“The main problem is that the earth is hot, flat and crowded”

That headline is a newspaper article quote from NASA JPL’s resident climatologist Bill Patzert.

However, given how badly writer “Beige Luciano-Adams” has botched the rest of the article Patzert is featured in, I suspect it is a misquote. Patzert can’t really be claiming the Earth is flat.

From San Gabriel Valley News, more channeling of Krugman’s nonsense:

Here’s the relevant quotes from Patzert:

“I’m a big global warming person, and I think climate change in the next century will be the largest determinant of human civilization,” he said.

“(But) this is not global warming, not yet. It definitely will be in the next century. The change in global temperatures has been about one degree over the last century,” he said, adding, “We’ve had some pretty extreme weather here, but not unprecedented droughts and floods.”

While Patzert acknowledges floods and fires in Australia, droughts in China and Russia’s droughts and heat wave precipitated the recent wheat crisis, he calls them “definitely extreme, but not record-breaking or unprecedented.”

“Krugman had some good points…The only thing I would say is it’s a preview of coming attractions not a first taste yet,” he said.

Patzert blames overpopulation and supply and demand in a flat economy for interfering with our capacity to cope with “not unprecedented” extreme weather. The main problem, he said, is that the earth is “hot, flat and crowded.”

h/t to WUWT reader and surfacestations volunteer Juan Slayton

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67 thoughts on ““The main problem is that the earth is hot, flat and crowded”

  1. He’s quoting Tom Friedman, of course.
    Friedman is another clear thinker, an enthusiast for the Chinese command economy and the Chinese government’s flakey investments in “green” energy.

    Many of the Chinese wind farms are not even connected to the grid, since they are too far removed geographically to make that economically feasible.

  2. John Hultquist: …flat economy…?

    I dunno, John. Speculation here (per Nancy) is that he actually said ‘finite.’ But the suggestion that JPL harbors a flat-earther is hard to resist. : > )

  3. They should not blame food prices on global warming. Blame it on the idiots who think converting food into fuel is a good idea. Biofuels offer not net gain in anything except in wasting resources in terms of crops and cropland, decreasing milage, and destroying engines. Oh, and a few people make fortunes having been graced with huge funding to build biofuel factories and continuing subsidies to keep them afloat.

    The 15% ethanol/gasoline was dictated to give those poor ethanol makers a boost in business, as those poor guys have suffered a decrease in demand with the recession. Heaven for bid that they should suffer like everybody else; the government is helping them out specifically over everybody else. How nice.

    As the extreme environmentalists basically do not like people and also think that starvation and disease are acceptable means of decreasing population, they are fine with biofuels raising food prices.

  4. Flat in the Friedman “The World is Flat” sense, meaning a leveling playing field. To quote a book review from http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/the-world-is-flat:

    “For Friedman, cheap, ubiquitous telecommunications have finally obliterated all impediments to international competition, and the dawning ‘flat world’ is a jungle pitting ‘lions’ and ‘gazelles,’ where ‘economic stability is not going to be a feature’ and ‘the weak will fall farther behind.’ Rugged, adaptable entrepreneurs, by contrast, will be empowered.”

    And to quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Is_Flat):

    “…the title also alludes to the perceptual shift required for countries, companies and individuals to remain competitive in a global market where historical and geographical divisions are becoming increasingly irrelevant.”

  5. juanslayton says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm
    John Hultquist: …flat economy…?

    I dunno, John. Speculation here (per Nancy) . . .

    Hi there J, Well my Nancy thinks – just kidding. But the following link says Bill Patzert has a degree in oceanography. Still, could be a flat-earther. Climate science spawns strange things. Cheers.

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/bios/patzert_bio.html

    He is a graduate of Purdue University and went on to earn a Ph.D. in oceanography at the University of Hawaii.

  6. The specific problem is that the price of food is rising.

    Causes include the following, in no particular order.

