By Vijay Jayaraj
Countries around the world are imposing on agriculture outlandish taxes and restrictions on emissions of greenhouse gases. Farmers are being forced to return to primitive forms of agriculture and even to reduce the numbers of their livestock.
These policies have been met with growing opposition over their negative effects on the productivity and income of farmers, the cost of raw materials and long-term viability of agricultural enterprises. (RELATED: VIJAY JAYARAJ: The Left’s Climate Imperialism)
Justified in the name of climate action, such policies will not only destroy the livelihoods of the farmers but also disrupt food security across the world. Among the harshest policies are those of New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada.
Canadian farmers are concerned that the federal government’s plan to reduce emissions from the agriculture sector will limit their ability to use fertilizers derived from fossil fuels. Such products have been used for decades with astonishing success in boosting crop yields and farm income.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch Agricultural and Horticultural Organization has expressed concern that new regulations and restrictions of the country’s ambitious climate goals are making it increasingly difficult to farm profitably.
For example, a proposal floated by the Dutch government would have farmers quit, relocate or downsize their business under strict guidelines in exchange for compensation.
“Dairy farmers that want to be bought out need to reduce their cattle stocks by 95 percent and permanently relinquish their right to increase stocks in future,” according to a 2022 report. “For pig, chicken, and turkey farms, this percentage is 80 percent.” The bottom line is the Dutch government wants to close down one-third of the country’s 50,000 farms.
The government in New Zealand has proposed to tax the flatulence and burps of cows and sheep. The country’s farmers accuse the government of making “vague promises of an obscure future review with unknown terms of reference.”
“Everyone else is talking about food security and working with farmers to develop practical on-farm solutions,” Andrew Hoggard, president of New Zealand’s Federated Farmers, said. “Only New Zealand is taking the punitive step of taxing efficient, unsubsidized food production, even if it comes at huge costs.
New Zealand’s justification for these policies is entirely based on the assumption that the methane released by animals can cause dangerous levels of warming. Seldom revealed to the larger public is the fallacy of such predictions.
The United Nations’ climate wing, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), releases “assessment reports” that serve as the manual for climate policies. So, when New Zealand or the Netherlands proposes outlandish restrictions on farmers, they refer to the warming scenarios from the UN IPCC’s assessment reports.
But the problem is that the computer climate models used in these reports (known as CMIP5 and CMIP6) are faulty, incapable of providing accurate forecasts and erring by a large margin. Several peer-reviewed scientific papers have exposed this, and trusting these models is anything but scientific. The assessment reports themselves are products of ideological collaboration by government bureaucrats rather than of scientific analysis.
Imagine the lunacy of destroying the lives of farmers in the name of a climate future that even sophisticated computer models from the best scientists across the world cannot predict!
Discussions of cutting agricultural emissions seldom include the impact on global food security and the inflation resulting from constrained food supply. Constraints on agriculture will hamper the global efforts to address malnutrition.
Of course, it is middle- and lower-income people who suffer the immediate effects of inflation and food shortages. In many developing economies, it is also lower income groups that have a high proportion of farmers, whose livelihoods are affected directly by ill-conceived climate policies.
Stand up for the farmers. Regardless of where you live, communicate to local and national political leaders the need to resist this war on agriculture. Our lives may depend on it.
Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.