Over the last couple of weeks the news has been filled with images of scorched brown hills and farmers struggling to feed their stock as (the now official) drought bites. Our last drought was in 2008; it cost us $2.8 billion, enough to tip New Zealand into recession (funny, I thought it was “the previous Labour government” that did that?), and now it seems that this one is going to be even worse. And that’s bad because our economy (which hasn’t really recovered from 2008) is very dependent on farming, especially dairy.
And this is where I start getting confused.
About the only people who still think climate change is a scam are Sarah Palin and Garth from down at the pub (you know the guy, he’s the one with the grouse Commodore ute and the hot missus), and the people who really know what they’re talking about tell us that we’re going to experience extremes of weather like this drought more frequently. And given the last couple of years have featured a worldwide boom in droughts, floods, heatwaves, blizzards etc, I think they’re right.
So here’s how I see things:
- Droughts are bad for farming, especially dairy farming.
- Our economy is dependent on farming.
- Climate change means droughts will become more frequent.
Therefore our economy is facing a very real and fairly immediate threat.
But when was the last time ANYONE, ANYWHERE said that? When the media reported on the drought, when did they say “droughts like this are going to be more frequent due to climate change which will impact on the New Zealand economy”? When did Federated Farmers say “climate change is going to hurt farmers unless we take action”? And the banks: aren’t they worried that farmers will find it hard to service their mortgages? If they are, they’re keeping it to themselves. And worst of all, our Government, the people we have entrusted with the task of running the country have fallen asleep and there is very little on the various websites more recent than 2008 (see the link below).
Am I really the only one who can see this problem? Have I missed something? Or am I just a little thick?