New commission confronts threats to food security from ‘climate change’

Yeah, like they can do anything about it. Here’s an idea. How about more CO2 and less grain use for ethanol and other biofuels?

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CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Experts from 6 continents are set to produce policy recommendations for boosting food production in face of harsher climates, increasing populations, scarce resources

COPENHAGEN (11 March 2011) — Recent droughts and floods have contributed to increases in food prices. These are pushing millions more people into poverty and hunger, and are contributing to political instability and civil unrest. Climate change is predicted to increase these threats to food security and stability. Responding to this, the world’s largest agriculture research consortium today announced the creation of a new Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.

Chaired by the United Kingdom’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, the Commission will in the next ten months seek to build international consensus on a clear set of policy actions to help global agriculture adapt to climate change, achieve food security and reduce poverty and greenhouse gas emissions.

There is a rich body of scientific evidence for sustainable agriculture approaches that can increase production of food, fibre and fuel, help decrease poverty and benefit the environment, but agreement is needed on how best to put these approaches into action at scale. Evidence also shows that climate change, with population growth and pressures on natural resources, is set to produce food shortages and biodiversity loss worldwide unless action is taken now.

“Extreme weather like the droughts in Russia, China and Brazil and the flooding in Pakistan and Australia have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven’t seen since the oil crisis of 40 years ago,” Beddington said. “Unfortunately, this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase risk of droughts, flooding, pest infestation and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.”

The Commission brings together senior natural and social scientists working in agriculture, climate, food and nutrition, economics, and natural resources from Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, France, Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

“I think policymakers are eager for a clear set of recommendations supported by a strong scientific consensus for achieving food security in a world where weather extremes seem to becoming more and more common,” said Dr. Mohammed Asaduzzaman, Research Director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and the Commission’s Deputy Chair. “This Commission is confronting a problem not just of the future but, for places like Bangladesh, a problem of the present. We already are seeing major changes in growing conditions caused by higher temperatures and loss of productive lands to rising sea levels.”

Today, scientists are increasingly concerned that more extreme weather events, especially drought and floods will impede the growth in food production required to avert hunger and political instability as the global population increases to nine billion people by 2050. Even an increase in global mean temperatures of only two degrees Celsius—the low end of current estimates—could significantly reduce crop and livestock yields. Supporting these concerns has been the weather-induced crop losses that contributed to high food prices this year and in 2008.

The World Bank reported in February that the recent rise in food prices—which included a doubling of wheat prices and a 73 percent increase in maize prices—already has pushed an extra 44 million people into poverty. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said food prices have been an “aggravating factor” in the political turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East and that their destabilizing effect “could become more serious.”

The Commission has been set up by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program (CCAFS) – a 10-year effort launched by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) – with support from the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.

“Our ability to deal with the effects of climate change on food security, in both the developed and developing world, will largely determine whether our future is one marked by stability or perpetual food shocks,” said Dr Bruce Campbell, Director of CCAFS. “But there are so many perspectives on the best way for farmers to adapt to climate change—and for farmers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as well—that we have ended up sort of paralyzed by a lack of clear choices.”

The Commission will synthesize existing research to clearly articulate scientific findings on the potential impact of climate change on food security globally and regionally. The Commission will then produce a set of specific policy actions for dealing with these challenges.

The Commission’s findings will be primarily directed to international policy, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and the Group of 20 (G20) industrialized and developing countries.

###

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change is identifying what policy changes and actions are needed now to help the world achieve sustainable agriculture that contributes to food security and poverty reduction, and helps respond to climate change adaptation and mitigation goals. The Commission is an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), with additional support from the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.

Full list of Commissioners

Biographical details are available at http://ccafs.cgiar.org/content/commission/commissioners

  • Professor Sir John Beddington, CMG FRS Chief Scientist, Government Office for Science, United Kingdom (Commission Chair)
  • Dr Mohammed Asaduzzaman, Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, Bangladesh
  • Dr Adrian Fernández Bremauntz, Senior Consultant, ClimateWorks Foundation, Mexico
  • Dr Megan Clark, FTSE, GAICD, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia
  • Dr Marion Guillou, President, Institut Scientifique de Recherche Agronomique (INRA), France
  • Professor Molly Jahn, Laboratory of Genetics and Department of Agronomy and Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Sustainability Sciences, the University of Madison-Wisconsin, USA
  • Professor Lin Erda, Director of the Research Centre of Agriculture and Climate Change, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China
  • Professor Tekalign Mamo, State Minister and Minister’s Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia
  • Dr Nguyen Van Bo, President, Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Science, Vietnam
  • Dr Carlos A Nobre, Director of the Center for Earth System Science, National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil
  • Professor Bob Scholes, Fellow, Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa
  • Dr Rita Sharma, Secretary, National Advisory Council (Prime Minister’s Office), India
  • Professor Judi Wakhungu, Executive Director, African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS), Kenya

Key facts on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change from the CCAFS program:

  • A 4-degree rise in temperatures will have profound effects on farming, cutting down both the range of potential adaptation options and the efficacy of those options. Different crop models give different estimates, but ensembles of models suggest average yield drops of 19% for maize and 47% for beans, and much more frequent crop failures. (Source: Thornton et. al. 2010 – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/117.full)
  • The first half of the 21st century is likely to see increases in food prices, and increasing demand driven by population and income growth. Even without climate change, prices could rise by 10% (for rice) to 54% (for maize) by 2050. With climate change, price increases more or less double, ranging from 31% for rice in the optimistic scenario to 100% for maize in the baseline scenario. (Nelson et. al. 2010 – http://www.ifpri.org/publication/food-security-farming-and-climate-change-2050)
  • Climate change provides a massive and urgent incentive to intensify efforts to disseminate the fruits of past research, to adapt it to farmer contexts in different developing countries, and to put in place the necessary policies and incentives. The benefits of adopting many of the existing technologies could be sufficient to override the immediate negative impacts of climate change. Key messages from the major Foresight project on the Future of Global Food and Farming, lead by Professor Sir John Beddington:
  • Addressing climate change and achieving sustainability in the global food system need to be recognised as dual imperatives.
  • Ambitious, and in some case legally binding, targets for reducing emissions have been set, which cannot be achieved without the food system playing an important part.

There is a clear case for substantially integrating and improving considerations of agriculture and food production in negotiations on global emissions reductions.

The program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is a strategic partnership of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). CCAFS brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research, climate science, and Earth System science, to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security. For more information, visit www.ccafs.cgiar.org.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for sustainable development with the funders of this work. The funders include developing and industrialized country governments, foundations, and international and regional organizations. The work they support is carried out by 15 members of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers, in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector. www.cgiar.orghttp://cgiarconsortium.cgxchange.org.

The Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) was established in 2001 to promote cooperation for the integrated study of the Earth system, the changes that are occurring to the system and the implications of these changes for global sustainability. Bringing together global environmental change researchers worldwide, the ESSP comprises four international global environmental change research programmes: DIVERSITAS; the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP); the International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP); and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). http://www.essp.org/

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development is a network of 34 bilateral and multilateral donors, international financing institutions, intergovernmental organisations and development agencies.

Members share a common vision that agriculture and rural development is central to poverty reduction, and a conviction that sustainable and efficient development requires a coordinated global approach.

The Platform was created in 2003 to increase and improve the quality of development assistance in agriculture and rural development. www.donorplatform.org

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107 thoughts on “New commission confronts threats to food security from ‘climate change’

  1. So we should not even plan adaptation measures just in case the mainstream scientific understanding of climate change is correct?

  2. Nonsense. That commission’s task is to spend money on meetings and salaries. If you want to avert hunger, the path to that scenario is to disband such commissions, smooth the path towards cheap fuel, and then get the hell out of the way.

  3. “Yeah, like they can do anything about it. Here’s an idea. How about more CO2 and less grain use for ethanol and other biofuels?”

    I say, Anthony, that’s a bit harsh. Now these worthies have nothing to talk about on their junkets; you just solved it in a sentence.

