Environment watchdog says forests should only be able to offset biological emissions, not fossil fuel emissions; Government disagrees and won't change tack

Environment watchdog says forests should only be able to offset biological emissions, not fossil fuel emissions; Government disagrees and won't change tack

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is calling for the Government to come down harder on those who burn fossil fuels and emit carbon dioxide than farmers responsible for the emission of methane and nitrous oxide.

Recognising that carbon dioxide remains in the environment for thousands of years, while methane lingers for about 12 years and nitrous oxide 120 years, Commissioner Simon Upton says policymakers should treat the gases differently.

He believes New Zealand needs separate targets for carbon dioxide and biological greenhouse gases.

As the Government moves to introduce a Climate Change Bill to Parliament, he suggests it develops a "zero" gross fossil emissions target, to be legislated as part of the establishment of the new Climate Commission; and a "reduction target" for biological emissions, to be recommended by the new Commission and subsequently legislated.

Upton's argument is that biological emissions do not need to go to zero to stabilise the atmospheric concentration (and warming contribution) of these gases.

Forest offsets limited to biological emissions 

He also suggests carbon dioxide emissions shouldn’t be able to be offset by the planting of trees.

"There is a mismatch between the very long-lasting warming effects caused by fossil carbon dioxide emissions, and the much shorter cooling effects of forests," Upton explains.

While the current approach to New Zealand’s emissions relies heavily on forest offsets, he says forests are at risk from fire, disease and climate change itself.

"Managing a long-term problem with a short-term ‘fix’ is risky,” he says, noting forest offsetting has traditionally been a relatively "low-cost" solution. 

Upton acknowledges the existing approach would see more trees planted in the future than his approach would, however "a lot more" trees would still be planted compared to today’s levels. 

He has detailed his work in a 183-page report, Farms, forests and fossil fuels: The next great landscape transformation?

Fossil emissions would cost up to 7 times more than biological emissions 

Upton accepts his recommendations would see the costs faced by biological emitters be "significantly" lower than those faced by fossil emitters.

Yet he denies he's letting farmers off the hook, saying the costs reflect the risks.

He also points out that as heavy users of fossil fuels when it comes to processing raw materials and moving commodities to market, farmers would still face fossil emission costs. 

Under the current approach the price of emissions from all gases is expected to rise from $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent to $203 by 2075.

However, under Upton’s approach the price of fossil emissions is expected to jump to $350, while the price of biological emissions is expected to rise to between $48 and $141, depending on whether a more lax or more aggressive target is implemented.

Fossil emissions target hit 

Upton's recommendations are expected to see gross fossil emissions fall to a point where they’re 89% below 2018 levels by 2075. The current approach is expected to see an 85% reduction.

His approach isn’t expected to see biological emissions fall by as much as the status quo, however the difference wouldn’t be huge.  

As per the graph below, his modelling includes two scenarios – reducing net biological emissions to 20% or 100% below 2016 levels.

Upton also suggests a “landscape” approach be taken to managing New Zealand’s climate and environmental issues.

This integrates climate policy with other environmental and social objectives (such as water quality and soil erosion, biodiversity and rural communities).

“We could store carbon in forests over large areas of New Zealand and score a net zero accounting triumph around mid-century; or adopt a more ambitious approach to reducing fossil emissions and make a clear statement about how far biological emissions should be reduced,” Upton concludes.

“The risk of the current approach is that, while New Zealand might achieve net zero emissions, delayed action on gross fossil emissions could mean they are still running at around half today’s level. New Zealand would need more time – and land – to offset the balance well into the second half of the century…

“Policymakers need to be prepared to test different approaches rather than accept without argument that ‘there is no alternative’.”

Minister: Thanks, but no thanks 

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has been quick to reject Upton's recommendations.

“For the sake of providing policy stability and predictability for emitters and the forestry sector, the Government is committed to retaining the use of forestry off-sets for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions," Shaw says.

“There is a narrowing window of opportunity to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming. It is because that window is so narrow that planting trees to offset emissions is a necessity; at least in the coming decades.

“Nevertheless, Commissioner Upton is correct that trees only retain sequestered carbon for the life of the tree whereas emitted CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

“I agree that the priority must be actual gross reductions in emissions.

