Food fight

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Paul Krugman Image via Wikipedia

Paul Krugman has caused quite a stir with his claims that the riots in Egypt are the result of:

global warming > causing bad weather > causing crop failure > causing increased food prices > causing riots.

It’s rather circular logic IMHO, and one that isn’t supportable by the data at hand.

First, there is a piece, Debunking Krugman: NYT’s “Soaring Food Prices – Blame the Weather”. The author, who is open to the possibility that global warming might be problem, shows that Krugman knows not of what he speaketh. As she says, “This is so far off base, Paul Krugman, I hardly know where to start.”

Andrew Bolt has a very good piece in which he reminds us that “food production is in fact at near-historic levels and the Egyptian regime actually keeps food prices pretty stable through massive subsidies.”

So food prices probably did not trigger the problems in Egypt. In fact, because of subsidies that keep bread prices constant at low levels, many poor folk are favorably inclined toward the current regime.

Also, on Pielke, Jr’s website, Richard Tol reminds us that IPCC reports tell us that for modest global warming (of the order of 1 to 3 degrees C, I believe) , global food prices may decline.  And this is despite the fact that, as shown at WUWT, negative Socioeconomic Impacts of Global Warming are Systematically Overestimated, while positive impacts are underestimated. (This is in two parts; Part II is here).

Pielke Jr. has this graph on his website to speak to the issue:

Note the spike in prices 1972-1976. The food crisis in the 1970’s wasn’t driven by weather either.

During that 70s food crisis, many of the same arguments were made that are being made today:

“We’re running out of food!  People in (enter random developing country name here) will starve!  There’s unrest in the third world!”

Remember this? From Wiki:

Erlich’s The Population Bomb was a best-selling book written by Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich (who was uncredited), in 1968.[1] It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. Fears of a “population explosion” were widespread in the 1950s and 60s, but the book and its charismatic author brought the idea to an even wider audience.[2] [3] The book has been criticized in recent decades for its alarmist tone and inaccurate predictions.

Well we all know how those predictions turned out.

Thanks to Indur Goklany, who contributed to this article.

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123 Responses to Food fight

  1. Claude Harvey says:

    Consider the possibility that food prices are escalating because we are burning food in our automobiles. Being unable to digest oil, myself, I have chosen to burn it to make the machinery go round-and-round. I recognize corn as precious food and avoid burning it in my car because I’ve heard half the world goes hungry each night. Call me old fashioned!

  2. HR says:

    Mubarak must be loving this. It’s nothing to do with his failing regime, it’s all down to climate change. It’s particularly annoying that complex social phenomenon such as protest and war are reduced to a simple correlation with climate metrics. For me these are the hardest pieces of ‘science’ to swallow. Every politician in the world must be loving this ‘get out of jail free card’ that takes responsibility for corruption and failure from them and piles it onto the weather. Climate scientists as excusniks for autocrats, that must be satisfying for their liberal consciences.

    BTW Antony one mans riot is another mans vigorous democratic protest.

  3. Mike Haseler says:

    I saw this news article, and whilst I usually tip of WUWT that about breaking news stories, I thought this one was just so outlandish that it didn’t merit inclusion on a serious blog like this.

    There was nothing more to this story than a presumption of connection, I know in climate “science” that’s enough to get you a (ig)Nobel prize but … well really even by their standards this argument held together like a wet paper bag.

  4. BillyV says:

    Some people believe firmly that in the process, their oracle statements make it so. Such arrogance manifests itself in such logic that Krugman I suspect really believes it himself. Very sad. We had food price riots in Mexico ultimately because of the effect of diversion of corn to ethanol instead of Tortillas. Look elsewhere for causes Paul.

  5. Espen says:

    There may in fact be a connection between “Global Warming” and high food prices, but not the way Paul Krugman thinks: The culprit is not the warming, but the scare, which has such undesirable political consequences as the biofuel lunacy, which in turn may be partly responsible for some of the soaring prices, at least for corn and palm oil.

  6. Edmh says:

    May be people will pay attention when rising Global Food prices escalate even further caused by GLOBAL COOLING as is only too likely in the coming decades.

    Then controlling CO2 will not be an answer, if it ever was.

  7. AGW is responsible for the world’s ills. Speaking from personal experience, I have noted that ever since AGW started I have gotten older every year. No point graphing it, it is a direct linear correlation with 100% confidence levels. I would suggest, if you check your records, you have probably been affected in the same way. Something must be done, and quickly, before it is too late!

  8. Manfred says:

    Even in todays western world, it is difficult to find similar extremist views.

    That puts Krugman and the New York Times into one league with folks from North Korea or worse.

  9. Steve C says:

    We have a phrase in English English for the Krugmans of this world. We call them “barking mad”. And if you want to stop food crises, action number one has to be preventing the gamblers of the international stock markets from playing their games with people’s nutrition – food is far too important to allow that sort of thing. Plus, maybe, a little more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and a little more warmth, to help the supply. ;-)

  10. Magnus says:

    Great. They gave the hobbit a nobel prize in economics. Now we have to endure this puppet yabbing in every news outlet about… global warming?

    I have no problem with people speaking on the topic, but Krugman is trying to promote himself as an AGW-economist by “making up” climate science to support his thinking. His comments on Egypt are, not only wrong, but they give us a shallow and very dumb, narrow look at a conflict which deserves much better.

  11. tango says:

    can some body tell him he has to contact his doctor and tell the doctor that I am not taking my medication for what reasons nobody knows he dose,t know also and nobody else . now that dose not make any sence and either dose he or any body else

  12. tmtisfree says:

    Economist Don Boudreaux on Paul Krugman’s paper:

    http://cafehayek.com/2011/02/hot-to-jump-to-conclusions.html

    It’s irresponsible for Krugman to ominously predict increasing “disruptions” based only on a recent food-price spike and a few instances of political unrest – especially given that the long-term trend is for extreme weather events to cause less and less human suffering.

  13. Roy says:

    Food riots among the dirt-poor look very different from plump middle class political uprisings organized using sophisticated telecoms and media relations.

  14. John Marshall says:

    Rising food prices are a factor! The riots last year were caused by the rising cost of bread. This is caused by the rising production of biofuels caused by alarmist policies of governments not climate change.
    Mubarak has been in power for 30 odd years. He is an autocratic President with the backing of the Egyptian Army and when he first came to power he was good for Egypt and his pragmatism brought peace to the region after his deal with Israel. This has helped Egypt to gain prosperity but they have not gained any freedom. It is this that has sparked the problems. The internet has also been instrumental in showing the Egyptians what lies outside their boundaries and what is possible when oppression is removed. Let us hope that the new government is western styled not fundamentalist.

  15. Alexander K says:

    Why do people such as Krugman put such odd information together then, by some magical process not available to mere mortals, read some causality into the mix?
    The next question, of course, is why such illogical conclusions actually get publicity… sorry, I forgot the general lack of reasoning in the MSM.

  16. R. de Haan says:

    Altough I underwrite all the arguments that destroy the insane claims from from Paul Krugman, I am missing the most important argument why food prices went sky high.
    Have a look at this graph here:
    http://climategate.nl/2011/02/04/niet-climate-change-maar-co2-beleid-oorzaak-islamitisch-oproer/fao-300×180-2/

    This graph shows that it wasn’t climate change that caused the price hikes but CO2 policies, the grand scale conversion from food crops into bio-fuels.

  17. robertvdl says:

    Webster Tarpley – Egypt – A Post Modern Coup

  18. arthur clapham says:

    I think the ever growing world population is a contributary factor, and far more
    damaging to the world than the myth of global warming. Governments should
    spend our taxes on population management sooner rather than later.

  19. R. de Haan says:

    The information at the FAO website clearly shows the moment we started to convert food crops into bio-fuels. Here is the site: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/

    The moment we stop the bio fuel scam, prices will drop to normal levels again.

  20. Mike McMillan says:

    A man of vision, Dr Krugman, able to see the Big Picture and make connections that ordinary men of lesser intelligence would find ludicrous. As would men of greater intelligence.

  21. arthur clapham says:
    February 8, 2011 at 2:22 am
    I think the ever growing world population is a contributary factor, and far more
    damaging to the world than the myth of global warming. Governments should
    spend our taxes on population management sooner rather than later.

    Not according to the facts and arguments set out in The Rational Optimist , a fantastic read that I highly recommend. I have not quite finished but he make a lot of sense.

  22. Nik Marshall-Blank says:

    Everything is caused by Global Warming.
    Except Global Warming, that’s caused by man.

    So why don’t the alarmists save the planet and find a skyscraper to jump off.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, what’s the deal with higher prices when the chart shows prices dropping?

    Easy, note that the chart says “prices deflated”…

    Governments all around the world are printing nice paper money by the superfreighter load (no, wait, that’s too small a metaphor…) in an attempt to keep all the bubbles from all the prior overprinting of money from imploding into a recessional black hole.

    This doesn’t work.

    So they print more money.

    The folks who get all these pretty pieces of paper try to turn them into something real with real value as quickly as they can. That’s why everything from sugar, cotton, and wheat to corn, soybeans, and coffee, to iron, copper, and coal, to oil and … you get the picture. Basically just about EVERY commodity is shooting up.

    This “puts the lie” to any explanation based on turning corn into fuel (why, then, is it also hitting copper and aluminum? Coal and sugar?) or based on weather (which does what to Uranium and Tin (also spiking like crazy)….

    The simple fact is that inflation starts with commodity inflation. It then takes a while to work into product inflation. Eventually, at the far end, it turns into wage inflation and real estate inflation. To quote Microsofts web site when researching a bug in their product “This behaviour is by design.” The Fed wants real estate inflation to cure the incipient deflation that everyone is scared bat-shit about. The Government wants a loverly load of inflation so they can inflate away the $14 Trillion and rising debt they have (and maybe even inflate away some pension obligations with poor Price Index inflators…).

