The day before nationwide Climate Strikes, Greenpeace Aotearoa has erected three billboards across Wellington today in a bid to highlight the Government’s lack of action on climate change. The satirical billboards feature Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern using Climate Change Minister James Shaw as a paintbrush to greenwash a dairy cow – symbolising industrial dairying. Ardern holds a tin labeled ‘Industrial Strength Greenwash’.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Christine Rose says: “The government is talking big on climate change, but really it’s just greenwash because they are failing to cut climate pollution from intensive dairy.
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came into government promising to make climate change her nuclear-free moment. But five years on, her government has done virtually nothing to regulate the dairy industry which is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter.
“Instead of real action, we’ve seen a whole load of ineffective policies being dressed up as climate action. The clearest example of this is the agri-industry partnership with government, known as He Waka Eke Noa. The scheme hands responsibility for climate action to polluters themselves. Predictably, it will only reduce emissions by around 1%.
“Greenwash like He Waka Eke Noa is worse than inaction, because it gives the impression that climate change is being taken seriously when it is not – and that leads to a false sense of security, risking further delays that we simply cannot afford.”
According to the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory, dairy cattle are responsible for almost a quarter of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions (23.5%), with industrial agriculture causing half of the country’s total emissions.
Rose says, “New Zealanders would be forgiven for thinking climate change is under control because our Prime Minister declared a climate emergency and we have a Minister dedicated to climate change. But sadly that isn’t the case.
“Our children and grandchildren deserve to live on a planet with a safe and stable climate. But we are seeing the impacts of climate change already. Catastrophic floods, fires and droughts are fast becoming commonplace. There’s not a moment to lose. We need real action on the biggest climate polluter: intensive dairying,” says Rose.
Greenpeace is calling on the government to regulate New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter by bringing agriculture fully into the Emissions Trading Scheme, reducing cow numbers and phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is directly responsible for producing more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire domestic aviation sector. But it also leads indirectly to more emissions by allowing the farming industry to stock more cows than the land can naturally sustain.
“New Zealand’s agricultural system is broken; we simply have to change how farming is done in New Zealand. Shifting to more plant-based regenerative organic farming works with nature instead of against it, and is a solution to the climate crisis. It also means farmers are less dependent on expensive inputs like synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and supplementary feed which improves profitability and productivity with less environmental harm,” says Rose.
Join us to call on Prime Minister Ardern and the Government to go further than the Climate Commission’s inadequate recommendations and cut climate pollution from NZ’s biggest polluter: industrial dairying.