Word of the day

August 19, 2019

Schoenobatist  –  tightrope walker.


A win for science

August 19, 2019

The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to provide accurate risk information to consumers and to stop false labeling on products:

EPA is issuing guidance to registrants of glyphosate to ensure clarity on labeling of the chemical on their products. EPA will no longer approve product labels claiming glyphosate is known to cause cancer – a false claim that does not meet the labeling requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The State of California’s much criticized Proposition 65 has led to misleading labeling requirements for products, like glyphosate, because it misinforms the public about the risks they are facing. This action will ensure consumers have correct information, and is based on EPA’s comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate.

“It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk. We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “It is critical that federal regulatory agencies like EPA relay to consumers accurate, scientific based information about risks that pesticides may pose to them. EPA’s notification to glyphosate registrants is an important step to ensuring the information shared with the public on a federal pesticide label is correct and not misleading.” 

In April, EPA took the next step in the review process for glyphosate. EPA found – as it has before – that glyphosate is not a carcinogen, and there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label. These scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by many other countries and other federal agencies. . .

This is a win for science and the environment and a reminder that users must be responsible for their own actions in following instructions on the label.

Glysophate is an important tool in minimum tillage which reduces fuel usage and protects soil from erosion.


Thatcher thinks

August 19, 2019


Rural round-up

August 19, 2019

Fonterra woes for two biggest shareholders – Rebecca Howard:

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s two biggest shareholders – Dairy Holdings and state-owned Landcorp Farming – say the latest downgrade will weigh on their own earnings and add to farmer malaise against a backdrop of already weak confidence.

The dairy exporter this week said it expects to report a full-year loss of as much as $675 million and won’t pay a dividend as it slashes the value of global assets. It will be the second annual loss in a row.

This is a concern and will have quite an impact on farmer balance sheets and cash flow. Our hope is that Fonterra completes the strategy refresh quickly,» said Colin Glass, chief executive of Dairy Holdings. . .

Gene editing could combat ‘weed trees’ and climate change – Esther Taunton:

A forest industry leader has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for serious public debate on genetic technologies.

Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s recently released report on gene editing should be taken seriously by anyone concerned about the state of the environment.

The report highlighted the problem of wilding conifers, where, despite a multimillion-dollar control programme, the weed trees continued to spread, Weir said. . . 

Farmers call for law change on gene-edited crops – Tom Allen-Stevens:

What sort of regulatory environment for new breeding technologies is required and what will be the implication for farmers, and ultimately consumers, who lie at the heart of this debate? CPM reports exclusively on a survey of farmers.

GM can be a divisive topic, and the farming community is no less split on how and whether it should be introduced as the public in general. Views on gene-editing, however are harder to gauge.

A survey was undertaken in March 2019 by the Gene-Editing for Environment and Crop Improvement Initiative, that represents scientists, breeders and others in the UK agricultural industry with an interest in new breeding technologies (NBTs). The views expressed aren’t representative of farming opinion as the respondents have been selected as those who are relatively well informed on a technology that is, as yet, largely unknown and not commercially available. . . 

We can’t continue to pave paradise and put up a parking lot:

We’ve grown lazy and complacent. Fattened on the plenty provided by rich lands, we are now increasingly turning  our backs on them.

So separated have we become from the production of the food that passes over our plates; so inexorable has the shift been in human resources and amenities from the heartland to the high street, that the Government has seen a need to step in and protect the fertile soils that have long fed it all.

That complacency is built on something of a lie.

Most of us live in cities and other centres of urban sprawl. But the images that we employ to sell our country to others, and the dream to ourselves, are those of bucolic rural spread, mile upon mile upon mile of rolling river, meadow and gentle hill, all leading to majestic mountain ranges. . . 

Seaweeds help curb cow burping :

Queensland researchers say a pink seaweed that stops cows from burping could help slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Asparagopsis grows prolifically off the Queensland coast and a CSIRO study five years ago found it was the only seaweed they knew of that stopped cows burping methane into the atmosphere.

New Zealand research into seaweed supplements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has identified another species with such effects on the nation’s coast.

Researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast are now investigating how it might be farmed on a commercial scale and added to cattle feed to slash emissions. . . 

We need genetic engineering to stave off climate change-induced global hunger – Devang Mehta:

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Special Report on Climate Change and Land, a document authored by 107 experts from 52 countries. It warned that “Land is a critical resource.”

The main conclusion of the report is that humans already use nearly half of the planet’s land for food production and, as global population levels rise, agricultural land is going to be in very short supply. This is because one of the effects of climate-change will be a decline in agricultural productivity across the tropics, meaning that we will need to cut down forests and convert unused land into farmland. This deforestation will lead to even more carbon emissions, culminating in a vicious cycle of increasing warming. 

The report is a frightening 1,400 page-long prediction of rising food costs and starvation of the world’s poor. In fact, behind all the numbers and probability estimates is one truth that carries throughout — that climate change is going to be especially hard on the poor and on people living in the tropics. The IPCC concludes that as carbon dioxide levels rise and the planet warms, farms in temperate latitudes (i.e. the wealthier countries of Europe and North America) will in fact see an increase in yields.  . . 

5 things to do in the countryside – Life of a Country Mum:

Hey lovely country people,

I thought I would give you an in site to some of the top activities I love to do and also activities I can’t wait to do with my baby!

I am a strong believer that all this technology for children is what’s making the world a horrible place (in certain places). What ever happened to us all going to the outside playing, using our imagination. They were the best memories for me when I was younger.

Fields, haybales and making dens! I have so many stories I could tell you with my siblings. . . 

 


Countering the methane myth

August 19, 2019

David Clark, Federated Farmers’ Mid Canterbury chair is fed up with the methane myth:

As a farmer I am fed up with being vilified and our industry accused of being the primary contributor to climate change in New Zealand.

He’s not alone. I haven’t encountered such strength of feeling among farmers since the ag-sag of the 1980s.

The myth is that agricultural gases, primarily methane, make up 48.1 per cent of this country’s emissions profile. That is nothing more than a politically and socially convenient half-truth/untruth.

So here are established, scientific facts pertinent to the Zero Carbon Bill and the Emissions Trading Scheme:

• A pre-existing and stable level of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is required to maintain our temperature levels and is essential to life on earth.

• The Paris Accord calls for countries to take steps to limit global warming to 2 degC and preferably 1.5 degC above pre-Industrial temperatures.

The Paris Accord also stipulates that climate change mitigation should not come at the expense of food production.

• NZ has set a target of Zero Carbon by 2050 – no mandated reduction in gross carbon emission, just an aspiration to offset by forestry plantings so that carbon emitted will be in balance with carbon sequestered.

• Total methane emissions in NZ have increased 6.2 per cent from 1990 to 2017 (they have been declining since 2006). Agricultural production has doubled in this time.

• The ZCB has an aspiration of reducing methane by up to 47 per cent by 2050.

• Methane is a short-lived gas that originated from CO2 absorbed by the growing grass and when belched by livestock rapidly breaks down into CO2 again to complete the cycle. No additional carbon enters the atmosphere.

Fossil fuel carbon has not been circulating in the atmosphere for thousands or millions of years, but once burnt will circulate in the atmosphere for centuries to come, with constant additional warming effect.

• The key objective is to limit any further warming.

Clark says representing methane on the same graph as fossil carbon and stating that agricultural gases are 48.1 per cent of our emissions is simply wrong and does not recognise the cyclical nature of methane.

He then shows why:

Methane is a short lived gas, known as a “flow gas” which rapidly breaks down compared to carbon, which is known as a “stocks gas”.

So let’s represent methane as water and carbon as small stones. I have a bucket that is the atmosphere and the level inside the bucket is the global warming effect.

I have a centimetre of water in the bucket, which has a small hole in the bottom of it.

I start tipping cupfuls of water into the bucket. So long as I do not tip in water faster than it drains from the hole, the level does not increase.

It would be wrong to count the number of cupfuls put into the bucket, only correct to pay attention to the change in level. The number of cupfuls has absolutely no relationship to the level in the bucket.

