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No Opinion

Federated Farmers is organisation which supports farmers’ interests here in New Zealand. I’ve never been very impressed with them because they generally follow a fairly conservative line which ignores real innovation and positive change and is mainly interested in maintaining the status quo where agriculture gets significant privileges that the rest of us don’t have.

So from my perspective they’re a pretty terrible organisation to begin with, and you might be able to imagine how my opinion of them worsened when I heard a recent comment they made on climate change.

I have to admit that at least they had a slightly different spin on the problem and demonstrated a slightly more nuanced view than some other groups, but on the other hand they still showed a great deal of ignorance and irresponsibility.

So basically their statement was that “Federated Farmers has no opinion on whether climate change is real or not and it makes no difference to farmers anyway.”

You might say that FF is not an organisation which is an expert on climate change so maybe they shouldn’t have an opinion, but they are also not experts on other subjects such as social and economic change but often have an opinion on those subjects. Maybe they should just stick to useful topics like what colour gumboots are best!

Clearly FF want to be climate change deniers but are too scared of being ridiculed (quite rightly) for talking that stance so are using the same dirty tactics that other pressure groups use in similar situations. A classic example of this strategy is creationists who couldn’t impose their religious myths on science classes so created something called “intelligent design” instead, and when that failed they came up with the “teach the controversy” strategy even though no controversy exists.

But denial of the facts reaches a whole new level with the claim that “it makes no difference to farmers anyway”. Before I continue I should say that I know that not all farmers share this crazy view and many are probably quite embarrassed to be represented by the clowns at Federated Farmers.

I could interpret the phrase “it makes no difference to farmers anyway” two ways: the more obvious one that they think global warming won’t affect them, and the other possibility that they justy don’t care.

First, if they think they will be unaffected they should think again. If this generation isn’t affected much the next most certainly will be. There is no scientific doubt about that. And I am totally aware that in some situations in some areas farming will improve because of warming but the overall global result will be overwhelmingly bad.

Maybe they think New Zealand will get off quite lightly and that other countries will be affected more giving them an advantage in the market place. I know everyone is encouraged to think about everything as competition in a global market now, but I really hope that things haven’t really sunk to this level of immorality.

Maybe they think they wil be rescued by science and technology finding solutions to reduce the bad effects of climate change. Well if they do think that first why not say so and why not pressure the government to put more research into this area because it is badly needed.

Or maybe the second explanation is true and they just don’t care. This would certainly fit in with the modern trend for agriculture to destroy the environment it claims to respect so much. Agriculture is the biggest producer of greenhouse gas in the country and thanks to intensive dairying most of our rivers are now a mess.

Famers care about the land? Yeah, right. They are as bad as any other industry driven by profit and it’s about time they were brought under control. My first suggestion: ignore everything Federated Farmers says.

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