Wednesday, March 13, 2013

See the link?

I saw this yesterday. Bill English, our Minister of Finance warning farmers that if we get the higher frequency of droughts and extreme weather that NIWA are suggesting we might get as a result of climate change.

Colour me surprised. Climate change might have an economic impact? It was pointed out on twitter this afternoon by @georgedarroch that some time ago, when our Minister of Finance was in opposition, he mounted both a tractor on the steps of parliament and an effective campaign against a proposed tax of 85c per year per cow that was meant to fund research into reducing emissions. Emissions that fuel climate change. The same climate change that is likely to lead to greater levels of extreme weather, to the extent that the government  probably won't be able to support farmers which is going to lead to farmers losing their livelihoods.
Bruce Wills, national president of Federated Farmers, said the industry had been dealing with wildly fluctuating weather for many years. 
Well that's lucky Bruce, because your industry is going to get a lot more practice at it. It's not necessarily the fault of all farmers - I have no doubt there are a decent chunk who have considered climate change a threat for some time. If I were a farmer though. I'd be a little pissed at those who represent the farmers, those that for some years have been amongst those who have resisted change.

A couple of things to note here. The proposed research wouldn't have, on it's own, prevented the increased climate variability that we're seeing. Even in 2003, there probably wasn't much we could have done to stop what is happening today. We could very well have made an impact on what will be happening in 2050. Blew that one. There is however, such a thing as getting your own house in order before going to the world at large to demand action. New Zealand has stood up and taken unpopular issues onto the world stage before, we could have done it again.

And I'm sure I rattled on about this before, but treating nature as part of the infrastructure of our economy is essential. To continually externalise the cost and assume that nature will sit there remaining unchanged is foolishness in the extreme. Nature is not just part of our economy, it is the base upon which it all rest. Without water in our dams electricity is not made, without rain on the fields, we have no dairy industry, if we fish with no regard for the oceans, we end up with no fishing industry. If you dig up more coal to power greater levels of industry, you release more carbon into the atmosphere, which is seriously, not going to help.


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