    [1] Actual shortages caused by loss of crops due to recent unfavourable weather.
    [2] Actual shortages caused by diversion of food into fuel.
    [3] Actual shortages caused by increased demand
    [4] Price inflation due to massive creation of fiat currencies by central banks, of which the Federal Reserve and the Peoples Bank of China are primary contributors. Hot Money, especially $USD are flooding the futures markets and driving up prices of food and other commodities.

    The impact of subsequent massive inflation, corporate margin loss and consequent economic/financial destruction will (on the bright side) most likely kill the whole AGW gravy train… along with (on the dark side) the productive economy.

    I’m not suggesting catastrophy (i.e. a new darkage lasting centuries…) just a very nasty crisis (GFC Mk II) that could be short lived (approx <2 years) or longer if massively mishandled.

  7. I dunno, I am from the Netherlands, one of the smallest countries in the world and we are still a net exporter of agricultural products, and on that market we are not even a small player.

    And a few weeks ago the KNMI released a press statement that due to warming the growing season in Netherlands is now 4 weeks longer than 15 years ago.

    But off course, its al global warming, and that is bad, it has nothing to do with corrupt regimes, corrupt heads of state, repression and so on. Hosni is just a victim of the global economy going through the roof, he can’t help it that a large part of the Egyptian population has to live of 2 dollars or less a day.

    No honest, its all warming, global warming.

  8. Over-population is the excuse the rich and powerful use for the failings of their own policies. They would have us believe that the worlds problems are caused by poor people and the way to solve the problems is to eliminate the poor. The stench of eugenics still runs strong in the USA.

  9. I find it sad to see Westerners use their biases, like climate change, to try to explain from afar what is happening in the Middle East. All I have to say is this: Live in these countries, with the people, then you will begin to truly understand what drives them. Been there, done that.

  10. The earth is not flat. It is not crowded either.

    New Delhi is crowded. Mexico City is Crowded. New York is crowded. Tokyo is really crowded. But the earth is not crowded. If you don’t think so take a drive through most of the world. Or look down from a plane window at night.

    While I’m at it, how hot is the earth, really, at this time? It’s been hotter than now many times over the last 10,000 years. Hotter times are associated with adventure and prosperity.

    I can forgive this fellow from NASA for not being as smart as a rocket scientist.

  11. Patzert can’t really be claiming the Earth is flat.

    Well, I dunno. The world seems pretty flat here in Houston.

    Graeme at 10:03 pm has it right. The external forcings gumming up our economic model are all governmental in origin. Not even the CO2-induced 20+% increase in crop productivity can overcome the market distortions caused by uninformed bureaucrats and politicians.

  12. Isn’t it about time NASA got itself some real scientists? The kind that can perform feats of joined up reasoning and old fashioned experimentation. The same kind that, when presented with a piece of string of unknown length, will actually take the time to meaure said string and record the findings without fudging the raw data.

    How hard can that be?

  13. Why would anyone think the current trend of the world’s economy is to disadvantage the poor?

    Half the US is going into headless chicken mode about China taking over! We have also seen the rise of Taiwan, South Korea etc from poor to rich in two generations. The obvious conclusion is that the current economic trends are particularly effective in reducing poverty.

    What will reverse that trend is limiting the Third World’s access to cheap power.

  14. Yes biofuels and extreme weather events contribute to food prices, but the single most important contributor to food prices is the fact that in the west, a farmer can’t fire up his tractor without filling out half a dozen forms in triplicate imposed by governments and beurocracies over-run by green zealots.

    He can’t clear a corner of his property without an endless study to see if a particular worm will be disadvantaged.

    Just ask the Thompson family of western Australia for but one recent example.

    We used to value farmers. No farmers, no food, no life. Kids today think milk comes from a factory for crissake.

  15. Baa;
    yeah, “reality disconnect” hardly begins to describe it.

    The bureaucrats [note sp.] always take over (Pournelle’s Iron Law) and their goal is expansion and immortality of their personal paper empires. No outrage is too extreme to contemplate in that effort.

  16. When they say that there is “overpopulation”, they are actually referring more to China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc. They hate to see more people from those countries “stealing jobs” in rich countries, or those countries with cities having more skyscrapers than cities in rich economies. “Endangered planet” is a convenient excuse to penalize and prohibit those countries from developing further through cheap energy sources and more economic growth.

