Tuesday 8 April 2008

Greenpeace fights Labour government methane deniers


Greenpeace has labeled the Labour government claims of being a world leader on climate "farcical" in the wake of state-owned enterprise Landcorp replacing forests with methane-emitting dairy farms.

Greenpeace also has no hesitation in accusing the Labour government of "double standards" over NZ coal exports.

But why are Green Party leaders silent on these issues?

Are they silent because they can't offend their 'more market-friendly' coalition partner?

Or is their own acceptance of the market, and market mechanisms as a "solution" to pollution, keeping them quiet?

Questions like these need to be be asked by Greens supporters.


by Nick Young
Greenpeace NZ

After exposing http://weblog.greenpeace.org.nz/tag/lyttelton-coal-action/ the Government's double standards on climate change in Lyttelton recently, the crew of the Rainbow Warrior left the ship to do it again.

They headed north in a minivan inland towards Taupo. There they met a team of volunteers who'd driven down from Auckland. Early this morning they set about digging up pasture http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/news/reforesting-dairy that's about to become a dairy farm and replanting it with trees. With their gumboots on and lots of nice mulch at hand, they proceeded to plant over 1,000 trees in a large area recently cleared and planted in grass.

Let me explain.

This was no ordinary dairy farm. It is one among many brand new dairy farms in a vast tract of land that, until recently, was a pine plantation. The land is leased by Landcorp - a State Owned Enterprise.

Just as Solid Energy is expanding the mining and export of coal, Landcorp is overseeing the conversion of huge tracts of land for the expansion of intensive dairy farming.

Pine plantations are not the best use of land at the best of times but cutting them down to be replaced by dairy cows is perhaps the stupidest thing that could be done with a bunch of trees.

Dairy farming is a major contributor to our greenhouse gas emissions. It is farcical to have two state owned enterprises rapidly increasing its emissions whilst the Government claims to be a world leader on climate. And, like the coal expansion we highlighted in Lyttelton, it also threatens NZ's clean green image that the dairy industry relies on.

Converting forestry to make way for cows is effectively a 'double whammy' for the climate as it destroys forests and replaces it with dairy farming - the most greenhouse gas intensive form of land use.

We are calling for a halt to the expansion of dairying until it can be shown to be more sustainable, and for the sector to be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme within the next two years.

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