  4. The ever expanding bureaucracy is expanding to meet the expanding needs of the ever expanding bureaucracy.

  5. Sir John Beddington chairing this meeting?
    Omigawd.
    Prepare for food rationing proposals …

    No sarc- he really is that bad.

  6. Here’s an idea. Anyone, ANYONE who thinks there will be long range price increases in corn, wheat, cotton, cattle and hogs should get right on down to their local bank and borrow, say, $5,000,000 and get into farming. You’ll need to buy about 3,000 acres in the high plains and work 18 hours a day for 6 months at a time. You’ll also be spending a lot of $$ at the local John Deere dealer, the fertilizer supplier, chemical supplier, etc., etc. Don’t forget about the airplane (you’re not going to be anywhere near a “city”). Don’t forget about the dirt in your teeth. We haven’t even started on the hogs and cattle. Good luck.

    Real farming/ranching is just barrels of fun.

  7. The “key facts” listed are not facts at all but suppositions than are not really supported by the real facts. The real facts are, in a warming climate and increasing atmospheric CO2, crop yields have increased substantially worldwide over the last 50 years. There is the potential for a lot of circular reasoning to occur in that conference.

  8. What is ‘sustainable agriculture’ supposed to mean? This sounds suspiciously like something Prince Charles would have dreamt up. God help us all if these useless bureacrats try to roll back the agricultural advances made by Borlaug.

    Hopefully it is no more than another meaningless ideology, like the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) project. I kid you not – there is such a thing, which I discovered to my bemusement when I opened the cover of my latest accounting magazine. Apparently, it is the development of a system of ‘integrated reporting’ that will embed in annual statments not only measures of financial movements but also environmental consumption. Perhaps they plan to embed the consumption of soil into new sustainable accounts of agribusiness. Nothing would surprise me anymore.

  9. This ought to be interesting. The world’s bureaucrats and their scientific advisers are going to sit around a table and become experts in the fields of food and fibre production then, after peer review, use their collective laptops to create models then spread the word on how they think farmers should farm.

    What’s this one going to be called…………..the consensus science of farming or just simply the consensus of more snouts in the trough?

  10. A 4-degree rise in temperatures will have profound effects on farming, cutting down both the range of potential adaptation options and the efficacy of those options.

    I thought it was freezing conditions that made the tomato prices jump?

    Maybe they need to re-think their models, as we now have flood watches in a drought persistence area in the southeast.

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.html

    http://www.wunderground.com/severe.asp?region=us&setprefs.0.key=SVRMAP&setprefs.0.val=us#gotoMap

  11. If these bozos are worried about food shortages and icreasing prices of foodstuffs, that primarily impact the poor, then maybe they will put 2 and 2 together and make 4 in that burning food in cars is a primary cause of such shortages.

  12. read the UN supports GM and beddington and his buddy King are top promoters.
    the rural funders, and others ie scientific advisors and groups will also be found to have big PHarma backing them.
    what this means is tampered mono crops chem dependant and expensive production, pushing small farmers OUT for bigagri to take over what little is left.
    in spite of flood drought etc it is the TRADING in food stocks thats the biggest cause of starvation and price hikes!
    and using wrming to push it.. gee and what about COLD?
    a damn sight less will grow in cold weather. inc animals.
    Defra took money from Bayer to research bee deaths, a handy way to prevent bayers toxic to bees chem being tested or banned. Defras corrupt.

  13. I am sure that I have read that 40% of the USA grain harvest is earmarked for biofuels, if I have read it and are aware, why the meeting? I couldn’t just be an unjustified junket could it? not in these cash strapped times. There is a revolution coming!

  14. as an aussie, I looked our contribution up.
    NOT a lot to say shes fit to discuss agriculture here…
    Dr Megan Clark is a member of the:

    * Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council
    * Automotive Industry Innovation Council
    * National Research Innovation Council.

    She began her career as a mine geologist and subsequently worked in mineral exploration, mine geology, research and development management, venture capital and technical strategy areas with Western Mining Corporation for fifteen years.

    More recently she was Vice President Technology and prior to that Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment, Community and Sustainability with BHP Billiton. Dr Clark served on the Expert Panel f…..

    hmm?
    like using FlimFlannery or Guano to tell us about AGW unqualified and unbelievable.

  15. More ‘jobs for the boys’ that the rest of us will have to pay for. And pay again for the ‘unintended consequences’ of whatever nonsense policies they decide on.

  16. These comments take cynicism to a whole new level.This reaction was well seeded with the opening statement, as one commentator pointed out. The question must be asked,”If we can’t find the solution to the problem, who can?”

  17. The English response to problems is to write reports and send them to one’s superior.
    Problem-solving is not in the mix, but the ‘superiors’ will have serial and usually useless meetings at very pleasant venues, all of which are catered to a very high standard. To see Sir John Beddington heading this doomed exercise tells me that the ‘solutions’ are pre-ordained; CO2 and Western industry will be the named principal culprit for rising food prices and all currently paying taxes in the UK will be asked to lower our standard of living once more to allow Beddington and his ilk to prosper outrageously.
    ‘Smelly’ is hardly an apt description for this.

  18. Wow, there’s enough gravy in this gravy train to float a battleship!

    This from the UK government’s website:

    Biography John Beddington

    “Sir John Beddington was appointed as Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) on 1 January 2008. Since being in post, the GCSA has led on providing scientific advice to Government during the 2009 swine flu outbreak and the 2010 volcanic ash incident.”

    UK scientific management of both of these was an unmitigated disaster – alarmist thinking and over-reaction led to exaggerated responses and subsequent huge economic costs.

    “Throughout 2008 and 2009 Sir John raised the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of climate change, gaining considerable media attention and raising this as a priority in the UK and internationally”.

    So, an alarmist through and through – no chance then of expecting anything balanced from any entity chaired by this super-bureaucrat.

    The fact that recent extreme weather is probably associate with either strong EL Nino or La Nina events will doubtless not be considered worthy of comment or discussion.

  19. Just a quick nit regarding your line “Here’s an idea. How about more CO2 and less grain use for ethanol and other biofuels?”

    Don’t stop all grain –> ethanol production. Otherwise, where will we get our beer and scotch from? (burning it as fuel is the very definition of alcohol abuse, mind you…)

  20. I smell a rat.
    These people are going to introduce the agricultural policies that Oxfam applied in Africa for the past decades. Sustainable Farming without tractors and combines.

    That policy is very succesfull. Have you ever seen an obese African?

  21. At least the focus is adaptation not mitigation, although as a number of commentors have noted, their basic premise of a 4 degree rise is pretty stupid. Not to mention that fact that no-one knows what that will mean on a local level anyway.

    The CGIAR are all about plant breeding and increased inputs in that will have benefits regardless of what happens to the climate. They have been getting too political lately, but underneath that they have done a decent job for a lot of major crops. In my opinion they are a bit top-heavy in that they focus on rice-wheat-corn too much (there are greater gains to be made in legumes for the same inputs), but this is a legacy of their successes in in the 70s when they were the agency which disseminated the green revolution germplasm.

    I agree this is just a talking shop, but it has been going on for a while and it won’t have thousands of the hangers on like the IPCC meetings.

  22. A ground level observation,
    I am addicted to a bread that has both corn and wheat flour, in February 2010 a loaf of this bread in my local supermarket here in Germany cost 0.64 euros, 91 octane regular gasoline 1.28 euros.
    Today my bread costs 1.87 euros and E10 bio-gasoline costs 1.55 euro’s at my local gas station, above the cash register, is a disclaimer saying that they will not accept responsibility for any damage done to or buy E10 gasoline sold by them, asking why, the manager said that they have to sell E10 its law!

  23. What this ‘commission’ is not saying of course is that their findings and conclusions and recommendations have been worked BEFORE any meetings take place, there will of course be a delay of several very highly paid years while lots of money is spread around very generously to all the participants with expenses and grants to friends and family.