    There is a trivial weather component, but that component is tied to COLD and WET and is not tied to HOT and DRY. Floods in Australia and snow in the USA Midwest are impacting wheat. (Russian wheat impacts were long gone. Ag commodities tend to run in seasonal cycles, not over multiple years… as inspection of the chart up top shows. There is a secular decline, but each spike runs about a year, sometimes two at most, then ends. NEVER overstay an ag commodity trade… it WILL return to the mean…)

    So the “food cost” problems in Egypt are simply the result of the prices in dollars rising due to the devaluing of the dollar (and the Egyptian pound) not any significant increase in Real Costs. But the problem is that poor folks don’t pay Real Costs, they pay present currency prices, and when the currency is being trashed, that is sucky.

    So what’s going on is pretty simple: “Helecopter Ben” is dumping dollars on the world as fast as he can to prop up housing prices, and those dollars are going into all sorts of things NOT houses…

    It will take a while for the world to figure this out, and longer for Mr. Ben to figure it out, and even longer for the Politicians to realise this was A Very Bad Idea (if ever… some folks, like Barney Franks, will never get it…)

    It’s about 1973 again (though we’ve got the moral equivalent of the S&L Resolution Trust already happening a bit early this time), and you need to start preparing for the “war costs” to come home to roost as an oil shock hits and just hope that there isn’t another “oil embargo” (though this time I’d expect it to be caused by something more subtile than an actual OPEC vote… say an Iranian Bomb or an EPA ruling…)

    Though this time we don’t need Tricky Dick to take us off the Gold Standard to print boatloads of currency; Old Ben is already at it.

    So give it about a decade to get inflation to the intollerable level, prop up housing prices (while letting real value drop) and repudiate the debt in real terms while paying every nominal dollar. Then we’ll be ready for 18% interest rates (again…) to put the inflation monster back in its cave…

    Until then: Buy “stuff”, things with real value to them. Buy assets in countries with a stable currency and low propensity to print money like crazy. Avoid countries with a Socialist Sovereign Risk Penalty (like, presently, Brazil, Venezuela, Greece, and The USA) and generally avoid US Bonds at all costs.

    Oh, and stock up on sugar, coffee, noodles, canned goods,…

  24. 1DandyTroll says:

    Only climate hippies seem to blame a somewhat peaceful revolution on climate rather than the more simple stuff like the common folks being feed up with getting subjected to torture by their own ant-democratic government and probably not wanting their country to be a torture hall of fame for hire by other countries (which apparently is rather bad for tourism.)

  25. AJB says:

    John Marshall says February 8, 2011 at 1:49 am …

    Youth unemployment (accentuated by global economic downturn) is probably the biggest factor. See:

    http://www.moneyweek.com/blog/merryn-somerset-webb-egypt-youth-unemployment-and-britain-00311.aspx

  26. Lewis Deane says:

    Anthony,

    Sorry if this is a bit long but it’s needs the telling.

    You might like to refer your readers to The Daily Reckoning by Bill Bonner – someone who knows what he’s talking about, being down in the trenches, rather than up in Academia, where, when it comes to economics, you can guarrantee, they’re always wrong – particularly this article:

    http://dailyreckoning.com/growth-or-hot-money-whats-really-affecting-food-prices/

    The take home, to coin a phrase, is similar to that which I wrote on Keith Kloors blog visa vie Romms rubbish on the same theme:

    This extraordinary ignorance of even the simplest economics is what is astounding. Worldwide food price inflation has nothing to do with enviromental causation, whether that be bad harvests, ‘global warming’ or, indeed, a rise in the production of ‘biofuels’! Neither now nor in 2007 (remember that far back?): in both cases, to put it simplistically, though with different complications, caused by the massively inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve (affectively negative interest rates, constant re-inflation of the Wall Street Bubble of a Thousand Holes by the printing of money – $1.2 trillion in the last year – constant deficit sclerosis etc etc), devaluing the worlds reserve currency (probably, over the last two decades, the biggest devaluation in world history), hence making commodies in general (not just food – all commodies!) rise in price for all other currencies. This, in combination with large speculative flows in anticipation of, and in conjunction with, capital flight from risky holdings – goverment bonds, sovereign debt, financial instruments etc – into the always safer bet of commodities – from gold through oil to potatoes – as well as the consequent competitive devaluation of all other currencies just to keep par – is the complete, if crudely put, explanation of these short to medium term fluctations. Not global warming, nor any corollary pressure on production – which, as usual, is becoming more and more productive (as Pielke Jnr shows) and is outstriping supply in accellerated fashion, as it has been doing for the past 100 years.

    If this was merely caused by ‘climate disruption of food production’ then how come food commodities verses other commodities have remained stable? If the former where the case, then food commodities would have inflated visa vie these other commodities.

    If crude material causation where the only spring of human history one would, with far more justice, put the North African revolts at the feet of the Federal Reserve! And, of course, the larger context of the historicle uneven developments of West verses East but that’s for another lecture!

    But cirtainly not climate change!

    To put it simply, if you print trillions of dollars, it must buy something – hence inflation. Gresham’s law. Krugman NYT article misleadingly cherry picked various worldwide agricultural yearly production figures- in fact, for instance, wheat production, one of the most staple of staple products, is up by some way – as if there was merely the producers, on the one side, and the ultimate consumers, on the other and no world market in between! Either he is totally ignorant of his alleged subject or I would not like to say? Noble prize, my a–!

  27. R. de Haan says:

    Here is the FAO site with all the graph’s that show when the food prices started to hike.
    They coincide with the bio fuel scam.
    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/

  28. Lewis Deane says:

    E.M.Smith, You seem to have written more or less similar to what I attempted to post but mine got swallowed by the aether, probably because it had a link and thus was spammed. Anyway, bravo! Krugman wouldn’t know economics if it hit him in the face. Simply put, if you print trillions of dollars they have to buy something – hence inflation. If there were a problem with food commodities why are they stable visa vie other commodities? Etc etc.

  29. Sera says:

    I’m not sure about Krugmans’ sanity, but I do know that 70% of the Egyptian populace works for the government.

    “So food prices probably did not trigger the problems in Egypt. In fact, because of subsidies that keep bread prices constant at low levels, many poor folk are favorably inclined toward the current regime.”

    Well, it just makes sense not to ‘annoy’ your employer.

  30. R. de Haan says:

    E. M. Smith’s argument of dollar decline also play’s a big role.

  31. Chris says:

    Population growth rate, and rate of growth of economic indicators cannot be sustained unless we manage to get off the planet and harvest the universe.

    1% growth rate does not sound high, but it means the population roughly doubles every 70 years. I.e. The number of people on the planet doubles roughly every generation if the growth rate is 1%.

    Now, it does not really matter what the actual growth rate is, but the point is that a constant rate of growth leads to exponential increase in number of people.

    At 1% our great grand children will share the planet with roughly 52 billion other souls. The great grand children with 448 billion!

    It is obvious that either the growth rate will need to reduce by some means, or more preferably, we will have to obtain resources including lebensraume from somewhere other than just this planet.

  32. P Wilson says:

    William Herscell made the connection between food prices, the price of grain, and sunspot numbers.

    Everyone thought he was mad, though he did observe that during high sunspot periods, the price of grain decreased. Yield was greater, but so was the quality.

    During low sunspot periods, yields and quality were lesser, driving up the price.

  33. John Brookes says:

    I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.

    Its not happening in Australia, the US or Europe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. To the poorest people in the world, a near doubling over 5 years in the cost of basic staples must be very hard indeed. Enough to stop you being happy with your government.

    Did AGW cause it? Well, it again stands to reason that we have farm where conditions have been suitable. If the climate changes rapidly, then our farms will be in the wrong place, and so yields will be down. Of course this applies whether the climate change is “natural” or man made. Either way, if it is changing, farmers have to keep on top of it.

    In the far south west of Australia, you pretty well always get enough rain to bring in a crop. If you own a farm down there, I suggest you don’t sell, because you’ll be making a lot of money for a long time.

  34. P Wilson says:

    typo: William Herschel

  35. LeClimatique says:

    Global warming is the culprit:

    (alleged) global warming > mandatory (EU) biofuels > food scarcity > increased food prices > riots.

    What happens there with food prices, could happen in the west with energy-bills:

    (alleged) global warming > mandatory expensive wind- and solar energy > subsidized by energy tax > increased energy bills > riots.

  36. guidoLaMoto says:

    Facts can be so troublesome when you’re trying to make a good point:
    If he cared to read the news a month ago when all this N. African stuff started, he’d know that the riots started in Algeria when food prices went up because the GOVT RAISED TAXES ON FOOD.

    Please note that the misguided corn-for-ethanol program only adds about $0.25/bu to the cost of corn (currently selling for ~$6.50/bu, up from $3.80/bu five months ago. Grain prices follow petroleum prices. Right now, about 1/3rd of the US corn crop goes to EtOH. If the ENTIRE crop were turned to fuel, it would only satisfy about 2% of the world’s yearly automotive fuel demand. To put that in perspective, we could save 10% just by keeping our tires properly inflated.

  37. John Law says:

    Murray Grainger says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:55 am
    “Speaking from personal experience, I have noted that ever since AGW started I have gotten older every year.”…………………….”Something must be done, and quickly, before it is too late!”
    Murray, A solution is at hand, but, was it Maurice Chevalier who, when asked if he liked growing old, replied that it was better than the alternative.

  38. Dave Springer says:

    Interesting. In normal post-normal times George W. Bush would get the blame. Has the left finally moved on?

  39. Curiousgeorge says:

    Personally, I am very upset about this. The price of Arugula has just skyrocketed, to say nothing of other essential foods such as shiitake mushrooms and truffles. I just don’t know what to do.

