The island nation of New Zealand—a country with twice as many cows and five times as many sheep as people—has proposed a new tax directed at the “greenhouse gases” that farm animals produce, such as methane gas from cows and sheep burping and nitrous oxide from their urine. This tax is part of their plan to fight climate change by becoming “carbon neutral” by 2050.
Are agricultural emissions really something we need to be worried about?
What will taxing cows do (other than raising the cost of farming and therefore food, of course)? Well, this tax will then reportedly go back “toward the farming industry to fund new technology, research and incentive payments for farmers.” But how such a tax actually reduces emissions—which it claims to do—wasn’t made clear in the article. But, that aside, are agricultural emissions really something we need to be worried about?
Well, keep a few things in mind (you can find these points in greater detail in Dr. Alan White’s article, “The Globe is Warming, But It’s Not Your Fault!” or “Climate Change Facts: Should We Be Concerned?”):
• While the fact that the climate is changing is observational science
, climate models (trying to predict the future) are highly susceptible to the parameters used in the models. That’s why different scientists get different results and therefore make different (and, so far, wildly inaccurate) predictions.
• Most, if not all, of the doomsday predictions by climate change alarmists haven’t come true. Instead the goal posts just keep moving and the hand wringing continues. For example, in the 1970’s the concern was global cooling, then it became global warming, and now, with no significant warming or cooling in 15 years, the concern is now more extreme weather patterns.
• Climate is incredibly complex, and scientists don’t fully understand it yet.
• What you believe about the age of the earth will determine much of what you believe about past climates and the amount of warming in the recent past.
• Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane (especially methane), make up a very small percentage of the warming effect (water vapor and clouds have a much bigger effect) so the docile cows and sheep in New Zealand really aren’t doing anything to destroy the earth. Indeed, it may be that this increase in carbon dioxide is actually leading to a greener planet, with more food available for everyone.
• Climate has changed in the past—including warming before we began burning fossil fuels at today’s rates.
• God has promised that humans won’t destroy the earth (Genesis:8:22)!
Taxing sheep and cows isn’t going to save mankind because extreme man-made climate change is made up in the minds of men. God designed earth to be inhabited and subdued by man (Genesis:1:28) and has marvelously made our climate (it’s not the result of millions of years of chance processes!). Another verse comes to mind, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Romans:1:22).