INDEPENDENT NEWS

Essential word for the government to learn

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019 03:38 PM
About Time the Government Learned the Word Sequestration
A New Zealand international soil scientist wants to reintroduce the word sequestration into our lexicon.
Dr John Baker says it’s so important, it should be part of our everyday conversation. It’s a building block of our survival yet the coalition government has ignored it in all their efforts to address climate change.
“Just as liquefaction became a recognised word following the Christchurch earthquakes, so too should sequestration be discussed when talking about the climatic future of New Zealand,” he says.
Dr Baker explains that sequestration is nature’s way of capturing CO2 that’s already in the atmosphere and putting it back in the soil. Sequestration is the life blood of plants. Recycling carbon is fundamental to life on earth he says.
“All living things contain carbon and sequestration is the process where green plants receive CO2 as they grow into crops and vegetables that we eat,” he explains.
Dr Baker says a healthy environment is where sequestration balances emissions, where the same amount of carbon is going into the soil as is being released. Yet, with reference to government policy, he says the coalition ignores any sequestration of carbon by farmers in favour of trying to tax them for emissions.
“We know that agricultural emissions are offset by sequestration because the carbon level in most ‘tractorable’ pastoral soils has not changed in 15 years. That means the same amount of carbon is getting back into the soil as leaving it through emissions,” he comments.
“Carbon-in is being offset by carbon-out. Therefore, if there’s no change, what right has the government got to tax only one side of the equation.
“To only tax one side of the carbon cycle defies natural justice.”
Dr Baker strongly argues that, if such a tax is introduced, the government must allow sequestered carbon to be deducted from emitted carbon. In other words, credit given to farmers for carbon they sequester each year, balanced against what they emit.
“They should tax the difference in the same way they tax the net profit from a company rather than the gross revenue,” he says.
“The government has conveniently forgotten that agriculture occupies about half of New Zealand’s land area and most of it has green plants such as pasture, crops, scrub and trees, growing on it most of the year round.”
When they’re willing to confront the word sequestration, they should take it another step further and consider how it can be enhanced he says.
In the majority of cropping countries, carbon-out is greater than carbon-in and Dr Baker predicts there’ll be widespread hunger by 2050 if it’s not reversed because the world will be unable to feed a 50 percent increase in its population.
“Eighty-five percent of the world’s food comes from arable soil which is being destroyed. The challenge of feeding the world is even greater than climate change, something that society fails
to recognise,” Dr Baker says.
Yet he says the answer exists in New Zealand and its technology. About 20 percent of carbon emissions are caused, not by animals, but traditional cultivation which opens up the soil and releases CO2 into the atmosphere.
However state-of-the-art technology invented in New Zealand has addressed the problem and its impact on climate change.
The solution is low disturbance, no tillage which is akin to keyhole surgery as opposed to ploughing which is invasive surgery. The case was presented to the arable section of Federated Farmers in August for discussion.
In the meantime, Dr Baker hopes New Zealand will use the word sequestration enough times that it infiltrates Parliament Building and can’t be ignored.
ends

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy
By: Statistics New Zealand
Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate
By: Joint Press Release
Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea
By: Ministry For Primary Industries
New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand
By: IDC New Zealand Ltd
Mediaworks Reaches Agreement To Sell TV Operations To Discovery, Inc.
By: Mediaworks
Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed
By: Ministry of Health
New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs
By: New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc
One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs
By: Statistics New Zealand
ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast Shows NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain
By: ASB
Live Export Ship Carrying 5,800 New Zealand Cows Goes Missing In East China Sea
By: SAFE
FMA Releases Report Into Active And Passive Fund Management
By: Financial Markets Authority
New Zealand In Deepest Recession In Living Memory
By: New Zealand National Party
Record Transport Investment To Help Economic Recovery And Save Lives
By: New Zealand Government
Trucks And Roads The Key To Economic Survival
By: Road Transport Forum
Building Confidence Crucial Amid An Uncertain Economic Recovery, Says OECD
By: OECD
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media