“The NZ ETS reforms we consulted on last year, and which we will introduce this year, will provide necessary incentives to bring down domestic emissions. 

“The ETS reforms being introduced are the result of consultation, review, and decisions made over the past five years.

“The Government believes those sets of reforms are the best range of policies available at this time.

“Fundamental changes, such as those proposed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, would need to go through the same processes that have brought us to where we are now with the current ETS reforms being put in place.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

56 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Here goes the purpose of 1 billion tree, S Jones?

Our biggest forestry plantations in the Central Plateau were planted during the depression. They have been quite useful.

I can remember seeing some sales pitch by an Aus outfit promoting their tree based carbon credit business. I was left wondering about carbon insurance in the case of bush fires. Australian forest ecology is intrinsically tied to a cycle of fires triggered by lightening strikes.

Both strategies are totally unattainable and would have a huge negative effect on the wealth of all sectors.

Many significant transport demand sectors are with current and foreseeable technology incapable of other than small emission reductions. The basic laws of thermodynamics and aeronautics.

Air Travel, Sea transport, Heavy trucks will be relatively inelastic to price increases so unless we are going tp stop all air travel including tourists - this is just not going to happen.

Important to remember Airbus and Boeing have over 30,000 new aircraft on order - so they have a very different view of the world.

The Commissioner has never worked in the real world and this report shows that !

Just remember, the real world is finite, and neither Boeing nor Airbus can do a damn thing to change that no matter what altitude their view is from .

Boeing gains 384,000km it can hit the moon. Reality is not so finite.

It's about time we demanded honesty about offsets, too.

Air NZ would be a classic - sponsoring this and that while avoiding real reduction/offsetting.

Of course, Upton as to realise that a properly de-carboned 'economy' will look a lot different to this one. No tourism, no dairying, not as we know them, anyway.

Our govt does not include CO2 from international travel. Well it never used to and I wrote to Mr Shaw asking if he intended doing so and have had no answer. It seems our govt thinks CO2 emitted by planes and liners on their way to and from NZ are not 'NZ emissions'. A cavalier attitude to global warming. If I get a positive reply I will post a comment apologising.

"What’s being done about emissions from air transportation?

Not much, unfortunately. Countries with national emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol are only required to account for emissions from domestic flights. Emissions from international flights are not counted. And very little has been done to actually limit these emissions. To date the only formal plan to control and reduce international aviation emissions is being developed within the European Union (EU)."
https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/air-travel-climate-change/

NZ is a popular and a distant destination. We should be taking responsibility for half the fossil fuel emissions for international travel. This would increase our total by either 5% or 10%. It is the only honest way otherwise this is just playing a game with numbers not actually showing concern about the planet.
I'm guessing the carbon offset for each passenger (mainly tourists) is about $400 now but maybe increasing to ~$4,000.
NZ should not be spending money advertising tourism - it should be aiming for a reduced number of well off tourists who will stay a long time. A drastic change of direction; time to start now.

If international air travel attracts no tariff and internal travel attracts a heavy tariff, at which tariff level does it become "officially" environmentally responsible to fly from Auckland to Queenstown via Sydney?

Apparently international air travel is 2.5%. Apologies for my mistake. Still significant. So divide my guess by four but it was a guess.
Just read that Cruise Liners apparently emit more than all the cars in Auckland.

There's a bit of debate about that figure:
Many estimates put aviation's share of global CO2 emissions at just above 2 percent. That's the figure the industry itself generally accepts.

But according to Stefan Gössling, a professor at Sweden's Lund and Linnaeus universities and co-editor of the book Climate Change and Aviation: Issues, Challenges and Solutions, "That's only half the truth."

Other aviation emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), water vapor, particulates, contrails and cirrus changes have additional warming effects.

"The sector makes a contribution to global warming that is at least twice the effect of CO2 alone," Gössling told DW, settling on an overall contribution of 5 percent "at minimum."

Even if we accept the 2 percent emissions figure as final, if only 3 percent of the world's population flew last year, that relatively small group still accounted for a disproportionate chunk of global emissions.

A few years ago, environmental group Germanwatch estimated that a single person taking one roundtrip flight from Germany to the Caribbean produces the same amount of damaging emissions as 80 average residents of Tanzania do in an entire year: around four metric tons of CO2."
https://www.dw.com/en/to-fly-or-not-to-fly-the-environmental-cost-of-air...