    Evidence will be gathered and vetted and censored with only that which bolster their prejudice and preconceived ideas, there will be media advisers and communications experts doling out press releases for the duration to MSM hacks all too ready and eager for their ration of ready made copy.

    These people have nothing to offer and only failed ideologies to peddle, a socio political narrative nurtured post WW2 by people who will not learn from past mistakes. Predictions made on faulty assumptions will always be wrong, we cannot know with any certainty what the global temperature will be in a century and frankly it simply does not matter.

    What matters now more than anything else is technological evolution, the construction of free trade free market capitalism and the strategic planning of where new farmlands could be developed. Socialist policies and aims will surely fail, they have always failed, they will not provide the answers only massive problems. We do not need pessimism, ignorant scaremongering and Jobes comforters, they will fail us even before they sit down. What we need is to set capitalism free while providing the structures that the free market needs to thrive and the pioneers who are willing to sweat and toil to make our dreams come true, the future is built by determination and toil and sweat not by turgid ignorant cowardice dressed up as wisdom.

    People can and will adapt and thrive given the chance, farmers can and will provide the food given the chance. I cannot believe that the people in power do not realise this, they cannot be that stupid can they? There are so many reasons to be hopeful and positive, the future is bright if only we can shed this cynical pessimism that pervades the corridors of supposed higher learning and power. We have all we need for a wonderful future, our evolutionary and adaptive skills will carry us to new heights if only we can escape this cynical depression and fear of the future.

    We have the tools we need and we are inventing new tools all the time, we are not stone age farmers unable to cope with changing circumstances, we have been gifted with versatile and plastic minds perfectly able to adapt to a constantly changing situation. What we need right now is a positive confidence and an eager determination to face future challenges.

    Imagine we are settlers trying to build a house in a new land, we have the tools and materials to build the house what we lack is the confidence to start building it, there are some who say we why bother? there are others who say why build it because it may fall down, still more say lets give in and go back to where we came from and still others claim that building the house maybe too much trouble. We are being dragged and held back by fear and cynicism dressed up as wisdom, there are those among us who are trying to hold us back, their fear and cowardice and ignorance is enabling them to halt our progress.

    The future is what we make it, we have all we need to build the new modern world. a bright wonderful future full of promise and all we have to do to grasp that future is ignore the cowards and the prophets of doom and the scaremongers and reach out with confidence, nothing can stop us if we try hard enough and have enough courage, our children will face almighty challenges and their children still more and their children will face yet more but that is the true nature of the human race isnt it? We race toward our destiny armed with confidence and a vision of a better world for those who follow and blessed with a courage and love of adventure. We alone decide our fate, for heavens sake lets not be held back any more by those who would have us back in mud huts given the chance, they have held us back for long enough.

  24. A lawyer displays his scientific ignorance.
    Hansen has the answer.
    ——————————————————————
    The GOP’s Climate Anti-Policy
    Jonathan H. Adler • March 11, 2011 9:00 am

    http://volokh.com/2011/03/11/the-gops-climate-anti-policy/

    So what should Republicans be doing on climate change? For years I have been arguing for a combination of policies that would include a) a revenue-neutral carbon tax, like that proposed by James Hansen, offsetting new taxes on carbon with reductions in income or other taxes; b) measures to incentivize and accelerate energy and climate-related innovation, including technology inducement prizes; c) streamlining of regulatory requirements that hamper the development and deployment of alternative energy technologies, including (but not limited to) offshore wind development; d) policies to facilitate adaptation due to the inevitability of some amount of climate change, and e) elimination of policies that subsidize energy inefficiency and excess greenhouse gas emissions, including ill-conceived ethanol mandates (which, among other things, forestall efforts at reforestation). Would this be enough? Maybe not, but it would be a start — and it would be far better than simply stripping EPA of regulatory authority and then hoping the risk of climate change would just go away.

  25. The United Kingdom’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, and his band of Govt. fellow travellers on the global warming train forecast that the Cairngorms arctic environment had diminished to the point of no return and that rare flora and fauna would soon be lost from these islands.
    Excerpt from the Aviemore ski report which was closed today due to heavy snow drifts – in Scotland, in March.

    “The Ops team have accessed the mountain now. It is looking very good for tomorrow(with forecasted light winds but maybe some heavy snow) . Nearly all runs are full with windblown powdery snow, which the machines are now dozing and grooming. Fantastic top to bottom skiing. The team are digging out the tunnel mouth and top building and they should be clear by the end of the day. There may be a delay in opening the West Wall side until it is assessed for avalanche risk.”
    The man is a total idiot serving a bunch of fools. He is still promoting the BSE scare amongst other failed prophesies of doom

  26. R. de Haan says:
    March 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I smell a rat.
    These people are going to introduce the agricultural policies that Oxfam applied in Africa for the past decades. Sustainable Farming without tractors and combines.

    That policy is very succesfull. Have you ever seen an obese African?
    ====================================================

    Nope. Well, Idi Amin had some girth, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

    For those interested, here is a nice (yet simple) food to population comparison.

    http://www.pregnantpause.org/overpop/foodfao.htm

    Notice the trends.

    Go here to run down all sorts of food stats, but, remember the source.

    http://www.fao.org/corp/statistics/en/

    Go here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich (notice the graph….where have we seen that before?) and
    here, ….. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_malthus

    To see the reasoning behind such misanthropy.

    The food shortage is purposeful and intentional. For people worried about heat and plant growth, consider jungles. I’ve never seen it too hot to grow plants. I’ve seen it too dry and I’ve seen it too wet, but I’ve never seen it too hot.

  27. Proffesor Sir John Beddington is just the right man, being Professor of Applied Population Biology. I think this title apply to human population too.

    Of course they won’t talk about the real issues, like all the food produced to fuel cars or the increasing signs for an imminent global cooling during the coming decades.

    Up to fight and exopose people such as Beddington, King and Achim Steiner from UNEP.

  28. Dr. Megan Clark can help Michael Mann with the hole he is busy digging for himself.

    A 4 degree rise may well have the effects suggested;- but how many sensible people think that is what will happen?

  29. Nary a word about biofuels?

    Apparently real solutions to real problems aren’t as lucrative as the climate change bogeyman.

  30. They pay lip service to “increased production of food, fibre and fuel”, and helping “decrease poverty”, but the goal, as always with these eco-nutty professors is making the world “safe” from the evil C02 monster. To their way of “thinking”, since manmade climate change/chaos/disruption/disaster will create problems with food supply then it does no good to try to combat food shortages, poverty, etc. without also combatting the climate change boogieman. These Greenie nitwits will, if allowed, therefore create the very problems (poverty, lack of food, etc.) they claim to be concerned about. They are, in fact, a danger to humanity.

  31. Just on the horizon now is really bad news for food production.

    Water has been mined from aquifers so old that the water is called ‘fossil water’. These deep aquifers contain trapped water and do not replenish from rain.

    They are running dry.

    Read a very good article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/8359076/US-farmers-fear-the-return-of-the-Dust-Bowl.html

    and here

    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Aquifer_depletion

    or just Google ‘Fossil Water’ you can add ‘cubic kilometers’ to that and see how much is being extracted to ‘turn the deserts green’. Unfortunately, the water is running out – rapidly.

    T Boone Pickens was not buying sites for windfarms – he was buying land over the Ogallala Aquifer that has been used to support grain and cattle in Texas. He intends to use the easements (claimed to be for power lines from the wind farms) for water pipes to Dallas – where he will sell the water. So the residents will be able to have showers but may not be able to afford food.

    China has restarted damming projects – not for hydroelectricity although that may be a side effect but to save water as they are rapidly running out.
    “At the start of the 21st century, 49 countries with around 35 percent of the world population were believed to have less than 2 000 cubic meters of renewable freshwater available per capita per year, implying water scarcity or chronic shortage. Major nations in the list include India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya. Northern China also faces major shortages.”

    http://www.ourplanet.com/aaas/pages/natural03.html

    With this background, it stands to reason that a ‘UN Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change’ would be concerned about CO2 emissions when higher levels of CO2 reduce plants’ need for water and increase their drought resistance. Doing precisely the wrong thing appears to be so common with actions by the UN that one starts to wonder if it is intentional.

