The weird stance of Charles Chauvel

December 18th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

As the Copenhagen summit looks like ending with no agreement, around the only substantial achievement (to date) was the launch of the Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases.

This is hugely important both for NZ and internationally.

The importance for NZ is it could help find a way to reduce methane emissions from livestock, which would save the country billions in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

The importance for the world is to avoid what happened with biofuels – that food producing land is converted into other uses, leading to global food shortages.

So it is one of those rare initiatives that almost everyone from business lobby groups to the most hardened Greenie supports. And kudos to Tim Groser and others for getting 20 countries to all pledge funding to it – from Australia to Vietnam to the US. Much better than NZ funding all the research,

Back in NZ, it won support from the Wgtn Chamber of Commerce (no fan of an ETS):

“The reality is that rather than the current proliferation of poorly designed cap and trade systems, science and technology are the real keys to solving the greenhouse gas emissions challenge, and this initiative plays to New Zealand’s research strengths,” said Chamber CEO Charles Finny. …

“This is a good example of trans-national cooperation with a number of countries pooling their expertise to solve a global problem. New Zealand going it alone would be less likely to produce results and it runs against the grain of what this global issue is all about.

“It is increasingly likely that this will be one of the few concrete initiatives to come from Copenhagen and so John Key and Tim Groser deserve full congratulations for the leadership they have shown in delivering this outcome,” Mr Finny concluded.

So business likes it. And what about the . Well this is Kennedy Graham:

Minister Tim Groser advised that, on Day 1, some US$150 m. had been pledged, and it was hoped that this would leverage private funding as well.  But he stressed that it was not just a question of finance – the essence was coordination, of research already underway and new research yet to be funded.  France, for example, already has some 500 researchers in agriculture and who would form part of the Alliance.  India’s contribution would be immense as well.  Once the political momentum was underway, it was important to turn it over to the scientists.

Denmark gave the most impressive example of the potential of the Alliance. Since 1990 it had increased agricultural production by 16% yet agricultural emissions had dropped by 23%.   This had been achieved through optimisation of the nutrient chain and improving water management. …

We should take a positive view of this initiative.

And Jeanette Fitzsimons said:

The Green Party today welcomed the announcement that New Zealand will lead a for reducing climate change emissions from agriculture, adding that it is crucial to pursue science and ideas that enhance our clean green reputation.

“I am delighted that New Zealand is finally doing something serious about fighting climate change and reducing agricultural emissions,” said Green Party Climate Change and Agriculture spokesperson . …

So New Zealand has achieved around the only positive announcement from Copenhagen, with an initiative that pleases both ETS sceptical businesses and the Greens. So who does that leave?

Labour’s . In a bizarre press release (one which Clark would have called treasonous if she was still PM) he has attacked the Global Alliance claiming NZ should have gone it alone:

“The multinational nature of the Global Agriculture Fund will inevitably mean that New Zealand won’t own the results of any research paid for by it.

“So, as well as there being substantially less money for investment in the reduction of emissions from agriculture, New Zealand will be poorer because we lose the opportunity to sell or share emissions reduction technology in our singular area of expertise on our own terms.

“Despite the self-generated fanfare and bright lights, National’s approach represents a failure. It totally lacks ambition and is a huge missed opportunity for New Zealand,” Charles Chauvel said.

Yes Chauvel thinks NZ could have solved the problem all by itself. He also misrepresents intellectual property laws (being pat of a multilateral alliance does not mean individual institutions abandon intellectual property rights over their inventions). It is a shockingly stupid stance.

In Opposition, there are times when mindless opposition just for the sake of a press release is a bad idea. As the Greens show, there are times you can say this is a good initiative – even if we don;t like the other things you are doing.

I wonder what Phil Goff, a respected former foreign and trade minister, thinks of his MPs claim NZ should not have helped set up the global research alliance, and gone it alone? I can’t imagine he possibly agrees.

29 Responses to “The weird stance of Charles Chauvel”

  1. Fairfacts Media (364 comments) says:

    I see cows are good for the planet.
    Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery says so.

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  2. Paulus (3,589 comments) says:

    Chauvel is a jerk. Rightly Clark/Simpson would have given him an unforgetable bollocking.

    Where is the hidden “leader” Goofy? Has he taken off on his motor bike ride around Clevedon?

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  3. serge (108 comments) says:

    How can I best describe the whole climate issue that has overtaken the minds and souls of our beloved politicians and the less beloved press? In one word: Bollocks. Whilst all of this climategate issue is going on, all our factories and anything that produces anything is being moved to China and soon even our agriculture is going to be moved to cheaper lands in South America (Fonterragate?), so what have we to be concerned about climate. there will be just consumers left, and without any productivity we will be back to square one, a great leap backwards, while the Chinese take the great leap forward and not giving a damn about climate or anything else for that matter.