"

What fun. Let me see now, a planned reduction in population by subsidising emmigration, $10,000 plus a one way ticket should work. Coupling that with $5 a litre fuel should do the trick. Might we have yellow vests coming to our roundabouts too?

New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 were 24.1 percent higher than 1990 levels. So we are going in the wrong direction.
New Zealand ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and committed to reducing emissions by 11 percent on 1990 levels by 2030. So the target is a long way off.
Gross greenhouse gas emissions from human activity for 2015 were 80.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Divide by 4.5million and that is almost 18 tonnes per person.
Apply Carbon credit prices of $25, $203 and $350 as listed in this article and each person will cost NZ somewhere between $446 to $6,238 per year. Take a mid point and multiply by ten for a decade and at $33,000 Roger's suggestion looks a bargain.

The US has been able to reduce CO2 emissions while the European Union with the largest subsidy plans and high tax on CO2 increased them. The US has achieved more in developing renewables, technology and energy efficiency without massive tax and bill increases. There is nothing “green” on a central planner’s decision to inflate GDP via public spending. it is the opposite. It artificially increases energy and capital utilization to create false demand signals that end up being bubbles that hurt the economy and make it less dynamic.

https://www.dlacalle.com/en/the-new-green-deal-is-not-new-not-green-not-...

Why was there no comment on the obvious stupidity of the oil and gas ban?

mlpc - try getting your sentence round the right way.

'Why were those who objected to the oil and gas ban, so obviously stupid'.

There, fixed it for you.

It's a finite resource, and there are - presumably - many generations to come. So we have to construct a way of life (not necessarily an 'economy') which does not incude them. It follows that the sooner we start, the easier the transition. Just the application of logic, really, rather than the application of self-indulgence (which, I find, is underneath all urgings to shovel more coal of the runaway train.

It is a finite resource yes however, that decision is a nett negative for the environment, carbon emissions and of course our wallets. Where is the win? How about we be pragmatic rather than idealistic.

There is no 'win' if you choose to exponentially expand your collection of infrastructures, basing them all on a finite resource. There is only temporary self-indulgence, duck-shoving the real costs of same onto the future.

Guess which generation(s) are going to be unpleased? They'll be more than marching politely....

I’m probably young enough to say I am one of those unpleased generations. I’m not saying don’t phase out fossil fuels, I’m saying do it pragmatically. Again, the decision made was pure virtue signalling for a nett negative for the environment.

Please describe what "pragmatic" looks like another decade or two on

Pragmatic would look like reduced emissions and better environmental protection standards. Remember, NZ is not a vacuum. This issue is world wide. Just because we ban something doesn’t mean it won’t be extracted elsewhere at a nett negative for the environment.

There are so many issues around this:

1) We haven't seen any acceleration in sea level rise yet, but have possibly seen an increase in energy in the atmosphere and increased storm/heatwave intensity

2) Absolutely nothing NZ does will affect the global carbon emissions - we are a tiny player

3) NZ should simply adopt the international carbon price or proxy thereof (manage ETS quotas and availability to match the international price) & let the market manage its response to the price. If the world drags its feet with climate change then NZ does so too. It is pointless to do otherwise. Only China, India, US & EU make any difference.

4) A net target should be the first target. A gross target is so far down the track at this point of time it is irrelevant. We dont even have an international carbon price yet just localised prices.

5) It is absolutely pointless further subsidising farming which is going to be decimated by synthetic meats which will be far cheaper to produce at industrial scale. NZ will be left selling to smaller and smaller markets with lower and lower prices, with only a small "premium" market left for those that want real meat. NZ farming needs to face the full costs of its industry , including water degradation, & NZ needs to allow productive resources to be allocated elsewhere over time. We will probably eventually see an exchange rate fall to allow this to happen.

6) An emission is an emission, whether biological or not. They should be priced the same based on their climate change effect (note that methane also eventually converts to CO2 in the atmosphere so has a long term effect as well)

7) The Commissioner's position is extreme but then as the Environment Commissioner it should be. Hopefully sensible and pragmatic middle ground is found among all the voices.