  32. Hugh Pepper says:
    March 11, 2011 at 7:40 am

    These comments take cynicism to a whole new level.This reaction was well seeded with the opening statement, as one commentator pointed out. The question must be asked,”If we can’t find the solution to the problem, who can?”
    Which problem? The real one (poverty, hunger, lack of clean water, etc.), or the imaginary one of manmade climate change?
    Hint: Working on real problems will get you real results.

  33. Elizabeth says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Nary a word about biofuels?

    Apparently real solutions to real problems aren’t as lucrative as the climate change bogeyman.
    ———————————————————————
    Just corn and just the U.S. alone. I believe if they followed Anthony’s advice, “How about more CO2 and less grain use for ethanol and other biofuels?”, we wouldn’t have a discussion about food shortages or prices.

  34. Pamela Gray says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Nonsense. That commission’s task is to spend money on meetings and salaries. If you want to avert hunger, the path to that scenario is to disband such commissions, smooth the path towards cheap fuel, and then get the hell out of the way.

    Hear, hear! Exactly right.

  35. They failed with global warming, ocean acidification and sea level rise. This is the next scam, caused by the drive to produce fuel from agriculture, caused by the global warming scam.

    Beddington has had his sticky fingers and greedy snout in the trough throughout.

    Do NOT trust him to do anything, apart from line his own pocket

  36. Beddington?

    Groan, went to LSE, he’s chaired DEFRA = he’s like a [as good as] banker, oh………………….. wrong consonant.

    Stop planting food crops and processing such for fuel, teach Africa to feed itself – get rid of Mugabe, then, Zimbabwe can feed Africa.

  37. I got to Beddington and read no further, guarenteed solution with be GM crops and forced vegetarianism.

  38. What Pamela said! (@6:27)

    That 4 degrees sounds good though. Then I might be able to grow a few tomatoes and/or source food locally from young and energetic hobby farmers. Our valley supports a large grass crop, exported as hay, but eating the stuff isn’t to my liking.

  39. Save the people of the world? Easy. Eradicate bureaucracy. Don’t feed them, they only grow larger. Sooner or later bureaucracies always strangle the society that they “manage”. We must cut off the money and starve them out. They can not feed themselves. It is them or death for everyone. All civilizations die when the bureaucrats gain complete control. Bureaucrats think that all will be wonderful if they just had a little more control to use their elite capabilities to guide how everyone else lives.

    The concept of “MORE” must be eradicated to free the potential of all people to create and prosper. pg

  40. “A 4 degree rise may well have the effects suggested”

    A 4 degree rise will increase evaporation, leading to increased rainfall. It has to, as the water has to return to earth eventually. Warmer temperatures accompanied by increase rainfall will turn deserts into jungles.

    This is really what worries a lot of folks at the top. A warming planet will produce a lot more food, allowing for a lot more people. What they would really like to see is a lot less people.

  41. Ian W says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

    “Doing precisely the wrong thing appears to be so common with actions by the UN that one starts to wonder if it is intentional.”
    ========================================

    I used to wonder, too. I’ve come to the conclusion that no otherwise clear thinking individual would engage in so many massively stupid actions. It must be intentional because it isn’t rational to ascribe ignorance and stupidity to so many re-occurring actions.

  42. Can this CIGAR Research Program commission be defunded even before the cash starts burning this time? Without a single word on biofuels, this commission may be worse than IPCC, a direct attack on our food.

    Learn.
    NEVER TRUST THE U.N.

  43. Thermal depolymerization + bureaucrats = energy problem solved

    No more shifting food production land to biofuels, “peak oil” becomes a nonsequitur. And since bureaucrats are — sadly — an endlessly renewable resource, it’s very green.

  44. James Sexton says:
    March 11, 2011 at 10:33 am
    Ian W says:
    March 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

    “Doing precisely the wrong thing appears to be so common with actions by the UN that one starts to wonder if it is intentional.”
    ========================================

    I used to wonder, too. I’ve come to the conclusion that no otherwise clear thinking individual would engage in so many massively stupid actions. It must be intentional because it isn’t rational to ascribe ignorance and stupidity to so many re-occurring actions.

    Having met a few young people who had their hearts set on working for the United Nations, I can tell you that it is quite possible it is a result of pure ignorance and stupidity.

    Try to imagine a world where the international body where nations settle their grievances and which itself tries to issue edicts/rules to prevent international problems functions more like a cult wherein young and naive people are seduced by the notion that if they work for the United Nations then they are true humanitarians doing the lords work.

    Yes, it is that bad.

  45. Our crops already grow in areas with a much bigger temperature difference than 4C. So, even today’s technology is not affected by the change they stated.

    But, more important is they appear to assume we will make no future advances in hybrids. Almost 40 years in the future and they think we can’t figure out how to grow plants in a slightly warmer climate? What a bunch of technology-challenged idiots.

  46. I think it is quite right that they should look at the effect of climate change – sorry, is it still called that this week? – on food production. Just a shame they seem to be looking at the temperature going up rather than the much more likely down – that’s when the problems really start. Just go back to the Little Ice Age – oh, hang on that didn’t happen did it, just can’t find your hockey stick when you need it can you? I still can’t get over all those faked accounts of frost fairs on the fozen Thames in dear old London town….

  47. Is anyone old enough to remember “Parkinson’s Law” by the English professor C. Northcote Parkinson? It was published in the 1950s. Dig up a copy and study it. It is very funny and very insightful.

    It provides a great extension of Pamela Grey’s comment and an explanation for all those commissions and study panels.

  48. This idea is total rubbish, any agricultural advisor or practitioner knows that a warming world would release so much viable farming land and water resources that our potential to increase food production woiuld be massively enhanced.

    Most knowledgeable farmers, particularly those in mid west USA, South America and Australia fear a warming northern Canada and Russia, as they know they would be totally unable to compete with food produced from those regions.

    It is almost the case, if you were so silly as to believe in AGW, to make the call to halt global warming as it looks like destroying the current competitive ability of farmers to produce food for the world markets.

  49. Do not forget that John Beddington is the person who directed the “research” and the paper “Land Use Futures: Making the Most of Land in the 21st Century”. The scenarios John directed include compulsory mass UK population “dispersal” to the north, forfeiture of property rights, “shared” means of production and fruits of production. Yeah that has worked a treat in the past with only loss of life counted inthe hundreds of millions. The fact that any rational person would put his or her name to such a paper just shows the disconnect between the rent seekers and the peasants. A quote from the paper,

    “In another scenario, the Government redefines land as a national resource and the rights of landowners are balanced with “society’s rights to public benefits from the services produced by it”. Home ownership falls as people begin to embrace the idea of “stewardship” of shared natural resources.”

    See: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7041857.ece

    Sounds like a communists wet dream.

    Oh and here’s another little gem about Mr Beddington from The Times Online, “THE government’s chief scientist and his wife have made £500,000 in the past year in a company overseeing commercial fishing that allegedly threatens one of the world’s most pristine marine environments.”

    Found here:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/earth-environment/article7043938.ece

    A true worthy for the position of chief scientist/Alarmist in Chief who I understand is a population biologist by trade.

  50. Jim_in_TX says:
    Anyone, ANYONE who thinks there will be long range price increases in corn, wheat, cotton, cattle and hogs should get right on down to their local bank and borrow, say, $5,000,000 and get into farming.

    I’m pretty sure we’re going to see those increases. Problem is, the farmers won’t get a penny of it.

