28 March 2016

Kevin Anderson on Irelands agriculture a lesson for New Zealand as well

While recently in Ireland Kevin Anderson also gave an interview to John Gibbons of the Irish website called Think or Swim.

The interview was recorded on Vimeo and is not on You Tube.

I am highlighting the first six minutes, because Anderson provides some direct answers to questions about giving agriculture special treatment such as leaving the sector out of emissions reduction policy. I would say that John Gibbons the interviewer is running domestic Irish narratives past Anderson. These narratives of inaction ("we are efficient", "we are too small", "the world needs food") are exactly the same in New Zealand. And Anderson's answers are just as relevant to New Zealand as Ireland.

These quotes start with the time in the interview and then the speaker.

2:11 John Gibbons. "Many politicians in Ireland, for example for the agricultural sector, would feel that we are a small country and we are recovering from the recession, so climate change is something we can deal with in 20 years time".

2:28 Kevin Anderson. "It completely misunderstands the science. It is the emissions that we put in the atmosphere now that matter. What really matters from the science perspective for temperature is the total quantity of carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere; the carbon budget".

3:22 Kevin Anderson. "Ireland is a small part of the problem. Every part of the world is a small part of the problem. We hear that from every sector, the aviation sector says that, shipping says that, UK says this...You can divide the 100% of all emissions into any small numbers you want to. Using that as an argument is very false and very misleading".

3:58 John Gibbons. "A large portion of our emissions are attributable to the agriculture sector and under Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025 the Irish Government is undertaking a really large scale expansion of our ruminant-based agriculture. Their argument is that we can do it more efficiently than for example than the Brazilians who are clearing rainforest for beef and dairy. Is that a reasonable argument?"

4:30 Kevin Anderson. "From a climate change perspective it is clearly is not a reasonable argument. I am sure that any one who is making that argument is aware of the science, You cannot hold those arguments and keep to the commitments signed up for in Paris. The climate does not care about efficiency it only cares about absolute levels of emissions".

5:28 Kevin Anderson. "If we are really concerned about feeding the world then you would measure greenhouse gases in terms of nutrition or calories. What units of carbon dioxide per useful calorie do you produce? You would almost certainly have to move away from types of agriculture you have now that have innately high emission to other forms of agriculture that have much lower emissions of greenhouse gases per unit of output."

Kevin Anderson interviewed by John Gibbons on 16 March 2016 on Vimeo.

N.B. Yes Ireland really does have agricultural policies called Food Harvest 2020 and Foodwise 2025 and yes these are all about expanding production just like the New Zealand Government's Business Growth Agenda.

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