  40. Chris says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:29 am
    Population growth rate, and rate of growth of economic indicators cannot be sustained unless we manage to get off the planet and harvest the universe.

    At 1% our great grand children will share the planet with roughly 52 billion other souls. The great grand children with 448 billion!

    Current projections are for a peak population of 9.2billion around 2050 and we will never make 10 billion.

  41. Olen says:

    Or revolutionaries stirring up trouble to grab power for themselves.

  42. rbateman says:

    This stunt by Krugman isn’t the first time he’s been found butchering the role of expert.
    About 60 seconds of airtime is enough to make most viewers scramble for the remote to change the channel.

  43. kim says:

    People haven’t noticed much yet, but this bubble of expectation, politically and financially, for the ‘green re-making’ of our society has created the potential for a correction that will make the housing crisis look like small beer.
    ==============

  44. Dave Springer says:

    Actually Krugman is right about the cause but he got the chain of events wrong.

    Global warming -> good weather -> high corn, sugar, soy production -> foolish notion that food crops can be used as feedstock for transportation fuels without consequence -> subsidies to make fuel derived from corn/sugar/oil competitive with oil -> staple food prices skyrocket -> mass starvation

    Dopes like Krugman are soon going to learn the hard way that global warming is a good thing and that global cooling is the bad thing.

  45. Pull My Finger says:

    Mass starvation is not due to lack of available food, it is due to lack of responsible government. Starvation is quite literally a political problem. The percentage of people suffering malnutrition in the world has falled steadily, about half what it was in 1970. China, India, and even Bangladesh, to a lesser degree, have severely reduced their food problems by having more efficient and repsonsible government. Mass starvation is pretty much a sub-Saharan African and North Korean problem, and due almost entirely to corrupt governments. If people would get over their unreasonable aversion to genetically enhanced produce, the problem would be even further minimized. For some reason the lefties are hell bent to reverse every technological advance of the 20th Century while embracing the worst of the politics, Communisim and Fascism.

    John Brookes says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:36 am
    I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.

  46. Tom_R says:

    >> John Brookes says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:36 am
    I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger. <<

    The deaths by starvation are not due to overpopulation or food shortages, but by dictators blocking food distribution. Starvation is being used as a means of killing off of internal enemies when it's cheaper than other means (and also less likely to be recognized as genocide by UN bureaucrats). If the world population were half what it is today and food output doubled, those people would still be starving to death.

  47. AntonyIndia says:

    Krugman got a Nobel prize? Amazing.

    Which other disaster story can be connected to boost “Global Warming’s” falling stock? AGW’s links to: WMDs, giant meteor, hostile Aliens, Islamism, escaping (artificially created) superbugs, Armageddon………. ?

  48. Charles Higley says:

    He may not have it so wrong; just wrong point of view.

    Global Warming Scam > stupid desire to avoid using petroleum > idiotic funding for biofuels > food and crop land stupidly used to make biofuels > food prices rise > riots in Egypt in part due to food prices.

    Biofuels are evil. All should be cancelled.

  49. SteveE says:

    Lack of food caused by the weather was one of the factors causing the French Revolution so it’s not completely far fetched:

    From Wikipedia:

    “These problems were all compounded by a great scarcity of food in the 1780s. A series of crop failures caused a shortage of grain, consequently raising the price of bread. Because bread was the main source of nutrition for poor peasants, this led to starvation. The two years previous to the revolution (1788–89) saw meager harvests and harsh winters, possibly because of a strong El Niño cycle caused by the 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland”

  50. RonPE says:

    High food, energy and commodity prices in any country are caused by over-spending governments and inflation of money supplies by central banks(US Federal Reserve). The US Federal Reserve still claims there is not enough inflation.

  51. PRD says:

    @John Brookes:

    Is it the (or your) government’s responsibility to put the spoon full of food into your mouth?

    What caused food crises 300 yrs ago when 90% of the worlds population was employed in agricultural production?

    What caused food crises 100 yrs ago when ~40% of the worlds population was employed in agricultural production?

    If the price of food could be made absolutely free, keep in mind that the United States of America produces enough food for 6 billion people.

  52. ShrNfr says:

    Just wait till the great monkey riots because the recent storm wiped out the banana crop in Australia.

  53. paulID says:

    John Brookes says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.
    Ehrlich predicted that most of the worlds population would be starving. while yes 30,000 a day is terrible it is not even close to what Ehrlich predicted.

  54. Ed Reid says:

    “They’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran.
    What nature doesn’t do to us, will be done by our fellow man.”

    from The Merry Minuet, sung by The Kingston Trio

  55. Stefan says:

    Sorta trivialises the Egyptian peoples’ struggles with traditional power structures and modernity, doesn’t it?

    I suppose we should expect a green piece on how the Egyptian people’s protest should be quashed, lest they get what they want; higher living standards and a more consumption oriented lifestyle.

  56. theBuckWheat says:

    The laws of supply and demand in the free market make it impossible to run out of a commodity like corn. When governments commit to having a certain percent of ethanol in gasoline they have set up a framework where price is no object for buying the corn to fuel those refineries. When a market exists with a buyer who must take delivery of 1/3 of the entire corn crop, no matter what the price, of course the price rises. I might add that despite the fact that corn prices have more than doubled since the start of ethanol mandates and subsidies, politicians cannot bring themselves to suggest it is time these subsidies are cut or zeroed out.

  57. K2 says:

    The man who changed his mind – dug hard and deep and decided to say something.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/egypt/

    “I don’t know anything, have no expertise, haven’t even ever looked at the economic situation. Hence, no posting. If there comes a point when I have something to say, I will.”

  58. Mike says:

    AW wrote: ” global warming > causing bad weather > causing crop failure > causing increased food prices > causing riots.

    It’s rather circular logic IMHO, and one that isn’t supportable by the data at hand.”

    It is not a matter of opinion if the logic is circular. It is not. It is fair to question the strength of each causal claim, but it is a linear chain. I have no idea what “rather circular logic” is. A causal chain either has a closed loop in it or it does not.

  59. Urederra says:

    Well…

    The only way for the warmists to “forget” that they have used this argument is if the riots end up in the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime and the establishment of a democracy in Egypt. Then, since that will be perceived as a good thing, it cannot be possibly be due to global warming.

    Because there are zero chances for them to recognize that something good can come as a result of this illusion they call anthropogenic global warming.

  60. John Kehr says:

    I do not believe that Krugman has ever once in his career written an article with any value. It is possible, but I am not aware of any. If I am wrong in this I will apologize, but the article would have to have some actual intrinsic value.

    I dare someone to find something by him of value to prove me wrong.

  61. roger says:

    “….but, was it Maurice Chevalier who, when asked if he liked growing old, replied that it was better than the alternative.”

    He also sang “thank heaven for little girls” which went unremarked in the war weary yet naive and optimistic 1950’s.
    Don’t think it would see the light of day in the vituperatively politically correct 21st century where paedophiles are feared to lurk around every corner.
    In so many little ways, the joy of living and the gaiety of words is throttled in our left wing education system.

  62. Mike says:

    “global warming > causing bad weather > causing crop failure > causing increased food prices > causing riots” ???

    On the implications: The first is supported but some evidence, but is not certain. Also no one I have seen has attempted to quantify it. Was the Russian wave 20% worse because of AGW or 70% worse or 30% more likely? However, the number of extreme events has been high, at it is plausible that we are seeing the impact of AGW although we likely won’t be confident of this in the statistical sense for quit a few years.

    The second implication seems sound. The next is also sound, but there are other factors driving up basic food prices. These include increased demand from China and India, higher oil prices (not unrelated to the first), and increased use of biofuels (not unrelated to the second).

    Finally, did this play a role in causing the riots? Many things caused the riots. While governments in the region cushion food prices they do so at a cost and part of that cost is the economic stagnation with high unemployment.

    It is hard to quantify much of this. It is a judgement call if the strength of the implications is significant.

    How to take Krugman’s piece? Obviously he has an agenda. He thinks AGW is real and we ignore it at our peril. Suppose Krugman was the fire marshal of a small town. He has been reading how, in theory, aging electrical systems can cause house fires. He knows that in his town there is a larger than average portion of the housing stock that is old. Then it happens. In one month there are three electrical fires in older homes. As fire marshal Krugman would be justified in issuing public notices urging people in older homes to get their electric wiring inspected because he thinks we may be seeing an increase in house fires because of old wiring just as experts have warned. He would not be justified in publishing a paper in the peer reviewed Fire Science Journal claiming that events in his town prove the concerns raised by the experts are correct.

    If you see Krugman as playing fire marshal, then his column is reasonable – though there is plenty of room for debate. If you see him as playing scientist, then it is not.

  63. Hal says:

    Paul Krugman, the narcissistic ferret, who masquerades as an Economist.
    Democratic Pollster Patrick Caddell summed up Krugman perfectly a couple of weeks ago on late-night TV. He called Krugman a “complete ass-hole” and the most despicable person he knew.

  64. Craig Moore says:

    Such nonsense is Steig-ering.

    The argument is based on the logic fallacy “appeal to authority,” his own!

  65. Douglas DC says:

    I have said we”Are foolishly converting food to fuel!” over the years, but what do I know I’m just the son and grandson of old Eastern Oregon and Western Kansas Ranchers and Farmers. Back in the 1930’s the farmers were paid to destroy milk and meat. with people starving in the streets. My Paternal Grandfather , working the La Grande rail yard for Union Pacific, who told this story:’ There would be carloads of ” Condemned Meat” Bacon, Ham , whole sides of beef, in Reefer (refrigerator) cars.” This made Granpa so angry he’d leave some of those cars unlocked so the Men riding the rails could help themselves to a little high protein. This was a classic example of misguided Government Policy. Just as this Ethanol program is..