An interesting bit of research on synthetic meat, which shows that depending on the energy source it can have a higher carbon footprint than low intensity grass-based farming.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47283162

And your point about methane reverting to carbon - lets not forget that the animal ate food created by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and they are part of a cycle. Also ruminants have an integral role in maintaining the massive stores of carbon in grassland.

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms7995

Re: "An interesting bit of research on synthetic meat, which shows that depending on the energy source it can have a higher carbon footprint than low intensity grass-based farming."

- all power generation is moving towards wind & solar + storage. The costs are already nearly lower or already lower than other sources.

RE: "And your point about methane reverting to carbon - lets not forget that the animal ate food created by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and they are part of a cycle."

- yes but the animals are creating more methane than natural processes. Its not simply a carbon for carbon swap.

RE: "Also ruminants have an integral role in maintaining the massive stores of carbon in grassland."

- The article notes "Thus, within a decade of management-intensive grazing practices soil C levels returned to those of native forest soils, and likely decreased fertilizer and irrigation demands." The carbon catchup is only available if the soils are already degraded.

“- all power generation is moving towards wind & solar + storage. The costs are already nearly lower or already lower than other sources.”
Maybe you would like to tell Germany that... They have shot thenselves in the foot with their massive investment in wind and solar and now import more cheaper and cleaner energy from France from, gasp, nuclear power! The only current real option for clean environmentally friendly energy.

And, for baseload, use something like 28% of total generation from that Greenest of Fuels .....Lignite.

Yes, Germany moved too fast. They should have waited until now. The prices have moved so far so fast.

Yes, nuclear is cheap.
The issue is that it is creating an externality with the spent fuel rods and need for reprocessing & 1000's of years of storage.
I doubt those full costs are included in the price.
That said thorium reactors are a little less dangerous and may provide economic baseload without the CO2.

The article notes "Thus, within a decade of management-intensive grazing practices soil C levels returned to those of native forest soils, and likely decreased fertilizer and irrigation demands." The carbon catchup is only available if the soils are already degraded.

What has degraded the soil is arable farming, which is the source of plant based foods. Arable farming is terrible for soils and soil carbon loss.

Another article:
The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America

Owing to the methane (CH4) produced by rumen fermentation, ruminants are a
source of greenhouse gas (GHG) and are perceived as a problem. We propose that with appropriate regenerative crop and grazing management, ruminants not only reduce overall GHG emissions, but also facilitate provision of essential ecosystem services, increase soil carbon (C) sequestration, and reduce environmental damage. We tested our hypothesis by examining biophysical impacts and the magnitude of all GHG emissions from key agricultural production activities, including comparisons of arable- and pastoral-based agroecosystems. Our assessment shows that globally, GHG emissions from domestic ruminants represent 11.6% (1.58 Gt C y–1) of total anthropogenic emissions, while cropping and soil-associated emissions contribute 13.7% (1.86 Gt C y–1). The primary source is soil erosion (1 Gt C y–1), which in the United States alone is estimated at 1.72 Gt of soil y–1. Permanent cover of forage plants is highly effective in reducing soil erosion, and ruminants consuming only grazed forages under appropriate management result in more C sequestration than emissions. Incorporating forages and ruminants into regeneratively managed agroecosystems can elevate soil organic C, improve soil ecological function by minimizing the damage of tillage and inorganic fertilizers and biocides, and enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat. We conclude that to ensure longterm sustainability and ecological resilience of agroecosystems, agricultural production should be guided by policies and regenerative management protocols that include ruminant grazing. Collectively, conservation agriculture supports ecologically healthy, resilient agroecosystems
and simultaneously mitigates large quantities of anthropogenic GHG emissions.
http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.full.pdf+html

#6 No. Carbon added to the cycle by digging it from the ground and putting it in the atmosphere is in no way the same as the cycling of that which is already there biologically.

Yes, that's correct but only over very long time horizons.

See below
"Between 65% and 80% of CO2 released into the air dissolves into the ocean over a period of 20–200 years. The rest is removed by slower processes that take up to several hundreds of thousands of years, including chemical weathering and rock formation. This means that once in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can continue to affect climate for thousands of years."

Any analysis on anything shorter than a 200 year timeframe is simply using the ocean as a sink as part of the carbon cycle. We cannot go on acidifying it forever.

