The Vegan Society Aotearoa NZ has made a submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. We feel this could be a very important piece of legislation and one that should be reducing our dairy herds but is not. We would like to see the government incentivising farmers to diversify and produce more crops, creating a transition away from animal based agriculture, this Bill is a potential start for that. Thus we are suggesting our members might like to make their own submissions on this Bill.
We have included some points that you may wish to make and some longer paragraphs and further reading to help with your submission:
Submission on the Zero Carbon Bill
I applaud the effort and idea behind the Bill but feel it falls short of what is actually required in a few key areas.
In the light of evidence from the UN that there is only 11 years left to take meaningful action on climate change, I suggest a change in the date of the 2050 target with respect to Clause 5Q. I believe this report shows reasonable cause for a change in date. If there is only 11 years left, then setting a target date of 2050 is meaningless. The date should be 2030. Governments have been talking for 30 years, things have got worse, not better!
I also submit that as methane is the strongest and fastest acting of the greenhouse gases, it is against the scientific evidence to omit this from the Bill and treat it as a separate case. The current target of a 10% reduction in methane produced by 2030 is simply too little, too late. Methane can be up to 86 times a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, it only lasts for 12 years in the atmosphere, compared to carbon dioxide's longer lasting 200 years. However it is precisely for this reason that I submit that methane should be treated as the gas that needs effective action taken against. There are reports suggesting that action taken now on methane can mitigate the carbon dioxide warming effects and help stabilise the atmosphere.
I further submit that there are some actions that could be taken by the government to help people make the right choices with regard to lowering emissions. I would like to see the government incentivising farmers to diversify and produce more crops. Growing plants is the best way New Zealand can lower its emissions, plants eat up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. If farmers head towards more organic production, then New Zealand will be building the soil for the future instead of stripping the planet of it's resources. When artificial fertilisers are used, the benefits of plants are undermined, as the fertilisers are a high source of greenhouse gas emissions, which emit methane during production and then soil bacteria turn them into nitrous oxide after they are put on the crops.
The even bigger inconvenient truth is that eating animals is the largest single cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Humankind must reduce the number of farmed animals on the planet, and New Zealand has it's part to play in this. The true effects of what we have been putting into the atmosphere have yet to occur, the dangerous and extreme weather events we are currently witnessing are from what was put in the atmosphere 10 to 100 years ago. Since then, our emissions globally have increased, so it really is vital that any action taken is effective and immediate. The current Zero Carbon Bill does not seem to address this.
Future generations are relying on us. We have to make those hard choices if we want to be one of the species that survives the oncoming storms. The cost of not acting fast enough and hard enough will be much higher than simply carrying on and doing not quite enough.
Further reading and evidence for this submission is taken from