  66. Taphonomic says:

    Obama’s chief science adviser is John Holdren, a cohort and co-author with Paul Ehrlich in the 1960s. Their miscalculations on the effects of overpopulation are legendary. It always amazes me that people like them (and Krugman) who get so much wrong and never really produce anything of value could be given so much acclaim.

    Re John Brookes who wondered “Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.” Yes, people die each day from hunger. This is not from lack of sufficient food in the world. It is from the food not being where it is needed due lack of transportation, wars and poor planning interrupting distribution, etc. In the 1960s Ehrlich predicted that in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in spite of any crash programs.

    He and Holdren were gloriously wrong.

    God bless Norman Borlaug, who actually did things rather than pontificate incorrectly about them and who actually deserved his Nobel.

  67. James Sexton says:

    Claude Harvey says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Consider the possibility that food prices are escalating because we are burning food in our automobiles. Being unable to digest oil, myself, I have chosen to burn it to make the machinery go round-and-round. I recognize corn as precious food and avoid burning it in my car because I’ve heard half the world goes hungry each night. Call me old fashioned!
    =======================================================

    First one out and we have a winner!!!! Our food production is increasing, but because of this ludicrous ethanol scheme, demand is out running production. Go here to see production increases in the U.S. http://www.nass.usda.gov/Newsroom/2010/01_12_2010.asp then go here, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/2010baseline.htm for some eye popping data about our corn use and how many billions of bushels go towards ethanol production.(scroll down past half-way mark of the page) then, to finish, go here http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/feedgrains/Table.asp?t=01 . It is plainly obvious that our yields per acre have increased significantly, also, the planted acres of corn has increased at the expense of other food stuffs. But, we’re not using the corn for food, we’re using it to fuel our vehicles. Also, we can plainly see the pricing for foods have significantly increased since our adoption of our ethanol policies. Climate change isn’t causing a price rise in foods, fear of climate change is causing an increase in food pricing. Sorry, but Pielke Jr.’s graph is dated. For those that may whine about the table not showing all of the food stuffs, there is a reason for that but would beleaguer the point to go to a lengthy explanation, but feel free to check soybeans also. It seems the meat substitute is almost as expensive as a nice slab of beef. Anyone that thought using our food as gasoline to be a good idea either needs their head examined or their heart. We should stop it and stop it now.

    Now, did this cause the unrest in Egypt? No.

  68. Gail Combs says:

    Here is the cause of the food riots – POLITICS!
    #1. 1995 VP of Cargill Dan Amstutz writes World Trade Organization Agreement on Ag. It got rid of tariffs and opened borders.

    #2. Amstutz writes 1996 farm bill called Freedom to Farm (Freedom to Fail Act) that over produces very cheap grain. The law also change US grain reserve policy.

    #3. Amstutz goes to work for Goldman Sachs.

    #4. Gramm, head of the CFTC, helped firms such as Goldman Sachs gain influence over the commodity markets. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly. Wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent.

    “Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.” Through the 1990s, Goldman Sachs and others lobbied hard and the regulations [controlling agricultural futures contracts] were abolished. Suddenly, these contracts were turned into “derivatives” that could be bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture. A market in “food speculation” was born. The speculators drove the price through the roof.” http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-goldman-gambled-on-starvation-2016088.html

    #5. In 2008 Monsanto and Cargill report record breaking profits. USDA reports “The cupboard is bare” we have no more grain reserves.

    In 2010 : Fmr. President Clinton Apologizes for Trade Policies that Destroyed Haitian Rice Farming – “We Made a Devil’s Bargain”

    “President Bill Clinton, now the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, publicly apologized last month for forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported, subsidized US rice during his time in office. The policy wiped out Haitian rice farming and seriously damaged Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient.” http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/1/clinton_rice

    Sure looks like politics had a lot more to do with food prices.

  69. Steve says:

    Well, that is an interesting hypothesis. The rise of Islam, subjugating southern and eastern Christendom does sort of correspond to the beginning of the Medieval Climatic Optimum.

  70. Taphonomic says: It always amazes me that people like them (and Krugman) who get so much wrong and never really produce anything of value could be given so much acclaim.

    It is infuriating but we must always remember that those who shill this drek are not in the business of informing. They are sellers of advertising. Their essentail motivation is to gain attention. Our outrage is a byproduct of what we WISH the media was.

  71. Steve says:

    Human food is not being converted to fuel. In the heart of the region, 6% of -feed- corn is being converted to ethanol. This is EXCESS production that federal farm policies essentially force into being.

    Human food production in the US has been reduced by the Federal government breaking contract with the Klamath Valley farmers and farmers in California’s Central Valley, turning those regions into deserts. THAT is where vegetables are grown. The -rice- that these starving regions of the world are relying on is grown in places like Indonesia and Australia. You might want to look at their weather and policies.

    But what do I know? I grew up on an upper midwestern corn and soybeans farm. My father not only farmed, but provided technical and financial consultation for around 110 other farmers. Both he and my grandfather have bachelor’s of science from Iowa State, back when BSs meant something. There were I believe 20 in Iowa State’s graduating Ag class my grandfather was in, and he taught ag to college students in the G.I. Bill program. My information on this is reliable. I also live in wind farm country and am often infuriated with the ignorance demonstrated here about wind power (and by the ignorance of the more fanatical of its proponents as well. It has its place. It doesn’t wipe out birds, the wind nearly always blows sufficiently at the altitude and geographical location of these turbines)

  72. James Sexton says:

    Steve says:
    February 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Human food is not being converted to fuel. In the heart of the region, 6% of -feed- corn is being converted to ethanol.
    ========================================================

    Sigh,….said the son of a corn farmer. Look at the information in the links I posted and get back to me. Its interesting. I listened to the same spiel from a corn farmer here in Kansas and even quoted me a study from Iowa University. The information made available from the USDA directly refutes the assertions.

    Later you said, “I also live in wind farm country and am often infuriated with the ignorance demonstrated here about wind power (and by the ignorance of the more fanatical of its proponents as well. It has its place. It doesn’t wipe out birds, the wind nearly always blows sufficiently at the altitude and geographical location of these turbines)”

    I’m also flabbergasted by the ignorance demonstrated here. Nearly always isn’t good enough. Recently, many across this country experienced a blizzard combined with sub-zero F temperatures. I was snowed in for two days. Had we been as reliant on wind as much of this country wishes us to be, many would have died. Fortunately, we’re not. Texas had to resort to rolling blackouts because of their reliance on wind. “Nearly always” should replace “reliable” for a greater cost?……..keep telling yourself that as you guys bank your lease checks.

  73. huh says:

    Message to citizens: please ignore the money printing. The inflation exported worldwide by the US is not relevant to rising food prices.

    “The public must therefore rely on the diligent reporting, clear thinking, and lucid writing of reporters determined to go beyond dueling bumper stickers and sound bites to help people understand what they need to make good decisions, both in their personal finances and at the polls. These are weighty responsibilities, and the journalists I know take them very seriously.”

    – Ben Bernanke, speech to his propaganda team, Feb 3, 2011

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/bernanke20110203a.htm

    (Oh, I can’t wait for the day the Chinese call Bernanke’s bluff and stop trying to peg to the dollar)

  74. eadler says:

    Anthony Said,

    Paul Krugman has caused quite a stir with his claims that the riots in Egypt are the result of:

    global warming > causing bad weather > causing crop failure > causing increased food prices > causing riots.

    Once again this straw man argument is repeated. Krugman never said that crop failures were caused by global warming. You are twisting what he said to make a straw man argument you can refute.

    What he said was that the sort of extreme weather event crop failure responsible for the food price spike we are seeing now, will become more frequent in the future as a result of global warming. His argument is based on a frequency distribution.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/gradual-trends-and-extreme-events/

    What happens is that the right tail gets fatter: the probability, and hence the frequency, of extreme events goes up.

    Also, Krugman is not inventing the story that the price of food is a problem for Egypts poor. This is not a new story. There was a previous food price spike which worried Mubarak in 2008, and protests against the price of food last October:

    http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/news/protest-against-soaring-food-prices-erupts-ministers-council

    “The protest is a reaction to the ridiculous jump in prices recently,” Qandil told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

    Mohamed Awad, coordinator of the Popular Free Front, accused Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif of distancing himself from the problems of the poor.

    “The PM has remained in hiding since the price hikes began,” said Awad. “And we haven’t seen any attempt by the government to rein in the unjustifiable increases in food prices.”

    And prices of food in Egypt have been rising. All bread in Egypt is not subsidized. The subsidy system is not 100% effective.

    http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/01/31/bread-is-life-food-and-protest-in-egypt/

    Posted by Krista Mahr Monday, January 31, 2011 at 6:33 am

    In the last few days, soaring food prices have been cited as one of the proverbial straws that led Egyptians to take to the streets in frustration over Murbarak’s 30-year rule. It wouldn’t be the first time that food has been a catalyst for social upheaval in the northern African nation.

    ….

    It’s impossible to say what exactly the next few days will bring in Egypt, both for the protestors and for the government. It seems clear that the days of the administration of President Hosni Murbarak — at least in its present incarnation — are numbered, and tens of thousands of demonstrators on the streets of Egypt’s cities will very likely remain there until some epochal shift has come to pass.

    Whoever ends up seeing the nation through to its next phase would do well to keep bread high on their list of priorities.

    In the last few days, soaring food prices have been cited as one of the proverbial straws that led Egyptians to take to the streets in frustration over Murbarak’s 30-year rule. It wouldn’t be the first time that food has been a catalyst for social upheaval in the northern African nation. In 1977, what came to be known as the Egyptian Bread Riots broke out after the state ended its subsidies of basic food staples. Hundreds of thousands of poor Egyptians took to the streets; scores were killed and hundreds were injured. Thirty years later in 2007 and 2008, as food prices soared and food riots swept cities across the globe, panic over a disruption in the supply chain of flour and bread in Egypt again unfolded into deadly protests.