  17. I agree with “overcrowded”; 6.9 Billion and counting.

    They count very quietly these days just in case we start thinking.

  18. @Kath

    “Live in these countries, with the people, then you will begin to truly understand what drives them.”

    Amen, from a part-time resident of Colombia.

    The warming of the past 30 years has been a boon to mankind, especially w/respect to food production. With the earth apparently cooling off now, growing seasons will begin to shrink and higher latitudes will become less crop-friendly, and the food crisis will worsen.

    Artificially raising energy prices to make the world even cooler (by their logic) will multiply the misery for those parts of the world who already have to hoard pennies to buy next week’s cooking fuel or staple stocks like corn and rice.

    And people in that state know exactly who to blame for it.

  19. The first reason for food shortages is conversion of food fields into biofuels fields. Change that if necessary……

    The second reason is a series of crop-unfriendly weather events. In Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Australia and probably other places too.

    These are due to one season, not due to twenty years.

    So they have nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with one year’s climate.

    As always, people plug their mantras instead of looking at better inter-seasonal water management plans, better management of interseasonal surpluses to cover the inevitable poorer years and better attention to human population growth, which no-one, but no-one can claim has occurred due to global warming (unless female fertility is affected by a 1 degree rise in temperature, which I guarantee will be shown not to be the case).

  20. Geoff Sherrington says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:32 am
    “For those who could use a summary of more objectionable sentences uttered by prominent figures, here is a collection from Viv Forbes.

    http://www.geoffstuff.com/They%20said.doc

    Viv asked me to broadcast the longer paper, about 2 MB of .pdf
    Anthony, I hope you do not mind the cross posting.
    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/why-wind-wont-work.pdf

    Thanks for the links Geoff.

    Eye balling the mandated green policies and the current developments in the world
    I say we’re heading for another chapter in our history where genocide is written with a capital G.

    This time the perpetrators hide behind economic schemes, mass propaganda and the legal shield of total immunity which is granted to all officials working for the UN and the EU.

    That doesn’t mean they can’t be shot.

  21. We are having no increase in extreme weather events. Cold is worse then hot for crops. A 300 ppm increase in ambient CO2 provides the following real world results for wheat…
    Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
    300 ppm Increase from ambient
    Number of Results 235
    Arithmetic Mean 32.1% Increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 1.8%

    Corn, soy and rice all have similar results in hundreds of studies.

  22. “definitely extreme, but not record-breaking or unprecedented.”

    No evidence yet of global warming. Just an inexhaustable supply of bureaucratic-driven nightmares and globalized gambling masquerading as trade exerting unbearable pressure on currencies and supplies. I predict a food fight.

  23. R. de Haan says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:30 am
    Eye balling the mandated green policies and the current developments in the world
    I say we’re heading for another chapter in our history where genocide is written with a capital G.
    This time the perpetrators hide behind economic schemes, mass propaganda and the legal shield of total immunity which is granted to all officials working for the UN and the EU.
    That doesn’t mean they can’t be shot.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Great observation. My opinion too. The UN et al orgs, who supposedly have the responsibility of eliminating poverty from the face of the earth, are actually doing it in a more ‘practical’ sort of way; instead of giving a fishing rod to the poor, or at least providing them with a fish to ease their hunger, they are making sure, by increasing the price of energy through carbon taxes and other tactics, that food prices go through the roof, thus making the very poor die of hunger, thus reducing the global population by so much. Then, the next train to the new Auschwitz will be loaded with the previously-less poor who have become very poor and so on and so forth…..
    Thus, their aim of reducing the planet’s human population will be achieved by Machiavellian/PolPotic means.

    But there is another way to reduce the global human population and that is by providing cheap energy, thus making the poor countries rich. Birth rates in rich countries have always crashed, so much so that birth rates are now critically and dangerously too low for our countries’ future.

    So we have two choices, either reduce the planet’s population by letting the poor die of hunger, or making them rich and ‘forcing’ their birth rate to crash.