  51. Beddington was the man who persuaded Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that ‘Global Warming’ was the greatest danger to mankind, back in the 1980s. On that basis she made him Head of the Met. Office and gave him £150 million to buy the biggest Supercomputer in the UK to forecast global warming for the next century. His supercomputer cannot forecast 6 months ahead – they recently abandoned all attempts to give a winter seasonal forecast – but they want us to believe it will forecast 50 years ahead. After his triumph at the MET office, Beddington went off to create the IPCC and was I believe its first Director? He replaced himself at the MET office with WWFs director of global warming campaigns – since when the MET office has been a global warming lobbyist group – not a weather forecaster.

    After some years at IPCC Beddington left and when it became apparent that Global Warming wasnt working, HE rebranded it ‘Climate Change’.

    He is now fronting for the ‘Crop Protection Association’ – alias Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta and has been all over the UK media in recent weeks telling us that global food security and the threat of starvation is the NEW BIG THING. his answer, courtesy of the CPA is wall to wall use of GM Crops, systemic pesticides and global corporations.

    This man is an utter [snip] who sold his soul years ago. somebody please
    make him shut up.

  52. Vince Causey says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

    What is ‘sustainable agriculture’ supposed to mean? This sounds suspiciously like something Prince Charles would have dreamt up. God help us all if these useless bureacrats try to roll back the agricultural advances made by Borlaug.

    This reminded of an article that portrayed the life of Borlaug and his achievements.
    I don’t have the original to hand but it included references to those of a pious nature that tried to limit his methods in Africa. I did find this that summarises those efforts, in the original that I read there are suggestions of population control. Borlaug himself sums up the actions of office bound activists that impose their world view on countless lives whilst remaining safely tucked up in their own comfortable world.

    Mick.

    Criticism of Borlaug’s Methods

    Over his long career Borlaug saw his Green Revolution go through periods of vast praise and harsh criticism. Initially, when applied carefully to the most suitable lands (especially lands easily irrigated), crop increases were spectacular. By the mid-1970s about 90 percent of Mexico’s wheat crop was made up of HYVs, and in Asia and North Africa 35 percent of the wheat and 20 percent of the rice was HYV. At first, crop yields were up to 400 percent larger than with traditional varieties, but within a few years yields had dipped by nearly half. In part this was caused by bad weather, but energy prices were driving up the cost of fertilizers (so that less was used), and pests were finding the new cultivation methods to their advantage. Because they were both energy and labor intensive, the new crop varieties crowded out small farmers who could not afford to raise them. It was even charged that crop innovations made social conflict more certain by widening the gap between the rich and the poor farmers of the world. During the 1980s environmentalists criticized Borlaug’s high-yield dependence on inorganic fertilizers and effectively pressured donor countries and philanthropic organizations to back away from such programs in Africa. Borlaug responded by saying, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/norman-borlaug

  53. Ambitious, and in some case legally binding, targets for reducing emissions have been set, which cannot be achieved without the food system playing an important part.

    What does this statement mean? It simply doesn’t make sense. I think that they mean that as a result of their stupidity, in setting legally binding (and unnecessary) emissions targets, they now face problems in providing food for the people they are starving. Well please forgive me but isn’t the goal to starve a few billion to death?

    Douglas

  54. Hugh Pepper says:

    “The question must be asked, ‘If we can’t find the solution to the problem, who can?’ ”

    Hugh, the answer to this growing problem is the free market. Government regulations and commissions block the free market from operating properly. Minimal regulation is necessary to require a level playing field and to assure food safety. But the current and proposed government restrictions are the cause of any shortages, not the solution.

    The government even pays farmers not to farm. Is that insane, or what?

  55. The first sentence in the report says it all.
    This looks like the fraud of climate change is being used as a power grab to take over the food supply. If there are shortages in food it will be because government programs caused it not the climate. The power to regulate crops and redistribute food internationally not by the market but by government is too much power in the hands of politicians and regulators.

  56. Mike says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:16 am
    So we should not even plan adaptation measures just in case the mainstream scientific understanding of climate change is correct?
    ___
    Not according to the AGW skeptics. In their world view, CO2 is a minor trace gas that only rises in response to warming but never the other way around. According to them, adaptation or mitigation or any money or effort spent related to climate change caused by the 40% rise in CO2 is a waste of money, or worse. At the very most, some skeptics might concede that CO2 causes “some” warming, but that warming will be good because it will hold off the next advance of the glaciers. IMO, such thinking will seem as absurd ten years from now as it does now when someone tells you that smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

  57. I think the coded meaning of “Sustainable farming” is farming without the use of synthetic oil based fertilizers.

    Inorganic fertilizer is often synthesized using the Haber-Bosch process, which produces ammonia as the end product. This ammonia is used as a feedstock for other nitrogen fertilizers, such as anhydrous ammonium nitrate and urea. These concentrated products may be diluted with water to form a concentrated liquid fertilizer (e.g. UAN). Ammonia can be combined with rock phosphate and potassium fertilizer in the Odda Process to produce compound fertilizer.

    The use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers has increased steadily in the last 50 years, rising almost 20-fold to the current rate of 100 million tonnes of nitrogen per year.[4] The use of phosphate fertilizers has also increased from 9 million tonnes per year in 1960 to 40 million tonnes per year in 2000. A maize crop yielding 6-9 tonnes of grain per hectare requires 31–50 kg of phosphate fertilizer to be applied, soybean requires 20–25 kg per hectare.[5] Yara International is the world’s largest producer of nitrogen based fertilizers.[6]

    The biggest users are China & Usa. Without synthetics crop yeilds will fall by about 3/4 go figure what that will do to food prices, also the price of Nitrogen is linked to the oil price if fuel prices double so does the fertilizer price ans so does the food price.

    Start a garden if you have a plot of land and see if you can actually produce a usefull ammount of food from it.

  58. R. Gates says:

    “In [skeptics'] world view, CO2 is a minor trace gas that only rises in response to warming but never the other way around.”

    First part is correct, CO2 is a minor trace gas. Second part is a strawman argument, and wrong.

    In my experience most scientific skeptics [the only honest kind of scientist] agree that more CO2 results in some minuscule warming. But there are diminishing returns.

    A major fraction of the warming over the past century and a half is due to the planet’s entirely natural emergence from the LIA. The warming attributable to CO2 is inconsequential. And it’s all good.

    The busybodies in these commissions are meddling in affairs that are no business of the federal government. They need to butt out and spend some time reading the Constitution. These issues are reserved to the States, and the federal government is specifically excluded.

  59. Never mind a UN attack on our food supply,the price of beer is rising so the revolt will be on.

  60. R. Gates says: March 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm
    Mike says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:16 am
    So we should not even plan adaptation measures just in case the mainstream scientific understanding of climate change is correct?

    [Not according to the AGW skeptics. ------In their world view, CO2 is a minor trace gas that only rises in response to warming but never the other way around. According to them, adaptation or mitigation or any money or effort spent related to climate change caused by the 40% rise in CO2 is a waste of money, or worse. At the very most, some skeptics might concede that CO2 causes “some” warming, but that warming will be good because it will hold off the next advance of the glaciers. IMO, such thinking will seem as absurd ten years from now as it does now when someone tells you that smoking doesn’t cause cancer]
    —————————————————————————-
    R Gates. So you speak for all sceptics with these several largely inaccurate points.

    1) So in their ‘world’ sceptics don’t agree that co2 is a greenhouse gas. Wrong.
    2) You lump adaption with mitigation. Wrong. They are separate issues and sceptics respond variously to these two ideas for action.
    3) Warming is good will hold off the advance of glaciers. Whoever said that Mr Gates?
    4. Such thinking is as absurd as someone saying smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

    The analogy with cancer is absurd. Whether people in the past knew or believed that lung cancer was caused by smoking was a problem that was a matter of personal choice affecting (essentially) that person’s health. It is now proven that smoking does cause lung cancer but people are still free to smoke if the wish and some do. It is still a matter of free choice.

    Forcing so called climate change by eliminating emissions of co2 is a totally different level of interference that is not a matter of individual choice but a totalitarian action imposed upon the world at large without a shred of evidence to say that it (co2) will cause CGW.