    This year, food prices are also reaching worrying highs. Global wheat prices are at an all-time high, and other grains and meat prices were up over 20% by the end of 2010. Though some 40% of Egypt’s 80 million residents live in poverty, high food prices don’t have the same impact in Egypt that they might have in other vulnerable countries. The nation has a huge subsidy program that, when its working right, helps protect its poorest citizens from inflated food prices. Two years ago, when food prices were soaring and riots broke out, there technically was no food shortage, but the high prices of commodities – and bad management of the private and government supply chain – led to disruptions in the supply of subsidized grain, so many couldn’t afford to eat…..

    Finally, it should be made clear that the general decline in wheat prices over the long term, in the Pielke’s graph is not because of better weather, but because of more mechanization, fertilizer, pesticides and better seeds over the past 60 years.

    REPLY: Yeah, sure, whatever. The whole AGW meme these days is about this linkage to “extreme weather” since they haven’t found the warming they predicted, they’ve moved on to something they can point to and blame. Sorry, not buying your argument. The simple fact is that there is no increasing trend in extreme weather. It isn’t there for hurricanes, isn’t there for tornadoes, isn’t there for floods. There is however a trend in increased news reporting over the last 30 years, seeing and wailing about more things than ever before. So there’s a reporting trend, but not an event trend. But that’s inconvenient to your argument and to Krugman’s.

    And yet you think you aren’t trying to dominate threads here? pfth.

    And from his article, this is why Krugman deserves a good smack down (besides the fact that he’s wrong):

    “The point is that the usual casual denier arguments — it’s cold outside; you can’t prove that climate change did it — miss the point. What you’re looking for is a pattern. And that pattern is obvious.”

    The only pattern that’s obvious is one of hatred, with the matter of fact use of the term “denier” now seeping in to the MSM.

    a week ago, Krugman said he knew nothing about Egypt. Now he’s an expert?

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/krugman_on_e.png

    – Anthony

  75. BillyV says:

    “guidoLaMoto says:
    @ February 8, 2011 at 4:53 am”

    “Please note that the misguided corn-for-ethanol program only adds about $0.25/bu to the cost of corn (currently selling for ~$6.50/bu, up from $3.80/bu five months ago. Grain prices follow petroleum prices. Right now, about 1/3rd of the US corn crop goes to EtOH.”

    Can you imagine what would happen to the commodity price of corn if this- 1/3 of the US corn crop- (or any item) where it is basically subsidized or mandated by government action, is eliminated and dumped into the existing marketplace for food not only for humans, but livestock? The “only $0.25″ quoted is simply wishful thinking and an attempt at outrageous spin by those affected.
    Misguided: correct, $0.25: fiction, Get real.

  76. Manfred says:

    R. de Haan says:
    February 8, 2011 at 2:09 am
    “This graph shows that it wasn’t climate change that caused the price hikes but CO2 policies, the grand scale conversion from food crops into bio-fuels.”

    Ron, this is an accidental correlation. as both are strongly correlated with the price of oil.

    The asset price bubble is in itself mostly a consequence of monetary easing, starting under Clinton/Greenspan (Clintonomics), when the policy started to solve every crisis and non-crisis by massively increasing money supply.

    Remember ? NINJA credits, Mexico crisis, Asia crisis, Long-Term Capital Hedge fund crisis, Year 2000 pseudo crisis, Nasdaq bubble, housing bubble, and now the everything bubble.

    Promotor of all this: KRUGMAN.

    He is playing in one league with guys from North Korea, Venezuela or Iran.

  77. eadler says:

    I am puzzled by Kalpa’s blog, linked by Anthony, claiming that there is no wheat price problem in Egypt caused by weather.

    [snip - then be puzzled and comment at her blog, but don't waste our time here with arguments about her blog - Anthony]

  78. Chris says:

    Getting back to population growth. There is a lot of new info that apparently has not reached the masses (notably because it is good news, so the MSM does not report it):

    – Population will peak shortly after 2050 to around 9 billion. It will drop rapidly thereafter. By 2100, population will drop to about 7 billion, roughly where it is today.
    – 20 years from now, there will be 100 million LESS people than today in the 18-29 age group in China. In 10 years, the number of working age people in China will start dropping. This is why labor rates are increasing in China and/or workers demanding more pay at factories (recently in the news).
    – The only countries of significance that have high birth rates (greater than 2 kids) are India, Indonesia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, etc., but even their birthrates are dropping due to urbanization and higher standards of living.

    In short, population is NO longer a problem. Providing energy for a growing global middle class is a problem. The solution to decreasing birth rates is to increase the size of the middle class, which requires energy, so by producing more CO2 (via energy production) actually helps the planet, not make it worse.

  79. Anthony Watts says:

    Here you go eadler, I call bullshit on your comment, Krugman wrote:

    “And it’s not just the FSU: extreme weather elsewhere, which again is the sort of thing you should expect from climate change, has played a role in bad harvest around the world.”

    He’s clearly trying to link severe weather to global warming aka climate change and then link it to the riots.

  80. RHG says:

    Inflation in commodity prices consequent upon QE (Krugman approves of QE) as commodities are still traded largely in dollars (just)…reserve currency and all that.

    Global inflation as a result of financial policy to avoid debt deflation not global warming/climate change/climate disruption is at play here.

  81. P Walker says:

    Apparently the AT article is no longer available – sorry , it was pretty amusing .

  82. Mike D. says:

    Many commenters have correctly stated that food prices are a result of supply and demand, often subject to market manipulations in the many areas of the world where free markets are constrained by politics.

    Another factor to consider is that food demand is inelastic; that is, there is a ceiling. If food prices dropped suddenly, a well-fed person would not automatically buy more. You can only eat so much food. That is not necessarily true of many other commodities where consumption has little or no ceiling other than price.

    Excess food production generally goes to waste. Recently we have seen the conversion of corn to ethanol, but that has not diminished the food supply because it is excess corn. Similarly, the use of corn as animal feed has not diminished the supply of human-edible corn. Farm production responds to demand, and is limited by the food ceiling. If other uses (besides direct eating) of food crops arise, increased production results, but not the diminished production of edible food.

    Over-production of food is a chronic problem in the modern farm sector. Our farm subsidies are often payments-in-kind for NOT growing food — designed to keep food prices from dropping too much and bankrupting farmers.

    Market manipulations are a common practice. They are generally designed to concentrate food production in the hands of a few. It’s a monopoly strategy. Egyptians and others who face rising food costs are victims of monopolists and other food supply manipulators, not a collapse in farm productivity. Worldwide, farm production is constrained by demand, not by essential agricultural productivity. We are nowhere near the upper limit of farmers to produce food.

  83. bikermailman says:

    Wrong wrong wrong…the problems in Egypt are financial in origin. It all started with a Pyramid Scheme!

    (apologies for the joke regarding a serious matter)

  84. racookpe1978 says:

    Please let me continue your observation above: I hope others will contribute as well.

    “Fresh Food” (fruit and vegetables most certainly) has almost what would be an inverse inflation-quality-quantity price relationship during their short shelf lives.

    When the quantity is highest, the store managers can (and do!) “select out” the poor quality fruit (spoiled, off-color, slightly squished or bruised) and keep those in the back out of sight. The reslulting “batch” out in the supermarket floor in the display boxes then has the best quality displayed and the “maximum quantity that can fit in the aisle” for the next few days. (As the displayed items are bought, more are brought out from storage, but the amount of boxes displayed doesn’t vary: the boxes are joust reloaded. After a few days/weeks, the reserve in the back goes away, and the store managers have to stop +pre-selecting” the good ones. A few more days, and they have to display the poor fruit and keep the blemished and handled fruit out in the display boxes.

    Quality (because quantity of the fruit has also gone down) goes down, but there are no replacements available, and the customers “have to” be “just happy to get anything at all” and prices goes up.

    Harvests of non-perishable foods are a bit different – more subject to the government and mega-business monopolies in the shipping, storage, initial consumption (first level processing like mills and mega-bakeries and cookie makers and noodle factories) you mentioned.

    Take grains for example: Harvesters MUST follow the crops. They MUST get the wheat/rye/rice/barley/corn/sorghum/ etc as the climate dictates. No choice, no delays, no waiting. “You snooze, you loose the whole harvest for that year.”

    So there is an immediate, drastic overload of supply at each region as the harvests come in, but no respite for the farmer or harvester: they cannot “wait a few months” (for prices to go back up)”. Once in the silos, the grain can wait “safely” in the advanced western world where rats and spoilage and loss is significantly less than in “open piles” in poorer regions WHERE the CAGW alarmists don’t WANT cheap concrete, enough energy to process the harvested foods, ship them, load them, store them, chemicals to preserve them, isolate them, disinfect them, spray against insects, etc.

    But that same mass storage isolates the first-level food consumer (mass bakeries or huge factories making soup, noodles, mac-and-cheese, flour, etc.) from the demand cycle.

    Now, the huge factory consumers are large enough that THEY control when THEY buy and a national transportation network lets THEM decide where and who they buy from. So, in that way, they control prices paid out. Once the silo’ed harvest is in the silo, the ultimate price that the final consumer pays is separated from what the farmer gets by the mass-production costs and storage systems AND savings! of the big producers.

    Small, non-mass-production systems – supposedly like Egypt?

  85. James Sexton says:

    Mike D. says:
    February 8, 2011 at 11:38 am

    “Excess food production generally goes to waste. Recently we have seen the conversion of corn to ethanol, but that has not diminished the food supply because it is excess corn. Similarly, the use of corn as animal feed has not diminished the supply of human-edible corn. Farm production responds to demand, and is limited by the food ceiling. If other uses (besides direct eating) of food crops arise, increased production results, but not the diminished production of edible food.”
    =======================================================
    Mike, you’re repeating the same as many others. It isn’t true. Please refer to the links I provided in my post above. Please note the increase of corn production vs the increase of corn used in ethanol. Also note the increase prices of cattle feed from corn. From 2003/04 we’ve increased corn production by over 2 billion bushels, however, corn used in ethanol has increased by 5 billion bushels. We’re using excess food? What, did people quit eating? Has the world’s population diminished since 2003/04? Further, as one of my links clearly shows in deference to corn, alternative crops have diminished production. Sorghum, barley and oats have decreased by hundreds of millions of bushels…….now are we still selling excess for ethanol?

