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Dear Editor:

Re: Grey County Climate Change Report and Our Local Cattle Industry

Beef and dairy together comprise a serious economic driver throughout Grey and Bruce. Many of my best friends make their living in cattle or dairy. I personally enjoy a ribeye with my Kilannan IPA. I also note that much of our regional farmland is marginal – which means that it either feeds beef or it lies fallow.

This renders me firmly on the side of ruminants.

Yet my BBQ is spoiled by a county climate change report which concludes that a third of our local greenhouse gasses are generated by cattle. Now this statistic may or may not be true. I don’t know. But when the county council adopts the report without a single caveat, the council also adopts its conclusions.

So we as a county have endorsed this 33% figure, we have boldly proclaimed that we are in a climate “emergency” and we have pledged net zero emissions by 2050. Yet, remarkably, neither the authors of the report nor county council call for the reduction of this allegedly massive greenhouse gas contributor by as much as a single Angus calf.

This is logically incoherent. It also only feeds an already robust cynicism over the politics of climate change. Either we are in crisis mode, with all hands on deck, or we are not.

I suggest we are not. Our actions speak louder than our words. If something is urgent, real sacrifice is in order. But, as with so many climate change initiatives and reports, our Grey County report demands so little of us. Presumably this is because the electorate would not support for a minute any effort to discourage the growth of our cattle industry in order to perhaps alter the global climate by 0.0000000001% or some such infinitesimal number. Grey County politicians are not fools.

Given this, can we please all stop trying to look like we are doing something while in fact doing very little? Rather than expend small fortunes on consultants, an industry of climate change specialists, baseline emissions analyses and colourful power points, I suggest we save the money, park the rhetoric, and focus on the other pressing issues of our day.


John A. Tamming





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