  24. I’ve been an indirect recipient of the politically motivated email rants Patzert periodically passes around to his collegues for a few years now. There no doubt in my mind that he was using flat in the same sense as Tom Friedman. Patzert is not an idiot. Quite the opposite. But politics are very much at the forefront of his mind and his science does seem to follow his politics rather than the other way around.

  25. I love “intellectuals” like Frieman, they assume their utopian, oligarch governments will be run by the Intelligensia like himself (Hansen, Gore, Krugman, whoever) when in reality the Intellectuals are usually the first to meet blade, bullet or dungeon whenever autocracy is established.

    Davesix says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm
    He’s quoting Tom Friedman, of course.
    Friedman is another clear thinker, an enthusiast for the Chinese command economy and the Chinese government’s flakey investments in “green” energy.

  26. Gordon says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:34 am

    I agree with “overcrowded

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    You haven’t been to Nebraska.

  27. The author looks at rising prices and blames supply and demand, but then complains that this is a market “failure.” Wrong. Rising prices simply reflect a change in the balance between supply and demand, or in the value of currency. Rising prices also occur in growing economies, so the “flat economy” comment is irrelevant. Even if one accepts the proposition about over-population, one must look further into problems on the supply-side. Countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela encourage squatters to take over productive farmland, taking them out of the food-chain. Industrialized countries increasingly devote crop and water resources to the production of ethanol. Subsidies interfere with true market reactions to demand. These must be taken into account before AGW claims should even be considered.

  28. Based on all this global response to global warming I guess it is a fiction then the story that most of the warming is in the polar regions and after the sun goes down.

  29. I sure he meant flat economy but what I find telling is the headline “Food shortages caused by global warming may be cause of world-wide unrest”. Seeing that shortages are, more often than not, a product of price than scarcity is Beige trying to tell us that the policies of governments based on their belief in global warming are causing food shortages? ;-)

  30. Britain is one of the most overpopulated countries in the planet. Still produces 60% of its own food. Also has plenty of natural life with some very large natural parks.

  31. Ulric Lyons says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:49 am
    “the price of oil drives the movement of the index funds and pushes up the prices of agricultural commodities, no matter what is happening to the fundamentals of supply and demand for soybeans or corn.”

    Couldn’t agree more, Ulric.
    People go out and buy a $20,000 car that cost $5,000 in 1974 and don’t bitch a bit. I bought a brand new Ford Courier in 1976 that cost $4,000.00. I just bought a used 1997 Mazda B2300 (same truck) with 125k for $ 3750.00 and thought it was a steal. Well, corn was $2.50/bu in 197o when fuel was $0.25, so anything less than $10 is cheap. It’s called inflation. Get familiar with the concept because you’re about to see the hyper, supersized version.

  32. FAO food prize index:

    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/

    One should note that the index is not adjusted for inflation, as it is used as one indicator for inflation, as far as i understand (this doesn’t mean that the FPI is proportional to inflation or something like that, as food is only one component). So when running it through the GDP deflator we are nowhere near an all time high, that being said, we do have a spike similar to 2008.

  33. Tim Clark says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:24 am
    “Couldn’t agree more, Ulric.
    People go out and buy a $20,000 car that cost $5,000 in 1974 and don’t bitch a bit.”

    The GDP of the USA and Germany are about 20 times higher now than in 1970 (not adjusted for inflation); so the 20000$ car now is a fantastic deal compared to the 5000$ deal in 1974 – and that is to be expected; as more automation drives the man-hours down needed to build a car.

  34. Of course the Earth is Flat. If you can believe in the AGW scam then the Earth being flat is tame by comparison.

    And sure there will be world-wide food shortages due to Global Warming. All our resources will be going into fixing this mythical problem and we wont have any money left over to grow food.