Each person on this planet is just one person, whether they live in overcrowded countries or countries more like NZ. Duck shoving is not a solution.

I feel that simon Upton is making more sense here than James Shaw. It sounds like Shaw is too much the politician, buying into the BS ETS which will allow corporations and the wealthy offset their emissions and not be accountable for them while Upton calls on the Government to legislate to change our emissions profiles. I also feel, without reading Uptons report, that there is not enough information in this article to justify Upton's position on the biological emissions. Even though the emissions don't linger as long as CO2, they can be as or more damaging, so I hope his research considers their actual impact. I also struggle a little with his position on trees, as they are known to be very effective carbon sinks, although it takes about five or more years for the effect to be realised.

M86 - You've got it. Shaw is still 'business' (and even if he wasn't, his offsider seems to champion economic growth for at least one echelon). Upton was one of the bigger intellects that National ever had - and you're right re carbon in juvenile trees. Just another case of living ahead of ourselves.

On trees. How long is the carbon retained in those trees, especially when compared to the 100 million or so years of sequestering in coal, oil etc.

Planting trees is only a temporary alleviation of the problem - once the area is planted and the carbon adsorbed out of the atmosphere it has to stay as permanent forest which will no longer adsorb carbon. At best tree planting buys a few decades.

As for short lived gases such as methane, if the amount of gas being generated is constant, the global warming effect is stable. That's because as each new molecule of methane is produced another one simultaneously decays. Unlike carbon dioxide which lasts in the atmosphere for millennia, with each emission adding to the cumulative total.

... planting can go on for decades, buy some time and keep it out of the system. So a very good reason to do it.

The entire climate-prediction edifice as currently promoted, is founded on quicksand, as time-series research at LSE demonstrates - the Hawkmoth Effect rules. The issue comes down to several Inconvenient Modelling Facts:

  • Complex systems do not generally have the mathematical property of Structural stability. This leads to quite different projections, using the same initial conditions, even if two models differ to a minute degree - the poster at the link graphically illustrates this.
  • Models used for projections simplify real phyical processes (for tractability) and make assumptions (for tuning) - both of which cause structural inadequacy by incomplete description of the phenomena being modeled.
  • Turbulent/chaotic systems are pointless to model over long time series if accurate projections are expected: each time-slice depends on the output of the former slice as initial conditions and projections thus rapidly depart from sensible physical-result boundaries as model-time progresses
  • The real physical world, as best can be gleaned from observation of history, has close-to-absolute boundaries on temperature = +/- 2-3 degrees Centigrade, and two dominant Attractors: Ice Age and InterGlacial. There have been more than enough long-tail (extremely low- probability) perturbations in the past (vulcanism, comet strikes) to supply a record of any vast excursions from these boundaries. The bounds seem to hold, regardless
  • The 'Escape from Model-land' LSE paper suggests that consistency with the past, use of long-tail (very low probability) inputs and expert judgement as to model applicability and utility in the first place, is the only way out of Model-Land
  • "The utility and decision-relevance of these model simulations must be judged based on consistency with the past, and out-of-sample predictive performance and expert judgement, never based solely on the plausibility of their underlying principles or on the visual “realism” of outputs."

The two turbulent/chaotic systems which climateers attempt to model are, of course, Atmosphere and Ocean. Essentially, they are trying to predict the weather on 27 March, 2119, when predicting the weather on 27 April 2019 is clearly a nonsense: a coin-toss or a dartboard are more useful Models. Next weekend - reasonable. Tomorrow - will be close to spot-on. Models are always wrong, but mostly they are Useful.....

I don't need models, Wymad.

The tomatoes in the sandwich I'm eating for lunch, were grown in our greenhouse.

Wasn't Limits to Growth the first time such predictive modelling was applied to such issues?

And the whole of what IPCC does is predictive modelling.

It's the classic 'systems and carrying capacity' worldview tool.

Despite new laws curbing the building of new power generating plants using coal,Chinese companies are using loopholes to continue building them.Doesn't appear Central Govt is interested in stopping it either.

A carbon consumption tax would be better than the current mix of ineffective government run markets and stupid top down production controls. But it would impact most heavily on high consumption individuals and eliminate much scope for political grandstanding - therefore this planet is doomed. Who wants to go live on Mars?