    From the USDA, “Higher grain prices and reduced demand push cattle inventories down through the start of 2011 and result in U.S. beef production declines in 2009-12…….”

    “Pork production in 2010 is expected to be down 2.7 percent from 2009 and to continue to decrease through 2011 in response to high feed prices.”

    So, let’s recap, demand for corn has increased causing price jumps. Corn used for ethanol has out paced corn production by 3 billion bushels in the last few years. Other commodities, while yield per acreage has increased, total volume produced has decreased, furthering a decrease in food availability. Also, the pricing in corn has made it more expensive to raise cattle and hogs. Which also further decreases the total food availability. The world isn’t suffering from too much crop production.

    It may be that my perspective is formed by events of my youth. It was required, in my father’s house, to eat everything that made it onto one’s plate. As a child, during supper, when confronted with a food I wasn’t particularly fond of, it would be typical of me to pick at my food and procrastinate my eventual eating. This action would provoke an admonishment from my father. It would always be the same. “Don’t play with your food.” This has stayed with me through adulthood and beyond his time on earth and for some reason, this discussion conjures this memory and admonishment. Don’t play with your food.

  86. Jeff says:

    rising CO2 causes aging with 100% correlation … the end is near …

  87. P Walker says:

    bikermailman ,
    Thanks . Don’t know what happened – when I checked the link I got the Oops page . Same URL too .

  88. JPeden says:

    eadler says:
    February 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Once again this straw man argument is repeated. Krugman never said that crop failures were caused by global warming. You are twisting what he said to make a straw man argument you can refute.

    Then why is Krugman even mentioning “food prices” at all in the context of “climate change”, “extreme weather events”, and climate change “warming”, which moves his whole probability distribution “to the right”?

    Without “food prices” mixed in, Krugman’s little lecture on the “obvious” – as he admits it is – is not worth writing about, and he knows it!

    So that, instead, eadler, the case against Krugman, et al., is much worse: the real “cash value” of Krugman’s article is to once again promote the “we don’t need no stinking facts” propaganda meme that Krugman, Obama, Holder, Napolitano, etc., have been reiterating now for quite a while, in order to suggest and even teach that people everywhere don’t need to be able prove what the “annointed ones” with their multiple unhinged propaganda memes have been telling them: everyone is encouraged to “just know” what the “truth” is beyond what is contained in an article or an event, including weather events!

    No thanks, eadler, you and your fellow cultists can have this dead-ender “perception is reality” PNS delusionalism. Still, for whatever it’s worth to you, according to a rational scale Totalitarianism is not really progressive.

  89. Richard M says:

    Why is it the same people keep posting the same mis-information about ethanol.

    EM Smith provided the real reasons we are seeing higher prices. In fact, if you go back several months he made a post informing everyone this was going to happen and even giving some good buys.

    When will people finally understand that ethanol production produces a significant amount of “food” after the oil is removed. It can be used to replace what previously would have been corn-based anyway. A good example is chicken food and distillers grain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distillers_grains

    Most corn production has always ended up as livestock feed. Removing a little oil before using the grain for the same purpose has only a small impact on prices.

    Yeah, I know, this has already been posted here many times before and it will be ignored this time too.

  90. eadler says:

    Anthony says,

    First, there is a piece, Debunking Krugman: NYT’s “Soaring Food Prices – Blame the Weather”. The author, who is open to the possibility that global warming might be problem, shows that Krugman knows not of what he speaketh. As she says, ”This is so far off base, Paul Krugman, I hardly know where to start.”

    Krugman is not at all off base.

    Wheat prices increased 50% during 2010.
    http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=wheat&months=12

    In fact, food has been a source of protest in Egypt. Only the neediest receive subsidized bread and it is in short supply.
    http://www.xe.com/news/2010-10-22%2012:12:00.0/1476293.htm

    Egypt and other Middle East countries are stockpiling food because of the expectation of shortages.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/8288934/Why-Egypts-government-is-stockpiling-food.html

    …The latest unrest in Egypt is blamed in part on rising wheat prices, which have squeezed poor Egyptian households. Forty per cent of Egypt’s population survives on less than $2 a day.

    In October, the government announced additional spending of £400 million to bolster reserves and keep a lid on prices as the Egyptian pound weakened, making food imports more expensive.

    Earlier this month, government buyers announced they had bought 175,000 tonnes of wheat from the US and Australia, providing further insulation against public anger.

    That leaves the country with about six months’ supply.

    That has not been enough, though, to prevent three people setting themselves on fire and thousands protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s government. High food prices are among their grievances.

    This price rise was sparked by drought in Russia, which totally stopped exporting wheat.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2010/0806/Russian-drought-When-wheat-withers-the-world-squirms

    Krugman didn’t make all this up.

  91. Mike M says:

    In 1961 an 18oz box of corn flakes cost 27 CENTS! Now it costs about $3.00 which is consistent with about 5% inflation over 50 years.

    The chart in the following link seems to disagree with the above food price chart,
    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/background.htm

    Perhaps the inflation adjustment is just different? I’ve heard of indexing prices using the CPI but what heck is a “BEA Annual Implicit GDP Deflator”, (I think that was the varmint that scurried across the road one night last summer and I accidentally ran it over.)

    At any rate that link also shows, ( or http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/Gallery/Background/CornUse.jpg ), the diversion of corn to ethanol production which most certainly puts pressure on all food prices. I heard that, thanks to ethanol, the USA now no longer has ANY significant grain reserve! If a major drought occurs the third world is going to starve and Al Gore is to blame.

  92. RHG says:

    Money has not vanished due to financial tricks such as QE and rock bottom (in the States real negative) interest rates. A dollar carry trade has emerged as the debt has been migrated onto the national balance sheet. Returns are so miserable plus uncertainty have caused a flight into commodities including grain. The last shop to close is always the food store.

    Debt deflation has been staved off and inflation is the tax on cash balances by reducing the real value of debt.

    This inflation (consequent upon policies Krugman espouses) is the direct cause of food price inflation in traded staples. The world food supply is not one of shortage. In fact the opposite. The Third World is importing this inflation and the poor, whom Krugman weeps crocodile tears for, are being directly and horribly effected.

    Global warming has nada to do with it, nor have weather events to date.

  93. JEM1 says:

    I wouldn’t discount the conversion of crops to biofuels – it has taken a substantial amount of corn out of the food stock – Mexico can tell you all about it. And annual production numbers of corn demonstrate a significant loss due to ethanol. But as a number of the posters have ably noted, the more substantial issue is inflation due to grossly devalued currency, significantly in the US, but not exclusively so. Be thankful there is a glut of oil, that China has raised interest rates twice in about a month, and the US recovery is very shakey. This has quelled demand. And buffered the prices in oil.

  94. Oliver Ramsay says:

    James Sexton said:
    “This has stayed with me through adulthood and beyond his time on earth and for some reason, this discussion conjures this memory and admonishment. Don’t play with your food.”
    —————————-
    I was similarly cautioned as a child, but a natural contumacy led me to disdain the advice.
    I don’t quite understand the vehemence against grain for ethanol. Why aren’t we upset at tobacco farmers tying up the land with a product we don’t approve of? Or ginseng fields? Asparagus is a luxury. Veal, too, as we’ve often been reminded.
    Tulip fields in the Netherlands have already proved their pernicious character.
    Now, if you want to talk subsidies….

  95. James Sexton says:

    Richard M says:
    February 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Why is it the same people keep posting the same mis-information about ethanol. ….A good example is chicken food and distillers grain.
    ========================================================
    Sigh, I don’t know, but I’ll keep posting until people understand that it is costing us dearly………”Distillers’ grains, a coproduct of dry-mill ethanol production, can be used in livestock rations, partially substituting for corn and sometimes for soybean meal. However, distillers’ grains can more easily be used by ruminants (such as cattle) than by monogastric animals (such as hogs and chickens).

    Please read the link I provided. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn/2010baseline.htm

    You see, by removing the “oil” you are significantly altering the feed and its value.
    More from the link I provided…..”Corn used for producing fuel alcohol (i.e., ethanol) has grown sharply since the early 1980s. Production of corn-based ethanol has grown from less than 3 billion gallons in 2003 to nearly 11 billion gallons in 2009. As a result, fuel alcohol has become the largest component of the food, seed, and industrial (FSI) use category.”….. more…..“Ethanol wet mills produce corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, and corn oil as coproducts, while dry mills produce distillers’ dried grains (DDG). The projections assume that each 56-pound bushel of corn that goes into dry-mill ethanol production results in 17.5 pounds of DDG as a coproduct.”<——— That's over a 2/3 loss…….more…..“Pork production in 2010 is expected to be down 2.7 percent from 2009 and to continue to decrease through 2011 in response to high feed prices.

    From an earlier post, “Corn used for ethanol has out paced increase of corn production by 3 billion bushels since 2003/04.”

    Look here at how ethanol is altering land use.

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/SoybeansOilcrops/Gallery/AreaCWS.gif and http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/feedgrains/Table.asp?t=01

    Naw, no way in heck that’s effecting availability of food and pricing it beyond people’s ability to buy food.

  96. Steve says:

    James Sexton, I’m not flabbergasted at your ignorance. I’m all to familiar with the approach. It is like climate science – reject the ground truth and believe the models. That is what you are doing.