    Co2 in the atmosphere is a beneficial gas. Life would not exist on this planet without it. But the ideal level of co2 in the atmosphere has not been determined by anyone as far as I am aware. We do know that plants thrive of much higher levels of co2 in the atmosphere. We do know that a warmer climate is beneficial for plant and animal life. Where is the evidence to say that co2 will cause catastrophic warming Mr. Gates? Can you show it?

    But the measures being advocated by the ‘warmists’ will lead to certain hardships to many people of the world. Reducing energy supply by closing down coal fuelled power stations will lead to lower productivity in Europe and the US. The production of bio-fuels using corn as a feedstock deprives people of food. So according to you Mr Gates, the precautionary principle must be invoked even when there is no reason to invoke it. Therein lies madness.

    Douglas

  61. Members share a common vision that agriculture and rural development is central to poverty reduction, and a conviction that sustainable and efficient development requires a coordinated global approach.>>>

    Yes, we’ve seen such tremendous success with central planning at the national level, it makes SO much sense to see how well it scales to the global level. Hey, I know, let’s call it a 5 Year Plan!

  62. There is a clear case for substantially integrating and improving considerations of agriculture and food production in negotiations on global emissions reductions.>>>

    Well let’s see if we can come up with a few ideas to help them out. What kinds of things could help produce more food?

    More CO2! Yes, that’s known to improve crop yields.

    More Greenhouses! Yes, they keep the crops inside them warmer and result in higher crop yields. Hey! Here’s an idea! Turn the whole planet into a giant greenhouse! How much CO2 would we need?

    No more biofuels! We need to burn the oil they are replacing to make CO2, but just as important, we need to stop burning food.

    We need to expand our arable land too. Easiest way would be too take the marginal land that’s right on the snow line and move it…nah, too much work, no place to put it…I know! Move the snowline! already got the global greenhouse thing going, should be able to push the snow line back too!

    Fertilizer! Need to uptick our use of that for certain. I hear they are shoveling the stuff into big piles in Copenhagen, is anyone making any plans to spread it on the crops? Not much other use for it.

    Recycle. For example, what could we do with those see through plastic scientists at the conference? Bing! Obvious! They’re plastic AND they’re see through. Teach them how to stack themselves up in pyramids and we can fly them anywhere in the world to turn that needs instant warming. Hot air, greenhouse walls, and fertilizer production easily assembled and taken down again when no longer needed.

    Hi hear the polar bears are in dire straights. First assignment?

  63. Thanks Roger Knights for the link.

    But to save anyone the effort of actually ordering a book let me say that Parkinson used history, logic, and mathematics to prove that administrative bodies will grow in size between 5.17 and 6.58 percent a year, “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done”.

  64. Beddington is a complete bozo. Andrew with Fred Singer made him look like what he is: A total nut job. I have never seen a more pathetic interview than the one he gave about 18 mnth ago.

  65. @davidmhoffer says: “More CO2! Yes, that’s known to improve crop yields.”

    Only in the narrowest sense. Crops also need H2O. Climate change has been been linked to an increase in droughts and is projected to greatly increase the risk of severe droughts. Higher night time temperatures have reduced rice yields. Rising sea levels will likely disrupt rice production in areas like the Mekong Delta. The productivity of the world’s oceans and lakes may drop from higher temperatures, less turnover and increased acidity.

    Every course of action or inaction comes with a complex set of trade offs, risks and uncertainties. But, it is foolish to ignore science when you don’t like what it says.

  66. Mike says:

    “Only in the narrowest sense.”

    Every link you posted was only a prediction. Based on the abysmal predictive failures of computer models in general and the CO2=CAGW crowd in particular, anyone who believes those links is a sucker.

    BBC: Rice yields ‘to fall’ under global warming Pure conjecture. Links with “Sustainable” in the article are coming from far left field; they have a totalitarian objective that you fell for.

    Only a fool claims that CO2 doesn’t enhance plant growth. A few examples:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5

    You linked to political propaganda sites that are pushing an agenda. I provided science-based links. I think you might get traction at the realclimate echo chamber. But not here. Unlike the globaloney blogs realclimate and climate progress, this is the internet’s “Best Science” site, so you’re not going to make any headway pushing your “sustainable,” “robust” politics. Who are you trying to kid?

  67. Douglas says:
    March 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    “So according to you Mr Gates, the precautionary principle must be invoked even when there is no reason to invoke it. Therein lies madness.”

    ____
    I’ve never been a proponent of invoking “the precautionary principle” as reflected in advocating any specific environmental law, regulation, taxation, or technology in trying to fight AGW. I specifically am more concerned about technological fixes (i.e. altering the ocean chemistry, seeding the atmosphere with sulfur etc.) to said problem, as those could not only be costly, but could have a range of unintended consequences.

  68. Smokey says:
    March 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Only a fool claims that CO2 doesn’t enhance plant growth. A few examples:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5

    You linked to political propaganda sites that are pushing an agenda. I provided science-based links. I think you might get traction at the realclimate echo chamber. But not here. Unlike the globaloney blogs realclimate and climate progress, this is the internet’s “Best Science” site, so you’re not going to make any headway pushing your “sustainable,” “robust” politics. Who are you trying to kid?

    Who is being fooled is debatable. A lot of peer reviewed articles have been written about the impact of CO2 and the resulting climate change , on crop yields. In the short term there may be some gains in some areas, but in most cases the increase in temperature and problems with drought, excessive rain and nutrient limitations will overwhelm the effects of increased CO2.

    http://royalsociety.org/General_WF.aspx?pageid=7317&terms=

    Your first link shows increase growth of an evergreen tree in a greenhouse What happens to a mature tree under field conditions, after the effects of CO2 on climate change is different as we know. Look at the case of lodgepole pines in the American West, which are being decimated because of milder winters creating a plague of pinebark beetles.

    Your remaining links do not look at the frequency of occurrence of extreme events, enhanced weed growth, and increases in insect pests, all of which create the detrimental effects ofclimate change on crop yields. If temperatures exceed certain maximum values, some crops are wiped out. This happened to wheat in the Russian heat wave.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2008/05/28/how-global-warming-will-hurt-crops

  69. Smokey: I will present evidence that you are in denial.

    1. On the BCC story you read only the headline. The first sentence states: “Scientists found that over the last 25 years, the growth in yields has fallen by 10-20% in some locations, as night-time temperatures have risen.” It goes on like that. Only someone in denial stops reading when they find what they wanted to find.

    2. Your second link is an interesting poster about CO2 ONLY. That is not the issue. It is the other effects of GHG that are at issue. You are blind to this. That is what denial does to a person’s mind.

    3. Your third link seems confirms that dryness reduces yield more that CO2 increases it.

    4. Same as 2. The issue is not CO2 per sa. It is the overall impact of climate change.

    5. CO2Science is a politically motivated site with connections to the Western Fuels Association, the Summit Power Group and ExxonMobel. But, more importantly, the data sheet you linked to only shows that CO2 can enhance plant growth. That is not the issue. I never said CO2 cannot enhance plant growth.

    My first link goes to a NASA study about current plant growth. The second to an University Corporation for Atmospheric Research study that links to the peer reviewed article. The third to the BBC which discusses several research projects about current and possible future rice yields. The forth is to the International Rice Research Institute. Maybe it is a left wing front group, but I don’t see any obvious evidence for that. Their report should be evaluated on it merits. The fifth was to a UN report posted on an advocacy’s group site. You can go to the UN report itself. It is not peer reviewed science – it is a technical report, and should be read as such. But do read it. Think it about. There may be flaws in it as in any source. But I have presented a fairly board range of sources making the case that climate change is likely now negatively affecting food production and is very likely to do even more so in the coming decades. For your part, you focus on the wrong question: the effect of CO2 in isolation from climate change and ocean acidification. Are you just playing a shell game or are you in denial?

  70. This not what it seems, rather it is more desperate maneuvering to emplace substitute polices for the failed agreements at copencun. Note that they imprudently mention that the last time food prices weresimilarly volatile was during the 1974 oil crisis! Exactly! We are going into self inflicted fuel crisis, both in shuttng down abundant fuel sources and burning food for fuel.