Does Shaw,or indeed anyone believe that we will remain within the 1.50C as the Paris Accord 'demands'?

The global economy is slowing and the Chinese GDP figures are actually much lower than the official figures. What is likely to happen? Countries with electoral cycles like the US will do whatever it takes to try and get their economies moving,while China,or the CCP,will do likewise even without elections because they fear mass insurrection. Short term considerations will dominate official thinking.

I suspect he knows it's a goner. Just like 350.org sound a little hollow at 400 ppm. We will end up using all the remaining fossil fuels to attempt to defend our use of them, and the stuff we've built with them. In increasingly desperate circumstances.

If Shaw was a real leader, he'd tell the truth about our conundrum.

Yes, I simply can't see the Paris Accord being any more successful than the Kyoto Protocol. It's rather ironic that the key reason Kyoto was dumped and Paris was taken up to my mind was to try and bring the US back into the fray. And of course, that didn't last long :-).

And just look at the Yellow Vest movement in France - sparked by the intention to increase carbon tax on fossil fuel (petrol) use.

I do think NZ ought to look at France - you can't get blood out of a stone.

Such a shame that we weren't compelled by international law to implement a Self-Sufficiency Act (legislative framework) as opposed to a Carbon Zero one. Thing is, we'll get to carbon zero as a result of scarcity and the sad thing is no one is thinking and planning for that.

The most shocking conclusion in this report is that, on average, the carbon locked up in these "Carbon Sink" forests is likely to be re-emitted to the atmosphere as milled trees degrade as packaging and other waste!!!

So why is the government subsidising these short term carbon sinks? Why are carbon emitters paying for a temporary carbon storage option as the carbon is not permanently sequestered? Of the 1,000,000 tonnes of forestry slash that recently washed down rivers in the Gisbourne, damaging after property and beaches, how much had carbon credit payments banked by the forestry owners?

The Emissions trading scheme has always been broken and this report is further proof. Something is rotten in the state of the climate mitigation camp and we need commonsense not lofty ideals to fix this problem.

Not so fast. Sure it's emitted, but the emitter must pay via the carbon scheme. i.e buys more carbon and thus pays for the planting of more tree. Thus no net release occurs. It's only when we have planted every bit of potential land that we are no longer sequesting additional carbon. So plenty of opportunity yet.

The only thing rotten is the failing leaders who will not accept the reality of climate change and the need to act.

It is.. the new trees that replace the ones that get cut down absorb carbon.. so if the forest is standing the amount of carbon sequestered is proportional to the total biomass of the forest. Less forest, less sequestration, more forest, more sequestration.

But a new forest starts as seedlings with no biomass at all - and the growth time even for Radiata, is beyond what the planet has left to get to zero. It's a kick-the-can effort, in a vain hope that they can avoid real cessation.

Doesn't have to be radiata. And all those hills scoured with slips are much better off covered in trees. Pay enough for carbon and they can stay standing. Buys time.

Actually, they are much better off covered in native bush.

As usual it is all about gross emmissions and ignores soil carbon increases. March 19 temps were -0.5 below the 40 year average - what exactly is the problem these people are trying to solve? Nothing more that political posturing to take the focus off more pressing needs.
https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2019/february2019/GTR_201902Feb_1.pdf

Buying time is imperative, no question.

Paying enough for carbon is a bigger issue, though. Given that we have no equivalent energy source and that this one's turning out to be very finite, we need to have fully mitigated the results of burning it, using it, before it's gone. And we're 150 years late in starting. Which means that on behalf of our granchildren and theirs, we should all stop consuming right now and go re-plant some of the biomass we removed in the draw-down phase.

To be honest, from my grandchildren's perspective, the effects on our environment of ruminant pees and poos, worries me more than their belching.

You really need to separate science from politics when analysing the Greens stance. The carbon sequestration in trees option plays well to its mainly urban constituency, no matter how dubious the science of it is. It's nice for urbanites to think that if they, or their service provider, hands over dosh to plant trees their climate conscience is clean and they are doing their bit and it barely hurt. And trees are beautiful and natural too! Removing the option will not play well to urban voters or the businesses that market to them. Even worse Upton's plans favours farmers, a group that the Greens can demonise without fear, because farmers don't vote for them. Good on Upton for rattling the cage.