    You also didn’t read very carefully what I wrote. I did NOT defend any notion of using wind power as -baseline- power, except as what would be tested as always available across a large grid. I think I made that clear. So you attack me personally for saying something I didn’t say.

    You’ve now had multiple first person witnesses on ethanol. You choose not to believe them. You should work for Mann or Hansen.

    1/3 goes to ethanol? Where? Certainly not in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa. Where is this supposed to be happening? The price of corn went up, then went down, by quite a bit. And that isn’t the price of wheat or rice.

    Mike D. you are mostly correct except that the farm economy has not been a free market since WWII, and Earl Butz really caused problems. Further, farmers are not able to simply switch to other crops. The profit margin is extremely low especially when compared to other ways of life, the investment is huge, and even if a farmer could float a loan for all new equipment, there’d be no distribution network in place for it, to sell it.

    So the corn sits on the ground at the co-op elevator because the silos are filled to capacity, and rots. The PIK type programs are part of the cheap food (incumbant election safety) program. If the farmers all lose their ancestral homes due to prices being consistantly, long term below the cost of production, food prices will ultimately soar. So the government built supports in, the flip side being that they then remove the supports at other times, manipulating the market.

    It is NAFTA, not ethanol production, which is causing problems in Mexico. The Mexican farmers can’t compete. And they aren’t even raising the same kind of corn. But some of you won’t believe the truth no matter how many times you are told. Kinda like warmists.

    The bins are full. The elevators are full.

  97. George E. Smith says:

    “””””” HR says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:19 am
    Mubarak must be loving this. It’s nothing to do with his failing regime, it’s all down to climate change. It’s particularly annoying that complex social phenomenon such as protest and war are reduced to a simple correlation with climate metrics. For me these are the hardest pieces of ‘science’ to swallow. Every politician in the world must be loving this ‘get out of jail free card’ that takes responsibility for corruption and failure from them and piles it onto the weather. Climate scientists as excusniks for autocrats, that must be satisfying for their liberal consciences.

    BTW Antony one mans riot is another mans vigorous democratic protest. “””””

    “”””” BTW Antony one mans riot is another mans vigorous democratic protest. “””””

    Well it is so trivial to tell the two apart. When you have “another man’s vigorous democratic protest”, after the protest is over, the participants pick up all of their trash, and dispose of it in the proper places, and then go off to their homes.

    In a riot; the mindless hoodlums who are rioting, take it upon themselves to destroy what others have built or provided; which has the inevitable result, that cleaning up the mess, leaves even less resources available to provide anything at all for the rioters.

    See the two are simply not comparable on any level. Oh I bet you have never attended a “vigorous democratic protest. ” by say your local ad hoc Tea Party group. I’ve been to several, and even the cops standing by to ensure no interraction between the “vigorous democratic protest” and a counter group who came to riot, remarked how clean and tidy everything was after the sanctioned and permitted “vigorous democratic protest” participants declared “time”, and packed off all of their stuff, including picking up the trash of the rioters.

  98. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” Mike M says:
    February 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm
    In 1961 an 18oz box of corn flakes cost 27 CENTS! Now it costs about $3.00 which is consistent with about 5% inflation over 50 years. “””””

    Well in 1961, that 27 cents might have been worth a dime; not any more; but that is beside the point.

    Today, an 18 oz box of corn flakes costs from $3 to $5 and the farmer who grew the corn possibly got 2Cents for the grains that are in that box.
    The rest is waste packaging, and expensive T&V marketing hype.

  99. guidoLaMoto says:

    @Billy V:
    compare price of corn from 2000-2011 and price of oil:
    http://inflationdata.com/inflation/Inflation_Articles/Corn_Inflation.asp
    http://www.mongabay.com/images/commodities/charts/crude_oil.html

    The corn going to ethanol comes from decreasing exports and from increasing production. Note that the price of all grains has almost doubled over the last 5 months as oil prices have risen- the govt EtOH subsidy has remained unchanged durng that time. http://www.aae.wisc.edu/renk/library/Effect%20of%20Ethanol%20on%20Corn%20Price.pdf
    This study http://www.aae.wisc.edu/renk/library/Effect%20of%20Ethanol%20on%20Corn%20Price.pdfhttp://www.aae.wisc.edu/renk/library/Effect%20of%20Ethanol%20on%20Corn%20Price.pdf showed only about 11-20 cents/bu increase.
    This report called it ~40c/bu http://www.aae.wisc.edu/renk/library/Effect%20of%20Ethanol%20on%20Corn%20Price.pdf

  100. guidoLaMoto says:

    Please excuse the technical problem. This one shows the 40c/bu http://beefmagazine.com/beefstockertrends/0609-ethanol-policies-impact-price/

    Use this one to visualize the stable corn prices suddenly rising last July/Aug. Click on the “charts” logo and change the criteria to” 5 yrs”. http://illinoisbeef.com/

  101. Mike D. says:

    Steve, Not only are the grain elevators full, the surplus cheese stocks are full, and vast prime ag land sits idle. Around here (Willamette Valley) farmers mostly grow specialty crops like grass seed, beet seed, and blueberries, but those occupy less than 20% of the land base. Most ag land is growing uncut hay, hobby horses, and the occasional subdivision (that also sit empty and idle).

    There is no food shortage. If there was, tractors would be plowing millions of acres tomorrow. It costs more to grow corn than it’s worth. Without the ethanol, cornsyrup, and corn plastic markets, those acres would not be growing corn at all. They’d be growing weeds.

    And yes, the ag markets are utterly manipulated. The latest wrench in the gears is S.510 – The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act, passed by the Lame Ducks a few days before last Christmas. Its main purpose is to put family farmers out of business. The supporters were the mega corp farms like ADM.

  102. Mike D. says:

    I grant that there is a correlation between the price of most ag commodities and oil. That’s because corn etc. is grown on a narrow margin, and fuel and fertilzer costs are a significant portion of costs. It is not because corn is diverted to ethanol and that’s what is driving up the price.

    I also grant that there is a connection between virtually every mass produced commodity or manufactured good and oil prices for the exact same reasons: narrow margins and fuel is a significant cost.

    The global warming scam is a strategy engaged in by energy producers and/or energy market manipulators (ala Enron). When the mega cartels in collusion with governments drive up energy costs, almost everything becomes more expensive to produce and hence to buy.

    That’s why it is such a ridiculous lie when alarmists accuse skeptics of being in the oil companies’ pockets. The actual truth is just the opposite. Big Oil has the most to gain from CAGW alarmism.

  103. RayG says:

    John Brookes says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:36 am
    “I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.”

    Please source your data. Thanks.

  104. racookpe1978 says:

    John Brookes says:
    February 8, 2011 at 4:36 am
    “I’m always slightly puzzled when Erlich’s predictions of mass starvation are derided. As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger.”

    Give me a free market, honest/moral politicians in the country where they reside, and the energy and concrete and power and truck and rail and car transportation and sewage and silos and fertilizer that the CAGW propagandists DEMAND we deny them in the name of their CO2 political agenda. None will starve.

    60 million in China under the Communists? 8-12 million under the Soviet communists? Those now under corrupt sub-African dictatorships? Those under UN-controlled areas in the third world? Yes. Those under socialism do regularly starve. (Those in India starved as well – and may starve yet again – unless energy and their economy can continue to grow. But the UN IPCC apparently wants them to die in squalor and hunger.)

  105. eadler says:

    JPeden says:
    February 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    eadler says:
    February 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

    “Once again this straw man argument is repeated. Krugman never said that crop failures were caused by global warming. You are twisting what he said to make a straw man argument you can refute.”

    Then why is Krugman even mentioning “food prices” at all in the context of “climate change”, “extreme weather events”, and climate change “warming”, which moves his whole probability distribution “to the right”?

    Without “food prices” mixed in, Krugman’s little lecture on the “obvious” – as he admits it is – is not worth writing about, and he knows it!

    If you have a quote by Krugman which you think is wrong, please refer to it in your argument, and explain what is factually incorrect or illogical. He explained the answers to your question in his piece:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/opinion/07krugman.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    The Russian heat wave was only one of many recent extreme weather events, from dry weather in Brazil to biblical-proportion flooding in Australia, that have damaged world food production.

    The question then becomes, what’s behind all this extreme weather?

    To some extent we’re seeing the results of a natural phenomenon, La Niña — a periodic event in which water in the equatorial Pacific becomes cooler than normal. And La Niña events have historically been associated with global food crises, including the crisis of 2007-8.

    But that’s not the whole story. Don’t let the snow fool you: globally, 2010 was tied with 2005 for warmest year on record, even though we were at a solar minimum and La Niña was a cooling factor in the second half of the year. Temperature records were set not just in Russia but in no fewer than 19 countries, covering a fifth of the world’s land area. And both droughts and floods are natural consequences of a warming world: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warm oceans release more water vapor.

    As always, you can’t attribute any one weather event to greenhouse gases. But the pattern we’re seeing, with extreme highs and extreme weather in general becoming much more common, is just what you’d expect from climate change.
    Krugman isn’t inventing this idea. There is respectable science behind it.

    Here is one study that explains the increase in drought in the Southwestern US as a result of AGW.
    http://climatesignals.org/2010/10/droughtflood-pattern-in-southeast-u-s-linked-to-climate-change/
    Here is one Australian expert who says the extreme events, Cyclones and floods, are in part a result of record Pacific Ocean temperatures:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/43560.html

    And things are likely to get worse, if you believe respected scientist and 2007 Australian of the year, Professor Tim Flannery.

    “The individual severe weather events you point to are the kind of thing climate modelling predicts will become more frequent as greenhouse gas concentrations increase,” he told me.

    Finally the high temperatures which destroyed a large fraction of the Russsian wheat crop broke the record by a lot. Russia is on of the areas where global warming will occur the earliest.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Northern_Hemisphere_summer_heat_wave

    This is a small fraction of the information and statements by respected scientists that are out there on the blogosphere and in the peer reviewed literature. You may not agree with all of this, but there is ample evidence to support what Krugman says in his column.

