Un-American Activities Committee began investigations of Americans who aided the Viet Cong.

1972 Emily Robison, American country singer (Dixie Chicks), was born.

1972 The Royal Moroccan Air Force fired on, Hassan II of Morocco‘s plane.

1987 A McDonnell Douglas MD-82 carrying Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed on take-off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Michigan, killing 155 passengers and crew. The sole survivor was four-year-old Cecelia Cichan.

1989  A solar flare created a geomagnetic storm that affected micro chips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto’s stock market.

1992  In response to an appeal by President Fernando Collor de Mello to wear green and yellow as a way to show support for him, thousands of Brazilians took to the streets dressed in black.

2005  West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 crashed near Machiques, Venezuela, killing the 160 aboard.

2008 – Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell defended Olympic rowing title at Beijing – winning gold by 1/100th of a second

2008 – The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was topped off at 1,389 feet (423 m), at the time becoming the world’s highest residence above ground-level.

2010 – China Overtook Japan as World’s Second-Biggest Economy

2012 – South African police fatally shot 34 miners and wounded 78 more during an industrial dispute near Rustenburg.

2013 – The ferry St. Thomas Aquinas collided with a cargo ship and sinks at Cebu, Philippines, killing 61 people and 59 others missing.

2015 – More than 96 people were killed and hundreds injured following a series of air-raids by the Syrian Arab Air Force on the rebel-held market town of Douma.

2015 – At least 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Punjab, Pakistan.

2017 – Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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