  35. DirkH says:
    February 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    “FAO food prize index:

    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/FoodPricesIndex/en/

    One should note that the index is not adjusted for inflation, ”

    Correction – they do show it in nominal values (not adjusted), and adjusted using the World Bank MUV. I didn’t know the MUV before; it’s a price index for manufactures only. Here is a paper that contains a table relating the MUV to several GDP deflators. They’re not that different.

    http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/18778/1/dp980002.pdf

    So even the MUV-adjusted FAO food price index shows a 20 year high. Sorry for any confusion caused (the all time high should be in the 70ies during the oil price shocks, though).

  36. “Earth is hot”…OK, can someone please tell me what the temperature is SUPPOSED to be? …and just who decided that? Anyone? Anyone? Vikings?………..(crickets)

  37. “Food shortages caused by global warming may be cause of world-wide unrest.”

    Food shortages caused by global cooling, the Federal Reserve, and Wall Street/COMEX/CME may be cause of world-wide unrest.
    There. Fixed it for ya.

  38. The “flat” refers to economically — it’s a literary reference to NYT columnist and AGW hypocrite Thomas Friedman’s book dealing with globalization and climate change.

  39. simonared says:
    As we edge slowly but surely to Soylent Green Tuesdays!!

    LOL – I just watched that (again) last night!

    It struck me as quite interesting exactly how that story comes across almost like a playbook for warmists – almost like they all watched it and thought it was a documentary from the future. Well, we’re only 11 years away – I guess we’ll see soon enough…

  40. In 2010 for the first time ever since the abandonment of horsedrawn transport, more than half of the US corn crop has been converted to ethanol. I believe that might have a lot more to do with the rise in food prices, along with the incidental crop failure in Ukraine, than anything global warming related.

  41. While debating the effect of globacoolawarming on food production is interesting, the true insanity in this article is blaming unrest and revolution in Tunisia and Egypt on food prices. Certainly when food prices fluctuate in poor countries it has a bigger impact than in wealthy ones, and you could even argue that it was the straw the broke the camel’s back I suppose, but the notion that it is the main factor, or even a major one is a new level of… I can’t come up with a word that is appropriate and isn’t a major insult along the lines of an ad hominem attack. To hold out the spectre of unrest in those countries as a sign of things to come when (not if!) global warming arrives (in the NEXT century no less…just 89 years to go!) is so bereft of facts, logic and reason to anyone who pays the slightest attention to world politics that the worst ad hominem attack I could come up with would be insufficient. Turning a blind eye to who is fomenting unrest in the middle east and why is ten times as dangerous as blaming fluctuations in food prices and then compounding the sin by tying them by some tenuous absurd logic to changes in climate that might happen… in “the next century”. Not only is Chicken WarmaLittle screaming that the sky is falling, the little b****rd is claiming that he can see the cracks in the sky from something that hasn’t happened yet and won’t for a century.

    Further, the notion that the food shortages in various poor countries is a consequence of price fluctuations or ethanol production is equally a determined effort to be willfully ignorant of the blindingly obvious. I’m 50 years old and cannot remember a time in my life when there was NOT strife and famine in one part of Africa or another. Food is cheap, and it is so cheap that even the poor countries can afford it. Incredibly incompetant and insanely corrupt management is the one, and the ONLY significant factor in food shortages anywhere in the world. Zimbabwe was transformed from the bread basket of Africa to a fiscal basket case where mice are now a staple food by corrupt and idiotic management. North Koreans subsist on 4 ounces of rice per day so their “dear leader” can pretend to be a nuclear power while his citizens barely survive and mostly from hand outs from the rest of the world. South Korea with near identical resources struggles with obesity as an emerging health risk. Israel is just as much desert as Egypt, but is a net exporter of food. Historicaly the WHOLE REGION suffered periods of famine for centuries and the population mostly survived quite well at the heights of the Egyption empire(s) because food sources were well managed, and that was millenia before refrigeration was even invented! Gaza WAS an exporter of food until the Israelis withdrew and abandoned gigantic greenhouse infrastructures that were promptly torn to pieces to make rockets by the exact same people who then complain that they don’t have enough food and it isn’t their fault. Incompetence and corruption resulted in starvation in Africa and elsewhere decades before global warming was invented, and growing crops for ethanol too for that matter. Good management with the most primitive of technologies allowed empires such as Rome, Egypt, the Dynasties of China and others to remain stable for centuries at a time. Read their histories and yes, you will find their empires crumbled as they were torn apart, no longer capable of defending themselves, by the barbarian hordes from without and the hunger driven revolution from within. The tragic consequences had nothing to do with fluctuations in food supplies or the availability of military forces to protect the people. The empires failed because they became mired in corruption and incompetent in managing their resources.