  106. ge0050 says:

    “As far as I’m aware, around 30,000 people a day die of hunger”

    Global Death rates remain steady at 100 Percent in spite of global warming!!

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/world-death-rate-holding-steady-at-100-percent,1670/

  107. Doug Badgero says:

    Food prices are rising for the same reason all commodity prices are rising. The world’s central banks are flooding the world’s economies with fiat currency. Are we also running out of gold, silver, palladium, copper, cotton, coal, oil, etc, etc etc? The late Milton Friedman won a Nobel prize for pointing out this simple truth.

  108. rk says:

    I have a simpler model for Egypt.

    November 2010 elections (their parliament) —-> Feb. 2011 protests

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_parliamentary_election,_2010

  109. James Sexton says:

    Steve says:
    February 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    James Sexton, I’m not flabbergasted at your ignorance. I’m all to familiar with the approach. It is like climate science – reject the ground truth and believe the models. That is what you are doing.

    You also didn’t read very carefully what I wrote. I did NOT defend any notion of using wind power as -baseline- power, except as what would be tested as always available across a large grid. I think I made that clear. So you attack me personally for saying something I didn’t say.

    You’ve now had multiple first person witnesses on ethanol. You choose not to believe them. You should work for Mann or Hansen.
    ======================================================
    Nice twist sis. You were the one that mentioned ignorance. Did you bother to read my post? I didn’t read yours carefully????

    Yes, yes I did. Are you going to try now and state that you when you stated “I also live in wind farm country and am often infuriated with the ignorance demonstrated here about wind power (and by the ignorance of the more fanatical of its proponents as well. It has its place.that it wasn’t a better alternative to the past electric generation mix that we had? Let me be clear wind generation is more expensive and less reliable than nuclear, coal, gas, and hydro. We have the ability to create more nuclear, coal, and gas generation plants. And in some cases hydro. To create wind farms, knowing they lack the reliability of the previous mentioned alternatives and knowing it is more expensive is insidiously stupid. I’d welcome a reasoned argument that supports creating these monstrous whirligigs, but I haven’t seen one yet, and your vapid response seems to confirm that there isn’t one.

    You said, “So you attack me personally for saying something I didn’t say.”????? Really? I didn’t realize I had. Please point out the personal attack in my previous post. Just so you know, you should feel personally offended and then later you should feel the need for a greater expanse of your knowledge of wind generation and the cost, because this is intended. I do try to be clear, but I fail sometimes.

    Next, you state, “You’ve now had multiple first person witnesses on ethanol. You choose not to believe them. You should work for Mann or Hansen.

    1/3 goes to ethanol? Where? Certainly not in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa. Where is this supposed to be happening? The price of corn went up, then went down, by quite a bit. And that isn’t the price of wheat or rice.”

    You know, I haven’t been to Minnesota in a long while. I’ve been to Iowa more than I wish. Here’s a question for you. Did you read my links to the USDA? I’m quoting factual statistics. You’re giving me an opinion based on the region in which you live. See the word right before my sentence that starts…..”I’d welcome….” or the word right before my words of “…response seems..” You wish to speak of reality denying? Really? “…first person witnesses on ethanol.” RU freaking kidding me? Every time I fill up with ethanol I’m a first person witness to ethanol. I make the stuff for Christ’s sake! You think I should work for Mann? You are the one trying to convince me the reality I see isn’t real. BS.

    To quote you, “But what do I know? I grew up on an upper midwestern corn and soybeans farm. My father not only farmed, but provided technical and financial consultation for around 110 other farmers.”

    Yeh sis, but what do I know….. My grandpop was a farmer/cattle rancher, too. Oh, Dad was a poultry rancher………me? I work for a Rural Electric Coop……. and live on the line I serve…….the same line my grandfather helped build.

    Read the damned links I provided. Those are facts. Then talk your BS.

  110. convictstreak says:

    Some above have argued that the 30,000 daily deaths due to starvation are not caused by lack of food, but by corrupt regimes.

    Of course there is not a lack of food, its just that the poorest can’t afford it. If there is less food produced next year, then rather more of the poorest won’t be able to afford it. If a corn grower can get a better price selling their corn for ethanol to use in the 1st world, rather than selling it as food to the 3rd world, they will. If a farmer can make more growing strawberries for sale at Wimbledon than they can get growing wheat, they will. In the lush Margaret River region of Western Australia we grow grapes to make wine, which is very nice. Wheat growing happens in the more marginal land.

    So a simple definition of a “lack of food”, is a price at which a fraction (say 10%) of the worlds population can’t afford to adequately feed itself. By that definition, we have a lack of food. A lack of food which is only made worse by an increasingly uncertain climate.

  111. Nonoy Oplas says:

    Thanks for the links. I used that same graph of Krugman above in my critique of his ideas, “When Krugman becomes climate paranoid”, http://funwithgovernment.blogspot.com/2011/02/when-krugman-becomes-climate-paranoid.html. Thank you.

  112. guidoLaMoto says:

    Many here seem to think there will always be enough food. We’re just one good drought away from catastrophe. Our reserves aren’t nearly as large as some seem to think.

    “The adequacy question is especially important this year with extreme adverse weather in several important foreign grain and oilseed producing countries, and with low beginning stocks of U.S. soybeans as well as only slightly over a 5-week reserve supply of corn for the start of the new marketing year.” http://www.agmrc.org/renewable_energy/biofuelsbiorefining_general/corn_and_soybean_availability_for_biofuels_in_201011.cfm

    The last significant drought in our MidWest was in 1988 (23 yrs ago) and tree-ring studies show we average one major drought every 19 yrs over the last millenium. We’re overdue and LaNina usually brings less rain here.

  113. R. de Haan says:

    Must Read:
    Chinese weather on Tahrir Square
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MB10Ak02.html

  114. ge0050 says:

    “The last significant drought in our MidWest was in 1988 (23 yrs ago) and tree-ring studies show we average one major drought every 19 yrs over the last millenium. We’re overdue and LaNina usually brings less rain here.”

    Drought cycles coincide with the 18.6 year lunar orbital cycle. Mainstream climate science remains unable to predict even this most basic aspects of climate due to its obsessive fixation on human beings and CO2 as the main driver of climate variability.

  115. Ryan says:

    Rising food prices are caused by global printing of money as a means of solving the current debt crisis. Same amount of food, more money to spend on food pushed into the system means higher food prices (and higher oil prices, gold silver etc etc).

    Mubarak is in trouble because unemployment is at 25% and in Egypt that means a lot of people living below the poverty line.

  116. Taphonomic says:

    eadler says:
    “Here is one study that explains the increase in drought in the Southwestern US as a result of AGW.”

    The SW USA has been arid to semi-arid for millenia. Droughts have happened. Mega-droughts have happened. Whether there has been an increase is subject to debate. I suppose you could take this topic up with the Anasazi, Hohokam, and Sinagua peoples except that their civilizations were wiped out by climate change and drought. AGW then???? I think not.

  117. eadler says:

    Ryan says:
    February 9, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Rising food prices are caused by global printing of money as a means of solving the current debt crisis. Same amount of food, more money to spend on food pushed into the system means higher food prices (and higher oil prices, gold silver etc etc).

    Mubarak is in trouble because unemployment is at 25% and in Egypt that means a lot of people living below the poverty line.

    Are you claiming that doubling of wheat prices in 2010, which began rising in June of 2010, when it became clear that there would be a drought in Russia, and rose more intensely after Russia announce that they wouldn’t export any wheat this year, was purely a result of printing money? If this is what you are claiming, it is clearly wrong.

  118. eadler says:

    Taphonomic says:
    February 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

    eadler says:
    “Here is one study that explains the increase in drought in the Southwestern US as a result of AGW.”

    The SW USA has been arid to semi-arid for millenia. Droughts have happened. Mega-droughts have happened. Whether there has been an increase is subject to debate. I suppose you could take this topic up with the Anasazi, Hohokam, and Sinagua peoples except that their civilizations were wiped out by climate change and drought. AGW then???? I think not.

    No climate scientist is arguing that there is only one possible cause for drought in the Southwest. The fact that it happened previously, without being caused by CO2, does not show that increasing atmospheric CO2 cannot be the cause of drought in the future.

    You didn’t say what we should make of the fact that drought had other causes in the past. Are you implicitly arguing that this proves CO2 cannot be the cause of droughts in the future, or are you saying that since the Anasazi’s had to suffer a decline in their civilization it doesn’t matter? What is the point you are trying to make here?

  119. ferd berple says:

    As the USDA graph shows, food prices have been falling for the past 60 years. At the same time CO2 has been rising. This shows that CO2 is a benefit.

    Obviously because CO2 is a natural fertilizer, and plants grow better when it is
    warmer, more CO2 => warmer => more food => lower prices => less starvation.

    The reverse must also be true. Less CO2 => cooler => less food => higher prices => more starvation.

    So tell me again, why do we want to reduce CO2? Is it because someone thinks this would be a good way to reduce the population of the planet? Surely that will be the result.

  120. Doug Badgero says:

    eadler,

    Obviously, micro-economic supply and demand issues, or perception of supply and demand, always play a role. However, the supply and demand of fiat currency also matters. There is nothing controversial about this with anyone who has studied monetary theory. There is a lot of money out there right now looking for something to buy. Quite a bit of that money ends up pursuing physical assets like grains and precious metals since people are worried about the declining value of the currency itself.

  121. Slacko says:

    Tom_R says:
    February 8, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Starvation is being used as a means of killing off of internal enemies when it’s cheaper than other means (and also less likely to be recognized as genocide by UN bureaucrats).

    Ah, so that’s how they plan to decapitate the population at 9.2 billion.

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