Greenpeace Incredulous Over James Shaw’s Dairy Denial – Greenpeace


Greenpeace has taken aim at the Minister for Climate Change and co-leader of the Green Party, James Shaw, over his recent comments regarding cow numbers in New Zealand.

Greenpeace has been increasingly critical of Shaw over recent months, but things have escalated following Shaw’s Parliamentary question time denial of the need to reduce cow numbers.

In the same week that Greenpeace launched a petition to halve the dairy herd, James Shaw answered Act MP Mark Cameron’s question in Parliament on whether he agreed with the view that New Zealand did not need to reduce the herd size with an emphatic “Yes”.

Shaw also stated that DairyNZ and Fonterra had “got with the programme” on climate change. However, emissions from the dairy industry’s six million cows have yet to decline. In the 4 years of Shaw holding the Ministerial portfolio on climate change, emissions have continued to rise.

“We are in a climate emergency, and intensive dairy is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter, so it’s alarming to hear our Minister for Climate Change deny that we need fewer cows,” says Greenpeace Programme Director Niamh O’Flynn.

Shaw’s comments go against Green Party policy, and even the advice from the Climate Change Commission, which recommended a reduction of the herd.

When asked by Tova O’Brien on Today FM whether the Emissions Reduction Plan due for release in May 2022 will have anything in it about reducing herd sizes, Shaw answered “No”.

“Will James Shaw follow Scott Morrison’s footsteps and bring a milk bottle into parliament next? Because like Morrison’s attempt to protect Australia’s coal industry, it increasingly looks like our climate minister is more interested in protecting the dairy industry than the climate. In his own words, he is ‘bending over backwards’ for the agriculture sector” said O’Flynn.

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The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report into potential techno-fixes to livestock emissions stated, “there is no silver bullet on the horizon.” The report made the point that fewer livestock would mean fewer emissions.

On the recent release of the latest IPCC report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Some Government and business leaders are saying one thing, but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic.”


  1. Anyone interested in this subject should start by reading the huge amount of work put together by Allan Savory and similar people, showing just how essential mobs of grazing ruminants are to grassland ecosytems, and carbon sequestration. Anyone serious about wanting to sequester Carbon for climate change purposes will be able to learn about the way tightly controlled grazing animals allow massive sequestration of atmospheric C into the soil, which is how the amazing high-Carbon soils of the US prairies were formed. There are many studies that have proved conclusively that grasslands with animals removed become senescent and ultimately collapse (because the animals are part of the ecosystem and not an ‘unnatural emission source’!). Unfortunately this ecosystem failure is what Grenpeace in their ignorance is advocating for NZ.

    The reality is far different from the Greenpeace model. Arable soils producing vegetables etc have low soil C levels, while grazed grasslands with ruminants (ie cattle etc) are far healthier ecosystems, and are the only real solution for anyone wanting to sequester atmospheric Carbon for climate change mitigation. Greenpeace are totally wrong on this one, and are showing themselves purely as an anti-farming lobby group rather than an environmental group.

    Again, go read the life story of Allan Savory and his background starting as someone shooting elephants for conservation purposes and ultimately turned to a man on a mission to save the world with huge numbers of cattle and other ruminants to stop global warming.


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