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  4. Inventory2 (12,582 comments) says:

    Chauvel is, IMHO, aloof, arrogant and humourless. He is the one MP who would have likely been offended by the Brownlee/Parker exchange on Wednesday had he been in the House. Labour needs to keep him in key spokesperson roles to remind us why we voted Labour out.

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  5. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    Using a Chauvel, Labour digs itself deeper into a hole of hopelessness.

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  6. Inventory2 (12,582 comments) says:

    Very good Pete, very good 🙂

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  7. fredinthegrass (278 comments) says:

    Can anybody tell me anything good about Chauvel?
    We have amazing reseachers in New Zealand that are hobbled by lack of funds.
    They still manage to produce world leading results with this restricted funding –
    imagine what they might achieve in the ‘global context’ with this accord.

    On a study trip to the US in the seventies I was told of a group of researchers
    who were given an ‘open’cheque, shut up in a place known as The Chestnut Run,
    and told to go and find something useful.
    They discovered “NYLON” – basically the first manmade fibre to follow rayon.

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  8. big bruv (15,619 comments) says:

    “The weird stance of Charles Chauvel”

    Careful DPF, you will upset Toad.

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  9. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Chauvel is right in one respect. It’s all a crock of shit.

    I hope that $45mil goes to reducing burps from the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Dormouse and definitely the White Rabbit.

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  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (3,678 comments) says:

    PeteGeorge, for a Luddite, that was positively brilliant.

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  11. Rod (236 comments) says:

    New Zealand scientists at work with experiments on how to reduce the emission by mammals of global warming methane into the atmosphere:

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  12. Manolo (22,384 comments) says:

    Who is the delicate Chauvel? Since when a lawyer like him, who’s lived all his cotton-walled life in an office, has become an expert scientist and researcher?

    Surely, he can lecture us in feminism, homosexuality in the Middle Ages, advanced Knitting and crochet; but climate and weather issues?

    Chauvel is a perfect example of what is wrong with the socialist Labour Party. A tosser out of his depth, a shameless liar making absurd statements on topics he knows nothing about.

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  13. Komata (1,775 comments) says:

    Aaaah, but don’t forget folks, New Zealand MUST be seen to be a ‘World Leader’ – that after all was what DL wanted!! It is absolutely crucial for the socialists to be seen as being important, and the more important on the’The World Stage’ the better.

    As a result our small country came to be known as being important for the folowing reasons: lesbian marriage, Chronic Bakruptcy, the Fart tax (Sorry, Bovine Methane Emmisiions tax), paralysis, watermelons, gay MP’s and of course, DL herself (the world’s first lesbian PM?), to say nothing of corruption, lying, and forgery (but hey, that’s the socialsit way isn’t it?)

    And, before I forget, ‘Sheeples’!!

    Based on these precedents, lovingly cultivated for the last nine years or so, Mr Chauvel’s comments are perfectly reasonable (and probably written by DL herself), and should not be unexpected.

    I just wonder what other brilliant ideas he (sorry, she – DL is still pulling the strings after all) will eminate from this MP: no doubt they will be very, very, very interesting.

    I can hardly wait.

    BTW: A Lawyer as an MP in a Labour (workers) party? Me thinks a contradiction – no?

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  14. fatman43us (164 comments) says:

    And still they avoid the horrible truth. To avoid the non-existent effects of CO2 from animal farts, you are going to have to change the stuff the farts arise from – Grass. To do that you have two simply known paths to follow – Evolution or Genetic Modification. And if Johns prize goes the latter path Coppenhagen will be as the Manurewa Ladies Knitting Klatch!

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  15. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    for a Luddite

    I didn’t think I was anti technology. I’m all for this agricultural initiative by the green Groser, it is a major opportunity for NZ agricultural science and also flow-on business opportunities, plus possible reductions in carbon costs. Seems like a smart direction.

    Others here seem to want to sabotage the science, I think Ned’s label could be more appropriate for them.

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  16. reid (21,595 comments) says:

    Just thinking about this though it is of course a fact that NZ survives on its global leadership in AgResearch with all that entails, from animal husbandry to crops, pasture, genetics, soil, etc.

    All of those disciplines interplay with respect to emissions and a bit from here and a bit from there could add up to some technology going East, for free, with negative consequences.

    In addition, we’ve apparently stepped up to lead this thing according to the news reports and that means if true its incumbent on us to put some rapid runs on the board with this alliance and that probably means giving the rest of the alliance something valuable that they don’t yet have, for free.

    Elements of caution need to be exercised lest we naively trade away our world advantage. And let’s not forget, proprietorial IP is not respected at all in most parts of the world esp in our soon-to-be largest market: China.

    And finally, let’s also not forget that in reality, AGW is in fact complete and utter bollocks and the only rational reason for doing this is because we depend on trade and the rest of the world is temporarily obsessed with this insanity. At the moment it looks like this insanity will become a way of life because unfortunately the population of useful idiots far outweighs those of us who remain sane. However that situation might change at some point – who knows – and it would be sad, wouldn’t it, if we’d given away our world advantage for the sake of compliance with some momentary temporary global fixation.