If I take the same bucket and start dropping small stones into it, none of which fit out the hole, every stone is additional and the bucket gradually fills up. The total number of stones added has a direct correlation to the number of stones in the bucket.

Methane and carbon are water and stones. So long as stock numbers remain static, or more correctly the feed fed to livestock remains static, the emission of methane today replaces the methane that degraded today. The cycle stays in balance.

Every gram of carbon emitted from a power station, factory, car, aeroplane or any other part of our life adds to all of the carbon previously emitted from all sources.

The only way of reducing that carbon is to effectively bury it by absorption into soil by plants.

Our Government need to stop telling the methane myth and stop counting the water and the stones as if they were equal. They are not.

Net methane makes up only a very small portion of NZ’s total emissions. Our farmers are being asked to reduce methane emissions way beyond the equivalent of “Zero Carbon” and are being vilified in the process.

The current fixation on methane is a dangerous, politically convenient distraction taking the focus of the enormous task of eliminating our reliance on carbon for our modern existence.

Not only is it dangerous and a political distraction, the government’s determination to impose unrealistic methane reduction targets on farmers would at the very best have no impact on the global methane emissions, and almost certainly worsen them because New Zealand accounts for such a small percentage of the world’s farm stock.

New Zealand has about 6.5m dairy cows and 3.6m beef cattle.

That’s a lot of cattle when you compare it with the human population of fewer than 5 million people.

But how does that compare with other countries?

India has 305,000,000 cattle – 30.44% of the world total.

Brazil has 232,350 – 23.19%.

China has 96,850 – 9.6%

The USA has 94,399,00 – 9.42%

The EU has 88,445,000 – 8.83%

Argentina has 53,765,000 – 5.37%

Australia has 25,500,000 – 2.55%

Russia has 18,380,000 – 1.83%

Mexico has 16,584,000 – 1.66%

Turkey has 14,500,000 – 1.45%

Uruguay has 11,754,000 – 1.17%

Canada has 11,625,000 – 1.16%

New Zealand has 10,082,000 – 1.01%

We have a lot of sheep and cattle per head of population but that’s only because we have so few heads.

This puts into perspective the calls from radical and not so radical environmentalists for New Zealand to cull its dairy herd.

Half of 1.01% is not very much in global terms.

When it is better environmentally for the people in Ireland, the country with the second-most efficient dairy production to drink milk from New Zealand, the most efficient producers, the aim ought to be to produce more milk here, not to cut production.

The case for cuts doesn’t add up in economic, social or environmental terms, nor is it based on science.


Quote of the day

August 19, 2019

People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up. Ogden Nash who was born on this day in 1902.


August 19 in history

August 19, 2019

1504 Battle of Knockdoe.

1561 An 18-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, returned to Scotland after spending 13 years in France.

1612  The “Samlesbury witches“, three women from  Samlesbury, were put on trial, accused for practising witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in English history.

1631  John Dryden, English poet, was born  (d. 1700).

1666  Second Anglo-Dutch War: Rear Admiral Robert Holmes led a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships, an act later known as “Holmes’s Bonfire“.

1689 Samuel Richardson, English writer, was born  (d. 1761).
1692 Salem witch trials:  one woman and four men, including a clergyman, were executed after being convicted of witchcraft.

1745  Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in Glenfinnan – the start of the Second Jacobite Rebellion, known as “the 45″.

1768 Saint Isaac’s Cathedral was founded in Saint Petersburg.

1772  Gustavus III of Sweden staged a Coup d’état, in which he assumed power and enacted a new constitution that divided power between the Riksdag and the King.

1782 American Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks – the last major engagement of the war, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Lord Cornwallis.

1812 War of 1812: American frigate USS Constitution defeated the British frigate HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia, earning her nickname “Old Ironsides”.

1813  Gervasio Antonio de Posadas joined Argentina’s second triumvirate.

1835 – Tom Wills, Australian cricketer and umpire, co-founded Australian rules football, was born (d. 1880).

1839  Presentation of Jacque Daguerre’s new photographic process to the French Academy of Sciences.

1853 Edward Gibbon Wakefield was elected to the New Zealand Parliament.

Wakefield elected to Parliament

1861 First ascent of Weisshorn, fifth highest summit in the Alps.

1871 – Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company, was born (d. 1948).