  71. You still refuse to understand agriculture, and that only 2% of the global grain crop is used for ethanol, and you expect me to keep believing you on the climate? I have believed you for a long time, but now that you show that you are unteachable and agenda-driven, I’m going to be skeptical of this site, as well.

  72. Mike says:
    March 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    But I have presented a fairly board range of sources making the case that climate change is likely now negatively affecting food production and is very likely to do even more so in the coming decades.

    Except for one little thing, Mike. History. It tells us all we need to know and whatever computer modeled nonsense you present can’t change one simple fact. The warmer it has been, the more varied and prosperous the biological element has been.

    It’s really quite simple, too. Although there is a limit, in general, the more energy in the system, the better the system performs. We’re not even close to that limit as history informs us. Even a cave man should be able to understand this simple equation.

  73. Steve says:
    March 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm
    You still refuse to understand agriculture, and that only 2% of the global grain crop is used for ethanol, and you expect me to keep believing you on the climate? I have believed you for a long time, but now that you show that you are unteachable and agenda-driven, I’m going to be skeptical of this site, as well.

    Steve, you should be skeptical of most things. Many of us here agree that AGW has big problems, though we don’t all agree on the details.

    While many here refuse to understand the complex ethanol situation, the objections are based on a pretty simple premise. Using an inefficient source for fuel is not a good long term plan. There are also much better sources of bio-fuels that corn.

    In the US I view ethanol as an acceptable short term solution that has had the side effect of reducing foreign imports, increasing GDP and creating a bio-fuel infrastructure. Now, we need to take advantage of that and move to better sources. I hope that the change-over can be smooth and 10 years from now we’ll all be able to agree it has worked out for the best.

  74. Steve: You should be skeptical of a source – mainstream or blog – until it demonstrates that it is open minded and either is not agenda-driven or at least open about its agenda.

  75. Richard M says: March 13, 2011 at 9:08 am “History. It tells us all we need to know …. The warmer it has been, the more varied and prosperous the biological element has been.”

    Current ecological systems – including something we call agriculture – are adapted to current climate conditions. If those conditions change abruptly life will adapt but this may take many thousands of years. So, we may wish to think about how to slow the changes we are causing as well as how we might adapt.

    Also, biological diversity depends on more than warmth. The Sahara Desert is warm but a tad bit dry. Further, I never trust someone whose argument is simply “history says I am right.”

  76. Mike says:

    “…I have presented a fairly board (sic) range of sources making the case that climate change is likely now negatively affecting food production…”

    Mike, look again at the links I posted showing the ramp-up in ag production. This is not an artefact, it is empirical evidence, and it tracks the increase in CO2. The U of Illinois link in its “Key Findings” states:

    Under treatments simulating the atmospheric conditions of 2050:

    • Soybean and corn yields were both significantly greater

    • The nutritional quality of beans and grain were maintained

    • Crop water use decreased, potentially improving drought tolerance but also reducing inputs for regional rainfall

    • In soybean, elevated CO2 stimulated C3 photosynthesis and respiration

    • In corn, contrary to predictions, elevated CO2 increased C4 photosynthesis

    Furthermore, in the CO2 Science link, only the plants beginning with P were listed. You can search for rice if you like. But rice is a grass, and I notice that Kentucky Bluegrass increased by 113.9%. The other links all show real world results from increased CO2. Now, let’s deconstruct the links you posted:

    Your link directly contradict decades of AGW warnings that claimed floods due to more precipitation from increased water vapor would result from global warming. Contrary to those predictions, global relative and absolute humidity is decreasing. If it were not for moving the goal posts and reversing their predictions, the alarmist crowd woudn’t have much to say, would they?

    Your first link is nothing but climate alarmism, and it promotes Bill Nye the Pseudo-Science Guy. The “studies” it cites are nothing but grant trolling. You will note that each of my links shows empirical [real world] experiments. That kind of evidence trumps any “peer reviewed papers” and computer climate models.

    Your second and third links are nothing but crystal ball gazing:

    Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

    Rice yields ‘to fall’ under global warming

    Your link on rice reads exactly like one would expect from a George Soros-funded propaganda organization. It is laughable in its anti-science. Arm-waving about “what if” projections destroys any credibility. Let me repeat: all of my citations were real world experiments showing substantial agricultural productivity due to increased CO2.

    Your final link is titled:

    Share the World’s Resources/sustainable economics to end global poverty

    Don’t shovel that horse manure around here – unless you’re willing to let us “share” your bank account. The corrupt UN is always playing the class envy card, and I know a scam when I see one. “Sharing” the West’s resources is code for “We intend to take what you worked for.”

    As for “sustainable,” it is government policies that have kept a large fraction of the globe impoverished. Want proof? North vs South Korea. Same people, same geography, same culture, just different government policies. South Korea is “sustainable” because it has a free market. North Korea is not sustainable because it is dependent on China for food.

    To summarize: none of your links are based on anything credible. They are CAGW propaganda, which you have obviously fallen for. It would be better for you if you simply looked at the real world results of the numerous reproducable, testable experiments that I posted, instead of swallowing the Big Lie of CAGW. Quit being one of the mindless lemmings like eadler, and think for yorself for a change.

  77. Smokey is not intellectually capable of distinguishing the direct effect of CO2 on plant growth from the net impact of current and likely future climate change. Nothing I or anyone can say will change that.

  78. Warmer winters tends to be wet and don’t last very long. Warm and wet short Winters means greater food production with an early spring start to growth. Colder winters tend to be dry and long. Cold and dry means less food production and a late spring start to growth. This is easy to substantiate. My own uncle added sprinkler irrigation to a crop of alfalfa on top of a rocky hill and increased its yield from one to three cuttings per season. This was easily done as we had very warm winters and early springs back in the 60’s. In the 70’s it was cold and dry, so much so that even cool weather crops like peas hardly stood a chance against the dried up cold weather and didn’t grow tall enough to reach the blades of pea harvesters. In 1973, pea fields were simply plowed under instead of harvested. Unless you had tweasers on your harvester.

    These past 4 years we have gotten colder each Winter, especially late in the Winter season. A neighbor has been trying to grow spring wheat on similar land to that my uncle used in the 60’s. His crop of wheat freezes out every spring, as it will again this year I reckon. And everyone has struggled to get three alfalfa cuttings off fully irrigated land. The crop starts to grow too late in Spring and the Fall freeze up is coming too early to get three cuttings.

    Our time of high yield agriculture production will be substantially curtailed not by CO2-warmed weather or any other cause of warmed weather, but by cold, long Winters, late Springs, and early Fall freezes. Anybody with a lick of sense will know this.

  79. I actually enjoyed Mike’s comment above. Mike states that I am not “intellectually capable of distinguishing the direct effect of CO2 on plant growth from the net impact of current and likely future climate change.”

    Well then, let’s deconstruct Mike’s comment, OK? OK:

    In order to counter Mike’s propaganda links, I posted real world, testable, reproducible evidence showing that more CO2 is beneficial to plants.

    The direct effect of CO2 on plant growth is thoroughly documented in the literature. No credible scientist disputes the fact that increased CO2 is beneficial to plant growth. Owners of greenhouses would certainly not waste money on CO2 enhancement if it didn’t get results. And I know CO2 is beneficial from personal experience: for many years I raised tropical fish in tanks up to 125 gallons. At one point I added a CO2 injection system for the plants. The result was explosive plant growth. And the fish thrived.

    Anyone arguing that CO2 is not good for plants has an agenda that requires them to lie to promote it. Name a scientist who states unequivocally that CO2 is bad for plants.

    Mike’s links are implausible “what if” scenarios. They are not empirical evidence, they are simply bogus CAGW propaganda disguised as science.

    But what do I know, I’m not ‘intellectually capable.’☺

  80. Smokey,

    What you’re talking about is the way it USED to be in the past. Don’t you realize that THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT?

