Paris Climate Change

Dear Zorba,

Evaporation 6 to 12 December 8, 8, 6-6, 7, 8, 5, 5-34 I don’t know if you are all aware of how lucky Choma/Kalomo/Zimba has been with rain (so far) but on Monday I drove to Lusaka and, from Pemba to Lusaka (and I am told north to Kabwe) they hadn’t had a planting rain.

I think I have discovered why one of my websites is not so good at predicting the weather! Meteoblue allows you to put in your co-ordinates – which I did for Siachitema abou 18 months ago, when I first learned about the site (from Derek Carle). Just this week I noticed that it was looking 2 degrees East of Choma, which is a long way away. So I tried to re-enter the co-ords (thinking I had originally made a typo) and now it insists on going 16 degrees NORTH! (No rain predicted there). So if you are using Metroblue please check that it is actually using your co-ordinates – and then let me know how you did it.

You are probably all aware that the world has agreed a Climate Deal in Paris. The best article I have seen on it is this one from The Guardian  The deal isn’t really worth the paper it is written on because, as this article points out, agreeing a 1.5 deg C limit is meaningless when there is already enough carbon in the atmosphere to take us closer to 3 degrees. Think of it like this: it has been a hot night so you go to sleep with no blanket over you, later, when it gets cold, you pull the blanket back, but you don’t get INSTANTLY hot, it takes time. The same thing with the Earth. We have spent the last 100 years pulling a carbon blanket over the Earth (and are STILL doing it), we have started to get warmer, but we have by no means reached the balance point for this thickness of blanket. Physics tells us that balance point (at 400ppm CO2) is somewhere 3 degrees warmer than now.

So, we ALL need to give SERIOUS thought to how we are going to reduce our carbon emissions, because the Activists are coming. Coal is the place to start, as it will have the biggest quickest impact.

On a different subject, I kept back some bulls last bulling season to introduce to the breeding herd after 2 months, when the other bulls may have been tired. There is a SLIGHT improvement in the calving rate to coincide with those fresh bulls, but certainly not enough to get excited about. I also wonder if we are using too many bulls. In multi-sire herds we are advised to keep 1 bull for every 25 cows, but I have been putting my new bulls in with the cows when they first arrive (so as to avoid dangerous fighting) and have been getting 60 calves from this one bull. Tina and Steve tell me they got 100 from one of their new bulls. With the collapsed price of beef (in $ terms) bulls may be one area where we can cut corners until the wheel comes around again, and we get better prices.





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