Paris Climate Talks

Dear Yves,

Sorry I skipped last week – here is two weeks worth of evaporation: from 22 Nov to 5th December 5-10, 4, 10, 10, 7, 10, 11, 0-11, 4-1, 1-3, 1-6, 5, 5-2 2

I am sure you are all aware that there is a conference taking place in Paris right now on the future policy on Climate Change. What I was NOT aware of, is that each country arrived at the conference with their INDC – Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. Well I don’t know about Nationally Determined – determined by one or two ‘experts’, probably foreign, and certainly decided without ANY public debate, that I am aware of. I managed to track down a copy of our INDC and it is the usual load of blah, blah, blah mostly pleading for about $35 bn in aid to help us achieve these goals. Our contribution is (apparently) mostly based on agriculture to mitigate our use of fossil fuels by expanding our forests and using ‘smart’ agriculture to capture more carbon in our soils.

I am sure many other countries will also be claiming to do the same – using agriculture/forestry to ‘mop-up’ after fossil fuels. Not only is this technique likely to be very difficult to verify, but it will probably be totally ineffective in dealing with our growing use of fuel. There was nothing in the INDC about public transport policy in the towns (to replace all the cars that we have recently imported.) and very little about promoting solar power. So I suspect that the Paris conference is not going to come close to an effective policy.

I had a surprise visit from Richard and Lisa Duckett on their way through to breakfast with Mary Counsell. Richard confirms that many other people have this problem of gum-tree blight. I am sure we are going to see more of it. A change in the climate is going to suit new pests (like the yellow cane aphid) and we are all going to have to be on the lookout. We also discussed the new craze of planting Brachiaria. My ‘bible’ Tropical says that it is mostly suited to a much higher rainfall than ours. I am planting a small trial plot in my seedbed site, but I think we are going to have to be VERY careful about how we spend money on our cattle. I think the strengthening of the Kwacha (from the K12.6/$ when I cashed in my barley income, to K10.4/$ – when I drew wages) is going to be temporary. Even if they bring back legislation to stop foreign currency bank accounts, it is not going to change the supply of dollars into this economy, so we can expect a further weakening. This will mean a lower beef price (in $ terms) and much less margin to spend on novel foods.

One final observation: My tobacco ridges are broad, fairly flat-topped with a narrow furrow between them. Piers Counsell’s are the opposite – a narrow /\ ridge followed by a broad furrow. His is a much better crop than mine, but I don’t for a minute believe it is because of the ridge shape. When the climate becomes less hospitable, this might be a detail worth looking at.




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