    Of course, we have a habit of doing this, c.f. nuclear-free, so it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve shot ourselves in the foot in return for nothing except a nice warm fuzzy feeling in our bellies.

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  17. reid (21,595 comments) says:

    As my first suggestion, I suggest a smart-igniter that burns the nasty methane at point of exit. It might keep the farmers awake at night but we’re talking about the planet here, people.

    Get with the program.

    The side-benefit is an interesting light show, each and every day and night. Mark II might involve a storage device and cow roller-skates, with a training kit so the cows learn to self-propel into the milking shed. That’s a productivity improvement as well.

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  18. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    It’s mostly burps that are the problem, dragon breath, but that may help back the cows into their stalls.

    Re IP, we could as easily gain from others as lose our own, and that could lead to better production and less waste so there is plenty of upside potential as well.

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  19. reid (21,595 comments) says:

    “we could as easily gain from others as lose our own”

    Pete I agree its possible esp in genetic engineering although in most other areas we are at the top and the only way is down. Most productivity gains offered by other alliance partners would come from factory farming IP which IMO we don’t want or need.

    One of the worries is that we rely on a free-range point-of-difference in the global market. No doubt factory farming will rapidly become more efficient than free-range at combating manbearpig because of the opportunities for air-purification in confined spaces.

    Will we be forced to adopt that unnatural method to preserve our markets?

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  20. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    Yes, I’d wondered about that, despite your suggestion it would only be possible to regather gas from cows that are enclosed spaces. I think the main aim in NZ will be to find fodder types (ie grasses) that don’t result in as much methane and co2 being produced.

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  21. unaha-closp (1,612 comments) says:

    So New Zealand has achieved around the only positive announcement from Copenhagen, with an initiative that pleases both ETS sceptical businesses and the Greens. So who does that leave?

    Taxpayers paying for it.

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  22. Viking2 (14,467 comments) says:

    ” The green Groser,” hmm well most of them have become extinct so its clear genetic modification will be required to allow the species to survive.

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  23. burt (11,798 comments) says:

    Pete George

    So GE grass then ? Perhaps if we spliced the grass genes with a methane consuming microbe we could get grass that gleans up it’s own methane during digestion. Tough luck if it makes the meat carcinogenic and it takes 10 years to figure that out.

    Perhaps the historically higher CO2 levels than we have now were caused by prevalence of large belching and farting dinosaurs just waiting to turn into oil for us.

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  24. lukas (36 comments) says:

    IV2- “He is the one MP who would have likely been offended by the Brownlee/Parker exchange on Wednesday had he been in the House.”

    Not quite true. If you for some reason you stumble over to frogblog, you will see that some in the “green” Party were not too happy about it either. Granted, the “green” MP’s have not expressed outrage, but I would beat a fair whack of money that they would not have seen the funny side of it, unfortunately the camera never shows a shot of them.

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  25. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    So GE grass then ?

    Could be natural selection, testing to see what works best in the bovine gut. It will presumably be a balance between nutrition and growth promotion, and emission reduction. It’s possible that modern pastures are not ideal for the bovine digestive system.

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  26. Abbies Ghost (1 comment) says:

    As a measure to help reduce non-CO2 GHG emissions, then it’s a good idea.

    Of course, if (like it has happened before in other contexts) the very corporate interests who recieve funding through a global pool that also stand to benefit from the discoveries made decide to hyper-inflate the price of such products beyond the affordability of farmers in NZ (let alone elsewhere), then I think taxpayers here are going to feel ripped off.

    And, if you are opposed to the public purse being used to to fund social welfare in principle, then you are a hypocrite to support such corporate welfare.

    so, have fun at the sychophantic orgy in praise of bribery and “he who must be trusted” Tim Groser.

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  27. Paw Prick (51 comments) says:

    Methane makes up around 1% of green house gasses. The biggest emmitter of methane is swamp/wetlands. alot are being drained as a resualt methane levels are falling. Sounds like a good enough reason to hamstring our farmers all the same???
    Interesting you bring up factory farming in a confined space, would any of you work in a confined space with just one running motor vechile??
    NZ farmers are not only the only unsubsidsed in the world they are the only ones being taxed.

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  28. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    Good take at American Thinker from an official report to Copenhagen.
    Hope Nick Smith lets Neville Key see it.

    and just how are we going to get Africa to cough up for all their wild animals farting?

    or is there another reason for Copenhagen?

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  29. Tui (28 comments) says:

    We’re getting informed comment from Kennedy Graham and Charles Chauvel on the shortcomngs of our government’s climate change policy, who incidently, paid their own way to go to Copenhagen as the government denied them a place on the NZ delegation. Chauvel speaks out and you guys go nuts.

    I call it the weird stance of Tim Groser. Groser publically does his nuts off a a small Pacific Nation, Tuvalu, daring to speak out against government policy. Shame on Groser as a former diplomat.

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