Speaking of Simon Upton, I see the Government has
appointed him as a special envoy to promote the idea of
what John Key calls a ‘Global Alliance’ on research into
ways of mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
The idea of the alliance, announced by Key during his New
York visit, is an astute political move, as it gives the
impression that this government really cares about such
matters as agricultural emissions, when in fact it has done
nothing but back away from decisive action on the matter.
The choice of Upton makes it doubly astute, because he
has some ecological cred, and, as my last post indicated,
he's capable of thinking outside the usual narrow limits of
political discourse, even if he did belong to a government
(the National one of the 1990s) that allowed little scope for
such unorthodox behaviour. He may well wind up, again,
being the poster boy for National government greenwash;
if they really cared about agricultural emissions they would
have put serious funding (not the piddly few millions
currently allocated) into research as soon as they took
office—as indeed should the previous Labour government.
For at least 15 years now it has been clear that agricultural
emissions would be the achilles heel of any international
commitment New Zealand made to reducing its carbon
footprint. Yet for 15 years we fiddled while cows belched.