“OMG – Dairy Bosses discover climate change – 20 years too late”

Hot on the heels of Greenpeace’s parody video about Pure Dairy, the industry leadership has countered with a parody of its own.

The Dairy Action plan 2017-2018, released Wednesday afternoon, in which Fonterra, Dairy NZ, Piglet and Pooh discover Climate Change.

It’s like AA Milne does PR.

Walking through the 100 acre wood one day, the friends notice a set of melted footsteps in the snow.

It could be a Woozle says Pooh. Or a Heffalump says Piglet. No, say their new friends Fonterra and DairyNZ. It’s something even scarier. That’s your environmental footprint. The earth is heating up. It’s melting the snow.

Piglet and Pooh Climate Change

This report reads like Fonterra stumbled across an old press release written by a marketing intern in the 1990’s. Binned because it was far too progressive for its time.

Stop press – page one: “Climate Change is a global problem.” No kidding?

Apparently “this plan is a concrete example of the dairy sector’s commitment to continuous improvement in on farm environmental performance, and reducing GHG emissions in particular.”

Today’s document is straight out of the political playbook for showing a deep commitment to solving a problem and doing sweet FA.

They talk about “committing to working together”, “meaningful contributions”, “raising awareness”, “supporting farmers” and “sharing general findings.”

Active words without any action. Couched in the language of meaningless mitigation.

Every country in the world, bar three, has agreed to set serious limits on their Greenhouse Gas Emissions to stop the earth’s temperature change hitting two degrees. That’s because of the catastrophic consequences if we don’t.

So what has Fonterra and DairyNZ committed to?

Under the “commitments” sub heading within the “commitments” section, they will hold 8 workshops, identify 12 climate change “champions”, host six discussion groups.

That oughta do it.

Buried in the release are the naked facts from down on the farm.

When it comes to Greenhouse Gases agriculture is our biggest single polluter. Methane and nitrous oxide from cows make up half that amount. That means Big Dairy is responsible for 25 per cent of our total emissions.

Ever since Climate Change has been a thing, at least 20 years, agriculture has been given a free ride. Or as the release delicately puts it “on-farm biological emissions do not face a price in the Emissions Trading Scheme.”

My favourite fun line though, from this AA Milne parody, comes in the objectives section:

They want to: “ground-truth the farm system changes with dairy farmers.”

Ground truthing – I had to look it up – is the information provided by direct observation rather than inference.

This is the ground truth. The world is heating up. We are already feeling the effects. Dairy represents quarter of the problem. Cutting cow numbers will not only help climate change but help protect our rivers.

But even Piglet could have told you that. Back in 1997.

By Phil Vine, Journalist for Greenpeace.

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