The and IPCC have already set out some suggestions which are, cease burning fossil fuels, adopt a human diet and farming regime with minimum cattle and start to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Statements that are easily made but politically difficult and yet this is what we will have to do eventually.
In New Zealand, we burn hardly any coal for making electricity but our two big greenhouse gas emitting areas are transport and farming. If we accept that electric transport is imminent and will replace oil powered cars in ten or twenty years’ time then we have to look at our farming activities and also try to work out how to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Both very difficult decisions for different reasons, cattle and sheep farming are central to the New Zealand economy and we do not currently have the technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and will have to rely on natural solutions.
While driving in remote farming regions near Taranaki and Whanganui I was struck by the way that our early farmers denuded the countryside of trees by logging and burning to convert the bush into land suitable for sheep and cattle.
My argument is that many areas of sheep farming are barely economic and it would make sense to put that land into retirement, as they do in Europe, by paying the farmers not to farm and regenerating the land with native trees that are not going to be felled.
This is not a modest undertaking and we will be desperate when we start it. We are burning 3,800 million tonnes of coal A YEAR, and it is 80% carbon so you can imagine how much CO2 is in the atmosphere (oil is additionally a similar figure).
It takes 40 trees to absorb a tonne of carbon so the scale of it is immense but as we are already in a dire situation, which is quickly getting worse and natural disasters, caused by the planets rising temperatures, will force the politicians to start listening to the scientists and the people and not vested interests who want to continue with ‘business as usual’