Dutch government takes aim at farmers over emissions

The biggest travesty of our current dialogue surrounding energy and environmental policy is the assumption by so-called environmentalists that there are zero benefits to the activities that ultimately generate emissions, whether it is generating electricity, providing fuel for cars, or farming the food that we put on our tables.

In other words, they never believe the emissions are “worth it.”

This mindset can only exist in the most sheltered and privileged enclaves of our society. As Minnesota hero Norman Borlaug said of his critics:

Throughout his years of research, Borlaug’s programs often faced opposition by nonscientists who consider genetic crossbreeding to be unnatural or to have negative effects. Borlaug’s work has been criticized for bringing large-scale monocultureinput-intensive farming techniques to countries that had previously relied on subsistence farming to support smaller populations.

Borlaug refuted or dismissed most claims of his critics, but did take certain concerns seriously. He stated that his work has been “a change in the right direction, but it has not transformed the world into a Utopia”.

Of environmental lobbyists opposing crop yield improvements, he stated, “some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

This brings us to the case of the Dutch, where the government policies aimed at reducing nitrogen emissions are causing 40,000 farmers to take to the streets in protest.

Calling it an “unavoidable transition,” the government mandated reductions in emissions of up to 70 percent in many places close to protected nature areas and as high as 95 percent in other places. 

An article in Science states:

Some scientists and environmental groups say the Netherlands should move to circular agriculture: Farms should only produce as much manure as they can use to fertilize nearby fields; cows should graze rather than be fed nitrogen-rich, imported soy; and pigs and poultry should eat food waste.

That would mean 50 percent fewer animals, says Natasja Oerlemans, head of agriculture for the World Wildlife Fund–Netherlands in Zeist. “We should use this crisis to transform agriculture,” she says, adding that it will require several decades and billions of euros to reduce the number of animals.

Prohibiting the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers would be an abject disaster, leading to dramatic declines in productivity. This means less food for people, and less feed available for animals.

This is not a “sustainable” policy, it is a recipe for food riots.

Sri Lanka tried to ween itself off of modern fertilizers, and now there are food shortages that have led to violence.

The so-called environmental groups who advocate for these policies will have blood on their hands when food shortages eventually arrive.