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“You Can’t Manage what You Can’t Measure”

Regulators must not make the same mistake with farm greenhouse gas emissions as they did with Overseer, Robin Grieve Chairman of FARM (Facts about ruminant methane) said today

Councils and Government attempting to regulate farm activities without having the tools to measure what it is they are regulating, is a classic example of politicians running ahead of the science.

Our environment deserves better than having our politicians blundering their way along a regulatory path when they don’t really know what they are talking about or dealing with. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is a farm adage that our politicians would be well advised to learn from.

Overseer was never the tool for the job and the zest with which our politicians adopted it as a tool to regulate, despite knowing its deficiencies, should be concerning to any fair minded person who cares for the environment.

Farm greenhouse gases were subject to the same disregard by our politicians when some decades ago they adopted the CO2 equivalent system to quantify methane emissions, despite being told by the climate scientists at the time that it was not fit for purpose.

The CO2 equivalents system does not take in to account the cyclical nature of ruminant methane emissions which leads to it massively overstating the impact of methane emissions and renders it meaningless. To use this system at all is to deny science.

There is an irony in the fact that it is Simon Upton as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who has signaled time on the use of Overseer. He was a key politician all those decades ago who was responsible for our Government making the mistake of adopting the CO2 equivalent system. He needs to call time on this mistake as well and signal that any farm emissions pricing scheme is not to be applied until real farm emissions and their impact can be measured and accurate.

If improving water quality and stopping global warming are important to our politicians they will call time on overzealous regulations that lack scientific credibility, and instead seek enduring solutions that are science based.

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