1883 Coco Chanel, French clothing designer, was born  (d. 1971).

1895 American frontier murderer and outlaw, John Wesley Hardin, was killed by an off-duty policeman in a saloon in El Paso.

1902 Ogden Nash, American poet, was born  (d. 1971).

1919 Afghanistan gained full independence from the United Kingdom.

1927  Metropolitan Sergius proclaimed the declaration of loyalty of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Soviet state.

1928 Bernard Levin, English journalist, author, and broadcaster, was born  (d. 2004).

1930 Frank McCourt, Irish-American author, was born  (d. 2009).

1934  The first All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.

1934  The creation of the position Führer was approved by the German electorate with 89.9% of the popular vote.

1939 Ginger Baker, English musician (Cream), was born.

1940 Johnny Nash, American singer-songwriter, was born.

1940 First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

1942  Operation Jubilee – the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division led an amphibious assault by allied forces on Dieppe, France and failed.

1943 – Sid Going, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

1944  As his damaged Hawker Typhoon fighter-bomber rapidly lost height,Pilot Officer James Stellin struggled to avoid crashing into Saint-Maclou-la-Brière, a village of 370 people in the Seine-Maritime region. He succeeded, but at the cost of his own life.

Kiwi pilot's sacrifice saves French village

1944  Liberation of Paris – Paris rose against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.

1944  – Jack Canfield, American author, was born.

1945   Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh took power in Hanoi.

1946 Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, was born.

1950 – Jennie Bond, English journalist and author, was born.

1951 John Deacon, English musician (Queen), was born.

1953  Cold War: the CIA helped to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and reinstated the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

1955 – Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, Dominican-English lawyer and politician, UK Attorney General, Commonwealth Secretary-General, was born.

1955 In the Northeast United States, severe flooding caused by Hurricane Diane, claimed 200 lives.

1960  Cold War: in Moscow, downed American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the Soviet Union for espionage.

1960  Sputnik 5 – the Soviet Union launched the satellite with the dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants.

1973 – Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, was born.

1980  Saudia Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar burned after making an emergency landing at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh killing 301 people.

1981  Gulf of Sidra Incident: United States fighters intercepted and shot down two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets over the Gulf of Sidra.

1987  Hungerford Massacre: Michael Ryan killed sixteen people with an assault rifle and then committed suicide.

1989  Polish president Wojciech Jaruzelski nominated Solidarity activist Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be the first non-communist Prime Minister in 42 years.

1989  Raid on offshore pirate station, Radio Caroline in North Sea by British and Dutch governments.

1989 Several hundred East Germans crossed the frontier between Hungary and Austria during the Pan-European Picnic, part of the events which began the process of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

1990  Leonard Bernstein conducted his final concert, ending with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

1991  Collapse of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was placed under house arrest..

1991  Hurricane Bob hit the Northeast, United States.

1999  Tens of thousands of Serbians rallied to demand the resignation of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milošević.

2002   Khankala Mi-26 crash: A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops was hit by a Chechen missile killing 118 soldiers.

2003 A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq killed the agency’s top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.

2003  – Shmuel HaNavi bus bombing: A Hamas planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem killed 23 Israelis, 7 of them children in the Jerusalem bus 2 massacre.

2005 The first-ever joint military exercise between Russia and China, called Peace Mission 2005 began.

2005 A series of strong storms lashed Southern Ontario spawning several tornadoes as well as creating extreme flash flooding in Toronto and its surrounding communities. .

2009  A series of bombings in Baghdad, killed 101 and injured 565 others.

2010 – Operation Iraqi Freedom ended, with the last of the United States brigade combat teams crossing the border to Kuwait.

2012 – Three New Zealand soldiers were killed in Afghanistan.

Three New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan

2012 – A plane crash killed 32 people in Sudan.

2013 – A train accident in India killed at least 37 people and injured more than 12.

2017 – Tens of thousands of farmed non-native Atlantic salmon were accidentally released into the wild in Washington waters in the 2017 Cypress Island Atlantic salmon pen break.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: