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Global alliance news is as good as it gets

by 11 Apr 2010Agricultural emissions0 comments

Fetal Matrix cover

Matrix on the Mind: Fetal matrix – Sir Peter Gluckman – Sir Graham Liggins – Ōpahi Bay – Mahurangi Action Plan matrix—an impossible stretch! publisher Cambridge University Press

It may not always seem like it.

Nevertheless, the editorial policy of the Mahurangi Magazine is for it be good-news publication. But that is good-news, as opposed to head-in-the-sand news, when it comes to inconvenient truths.

The successful inaugural conference of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which finished on Saturday, is definitely in the good news category. Which makes it perplexing as to why it isn’t the weekend’s biggest story. Even the Science Media Centre, by Sunday, had covered only Wednesday’s opening session—this is science history in the making.

When John Key became the first prime minister in the history of Aotearoa to hire a science advisor, little media attention was paid. When the prime minister’s chief science advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, promptly produced a succinct four-pager on climate change, little media attention was paid. When the delegation to the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen succeeded in initiating Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, little media attention was paid—it had already been decided that the story of the conference was it was a failure.

These were all good news stories—except, of course, for those who’s notion of a good news story, obligingly forged by the merchants of doubt, is one that denies anthropogenic global warming. The gathering of the global alliance was hosted by the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, which is based in Palmerston North. However the representatives from 28 countries met in Wellington, presumably to avoid the extra emissions generated by shuffling attendees back and forth from an international airport—nor, of course, could Palmerston North match the venue Wellington boasted: Te‍ ‍Papa.

One line of John Key’s opening address beautifully sums up the challenge:

We are here to face one of the defining challenges of the early 21st century: How to feed the world’s growing population while at the same time limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

This is good news for farmers and environmentalists, but the Green Party and Federated Farmers have barely a good word to say about it—altogether too busy playing politics.

It is also good news for enthusiasts for the Mahurangi, whether heads are buried in the mud or fully fascinated to be witnessing the defining events beginning to play out as the sheer scale of human impact warms the oceans and atmosphere globally: Agriculture accounts for half of Aotearoa’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Well done the guiding light of the alliance Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, who also chaired some of the conference sessions.

And well done his bosses—previous and present.


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