    So Chicken WarmingLittle can point at food shortages and claim they are responsible the fall of governments, but it is a lie of gargantuan proportions. The food shortages are the consequence of corrupt and incompetent management. The revolutionaries are screaming for their ouster, and rightfully so. But the barbarians are gathering at the gates while their prophets are already inside masquerading as the voice of reason, an accusing finger levelled at the corrupt incompetent government while the other hand quietly unlocks the gates.

    Chicken WarminLittle says there are no barbarians and the gates don’t even need to be locked. We should worry about events a century from now instead.

    No wonder that chickens run around for ten minutes after you cut their heads off. They’re too stupid to know they are dead.

    My apologies for the ad hominem attack. Not fair to the chickens at all.

  42. It may be “hot, flat, and crowded” for “them,” but it certainly is not for AGW promoter Tom Friedman. Take a peek at his spacious, cool, and lush manse in Maryland. Wonder what it costs to maintain that perfecto green lawn in the hot Maryland summers.

    http://cryptome.org/eyeball/friedman/friedman-mansion.htm

    By the way, about ~40 years ago author John Brunner wrote a novel called “Stand On Zanzibar,” in which he calculated that by the year 2010, all of the planet’s predicted 7 billion population could stand shoulder-to-shoulder and fit on the island of Zanzibar.

    Take a look at Zanzibar on any map, and I think you’ll also disagree with Friedman that the planet is even “crowded,” although it is most certainly the case that mankind remains prone to hubris (e.g., CAGW), solipsism, and apocalyptic fantasies, and that these are all endemic parts of the human condition.

  43. Egypt having had fixed, subsidised food prices off the back of Western aid being used to support Mubarak’s regime is presumably news to the author of the otherwise badly written and misinformed article?

    Journalists these days are far too accepting of any old tosh they’re fed by ‘authority’ figures.

  44. At first my thought ‘how do people come up with such notions?’ but in reality the truth sucks. A greenhouse will produce far more vegan material than nature on the same plot.

    What in the Northern hemisphere is driving the food quantity? ESA and EPA.

  45. Gordon says:
    February 14, 2011 at 2:34 am

    In case no one’s told you, we are still converting perfectly good food to fuel. On top of that, here in the States at least, we pay farmers NOT to farm portions of their land to help control the amount of food produced as a method of price control. When we stop those 2 practices and eliminate (as many others have already pointed out) those dictators/governments that mismanage food supplies, and there is mass starvation, I’ll agree that there MAY BE too many people. Until that happens, stop the complete bulls**t tired old “the Earth is overcrowded with the evil humans” mantra. Or, if you are still convinced that your thought is the correct one, practice what you preach and start reducing the population by eliminating yourself. Sorry for the rant, but wow, how misinformed can people be? Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know any more than I already have witnessed…

  46. HK:
    …wilful (sic) misinterpretations…could have no better example than people here suggesting the “flat” comment could mean anything other than in the Friedman sense.

    Aw, come on, HK–give us illiterati a break. It takes time for these sophisticated East Coast neologisms to percolate down to us West Coast working stiffs. The Tribune’s circulation is currently 37,118. How many of those good folks have ever read Friedman’s book? We are experienced enough to know that a statement that appears to be nonsense is much more likely to be a misquote or keyboarding error, than a really, really creative use of an everyday word.

    When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

  47. Charles Higley says:
    February 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    They should not blame food prices on global warming. Blame it on the idiots who think converting food into fuel is a good idea. Biofuels offer not net gain in anything except in wasting resources in terms of crops and cropland, decreasing milage, and destroying engines. Oh, and a few people make fortunes having been graced with huge funding to build biofuel factories and continuing subsidies to keep them afloat.

    The 15% ethanol/gasoline was dictated to give those poor ethanol makers a boost in business, as those poor guys have suffered a decrease in demand with the recession. Heaven for bid that they should suffer like everybody else; the government is helping them out specifically over everybody else. How nice.

    As the extreme environmentalists basically do not like people and also think that starvation and disease are acceptable means of decreasing population, they are fine with biofuels raising food prices.

    This year’s food price spike is a result of bad weather causing a dent in supply. Another recent factor in reduced supply is the use of soybean oil and corn oil for fuel. This made stockpiles low so that the effect of bad weather was magnified. In addition there is hoarding by speculators.

    It is wrong to blame the use of corn based ethanol on environmentalists. Most environmentalists agree that it is counter productive as an environmental measure, does nothing to help carbon emissions, and consumes more land for corn production that is destructive the environment. Everyone hates ethanol except the corn farmers and the distillers such as ADM, but they have won an extension of the tax credit for one year.
    The current levels, set to expire December 31 of this year, include a 45-cents per gallon subsidy on ethanol production. For the taxpayer, that totals about $7 billion a year. On November 29, a mixed group of organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership, officially making their case against any extension.

    The list included industry, environmental, and political groups like the American Meat Institute, the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, the National Meat Association, Friends of the Earth, the World Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, FreedomWorks, the National Taxpayers Union, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Even former Vice President Al Gore recently admitted his original support for the subsidies was a mistake.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/12/09/despite-strong-opposition-ethanol-subsidies-set-to-be-renewed-in-tax-deal/#ixzz1E4ydOOg5

  48. Tim Clark says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:24 am
    Ulric Lyons says:
    February 14, 2011 at 8:49 am
    “the price of oil drives the movement of the index funds and pushes up the prices of agricultural commodities, no matter what is happening to the fundamentals of supply and demand for soybeans or corn.”

    Couldn’t agree more, Ulric. …..
    It’s called inflation. Get familiar with the concept because you’re about to see the hyper, supersized version.

    Two things – Huge US International debt and 42 million people getting food stamps and growing every day. When do they and the millions of unemployed decide to march on Washington?

    When 15 to 20% of the US population is having trouble putting food on their plates, I think there may be a problem.

  49. HK;
    Yuck. That promo for Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0” gives his new inspirational neologism: “Geo-Greenism”. Which he sez is the mandatory solution for all, starting with the US, of course.

    When I think of Friedman, “Soylent-Greenism” is what comes to mind.

  50. Wait! hold the presses! you mean… the world is not flat?! Egyptian bread is subsidized!? U.S. presidents have supported Mubarak all this time!?

    Just a heads up for people who may not know this — but we journalists do not always choose our own headlines. Mine was scrapped in editing for the one you read, which probably grabbed more readers but happens to undo the entire point – in part to question a current tendency to blame food shortages for political instability while perhaps ignoring the political economy of how food is produced, distributed and consumed. (or not). I wanted to take a deeper look at a twisted bundle of issues here and let experts have their say. I find that the emerging discourse about global warming + rising food prices + overpopulation that’s so popular right now often ignores why people are actually hungry – but not everyone agrees with that assessment – so the purpose of the article was to create a forum for these disparate strings and spark new dialogue. Hence, the offbeat critic of Malthusian logic facing off with Patzert’s politically tinged opining about weather and crowded Earth. By the way, I have lived and worked in Egypt (I’m well aware that their eish baladi is subsidized; it’s pretty good, too), and I know that Russian crop failures, with or without global warming, cannot explain away the more difficult reasons for such devastating poverty. That stuff rarely makes it to the news cycle. Instead, people are content to snack on superficial provocations about global warming and food shortages and attack each other.

    This one made me laugh… For the guy who accused me of swallowing authoritarian tosh: you might consider that the issue is really not about the west subsidizing bread (via aid, as you say) so much as the neoliberal economic development policies that have made Egypt dependent on imported food.

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