  81. The evidence just keeps coming in.

    Heat Damages Colombia Coffee, Raising Prices

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/science/earth/10coffee.html

    But in the last few years, coffee yields have plummeted here and in many of Latin America’s other premier coffee regions as a result of rising temperatures and more intense and unpredictable rains, phenomena that many scientists link partly to global warming.

    Coffee plants require the right mix of temperature, rainfall and spells of dryness for beans to ripen properly and maintain their taste. Coffee pests thrive in the warmer, wetter weather.

  82. Mike,

    You can’t believe everything you read, particularly the in NY Times.

    Global temperatures have risen by only 0.7°C over the past 150 years. No reasonable person would believe that minuscule blip is going to impair the coffee crop.

    And speaking of regions is meaningless. The hypothesis conjecture is that CO2 will trigger runaway global warming. Regions are always naturally changing; CO2, being global, has nothing to do with it.

    Hey, maybe Tony is right. Maybe this time it’s different.
    [/sarc]

  83. 0.7C is a global average temperature increase. The increase has not been uniform. The increase has been much larger in the Arctic and lower in the Antarctic. Sea surface temperature rise has been less than that over land. The impact of higher temperatures, increased droughts and flooding on agriculture is an empirical fact. (Connecting this to GHG emissions is less certain and does involve modeling studies. However, no one has come up with a plausible model in which increasing CO2 does not lead to global waring and climate change.)

    You are free to ignore the evidence. You are free to ignore science. You are free to rationalize to your heart’s content. But don’t get upset if others find you foolish.

  84. Mike: ‘Further, I never trust someone whose argument is simply “history says I am right.”’

    So, as long as you have computer models you’ll believe that over historical facts?

    It’s a lack of critical thinking capabilities that lead people to accept wild guesses based on limited information over historic facts. Think for yourself, Mike.

  85. Richard: You did not cite any facts. You just asserted history was on your side. I have cited empirical work and computer modeling studies. Computer models have their limitations to be sure, but why ignore such a powerful tool?

  86. Some good news for U.S. wheat!

    With climate change predicted to alter precipitation and raise temperatures in North American grain-growing regions by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius (about 5 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, crops in the future will face dramatically different growing conditions than they do today.

    But a new study shows that over the last century and a half, North American wheat crops spread into regions with even wider temperature and precipitation differences than will arise over the next century. This analysis suggests it will be possible to adapt to new wheat-growing conditions.

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/wheat-climate-change-agriculture-101227.html

    ——————————————————————–
    But things don’t look as good for other crops.

    Yields of three of the most important crops produced in the United States – corn, soybeans and cotton – are predicted to fall off a cliff if temperatures rise due to climate change.

    In a paper published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, North Carolina State University agricultural and resource economist Dr. Michael Roberts and Dr. Wolfram Schlenker, an assistant professor of economics at Columbia University, predict that U.S. crop yields could decrease by 30 to 46 percent over the next century under slow global warming scenarios, and by a devastating 63 to 82 percent under the most rapid global warming scenarios. The warming scenarios used in the study – called Hadley III models – were devised by the United Kingdom’s weather service.

    http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/crop-yields-could-wilt-heat/

    ——————————————————————
    And the world wide outlook for wheat is less optimistic.

    Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — Global warming may help raise the price of crops including corn, wheat and rice by at least two- thirds by 2050, a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute showed.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-12-01/climate-change-may-lift-wheat-corn-prices-by-2050-study-says.html

    ——————————————————-

    Note: These are modeling studies and do come with significant uncertainties. But, that is not a reason to ignore them. We need to take many types of evidence into account in planning for our future as best we can. It makes sense to consider different possible future scenarios and to take actions now to minimize future risks. Of course the economic impacts of mitigation efforts also need to be taken into account. But ignoring what you don’t like is not wise.

  87. Mike says:
    March 13, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Steve: You should be skeptical of a source – mainstream or blog – until it demonstrates that it is open minded and either is not agenda-driven or at least open about its agenda.

    Very true. Which is why RealClimate is the place to avoid. Close-minded, censoring opposing views, and spouting nonsense constantly. If this site were run like RC, your posts would never see the light of day. Same goes for Open Mind, and many others.

  88. Note: These are modeling studies and do come with significant uncertainties. But, that is not a reason to ignore them. We need to take many types of evidence into account in planning for our future as best we can. It makes sense to consider different possible future scenarios and to take actions now to minimize future risks. Of course the economic impacts of mitigation efforts also need to be taken into account. But ignoring what you don’t like is not wise.

    So, Mike. If you believe CAGW is here, and also believe in the Precautionary Principle, why are you still using a computer? Shouldn’t you be living in a cave with no modern conveniences?

  89. Well, given what I’m hearing, I’d say we’re in bad shape. We’ve clearly seen that COLDER = LOWER crop yield. And now I hear that WARMER = LOWER crop yield.

    Either way we’re screwed. Better get the Soylent Corporation on the job before it’s too late.

  90. Mike says:
    March 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm
    Richard: You did not cite any facts. You just asserted history was on your side.

    Well Mike, I assumed you knew at least a little of the well documented and commonly accepted historic views of the biosphere since you somehow felt you could comment on the subject. However, your comment above provides ample evidence you are talking out of your a**. Good luck with that.

  91. Tony: Yes! We are have adapted our agricultural practices to the current climate. If is changes significantly in any direction agriculture will be adversely affected. Thus planning how we might adapt agricultural methods to possible changes and reducing our impact on climate change make good sense.

    Jeff: I have books to read. What will you do?

    More news (a historical study for Richard!):

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/ 2011/ 03/ 110313160025.htm

    Untapped Crop Data from Africa Predicts Corn Peril If Temperatures Rise

    ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2011) — A hidden trove of historical crop yield data from Africa shows that corn — long believed to tolerate hot temperatures — is a likely victim of global warming.

  92. Jeff Alberts says: (March 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm) “…RealClimate is the place to avoid. Close-minded, censoring opposing views, and spouting nonsense constantly. If this site were run like RC, your posts would never see the light of day. Same goes for Open Mind, and many others.”

    I read them all and take all skeptically. They each have their own focuses editorial policies. WUWT is moderated as well and posts are snipped for various reasons. Any blog owner has that right.

    BTW, I convinced RC to include these two links under “Other Opinions”:

    http://www.climateconservative.org/

    http://www.rep.org/

    CP & WUTW declined to do so.

  93. Mike says:

    Jeff: I have books to read. What will you do?

    Who is going to manufacture those books for you? And you didn’t answer the question. Why are you using a computer and contributing to the problem you believe is happening right now?

    I read them all and take all skeptically. They each have their own focuses editorial policies. WUWT is moderated as well and posts are snipped for various reasons. Any blog owner has that right.

    BTW, I convinced RC to include these two links under “Other Opinions”:

    http://www.climateconservative.org/

    http://www.rep.org/

    CP & WUTW declined to do so.

    Did they decline? Or have they not gotten around to it yet? Would those really be “other opinions” from WUWT? Does RC link to ClimateAudit and WUWT, like the latter links to RC?

    WUWT snips severely off-topic and abusive posts, that’s about it. RC deletes or edits scientific rebuttal comments to their posts (which they purportedly welcome, according to their mission statement), and closes comments when they becomes too uncomfortable, effectively sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “lalala I can’t hear you!” Are you skeptical of any RC posts? If so, please tell us which, and give us links to comments skeptical of them you’ve posted. Again, your posts are allowed here, even though some, and my replies, have strayed off-topic.

  94. Jeff asked: Shouldn’t you be living in a cave with no modern conveniences?

    No. I don’t see this as a means to solve any problems. The point is to live well without causing harm to future generations. I drive a hybrid but mostly walk to work. I keep the thermostat low in winter and have put in some replacement windows. I think AGW is real and serious and solvable. I support expanding nuclear power and blame the left for blocking this is the past. We could have much better mpg in our vehicles than we do, and I blame auto companies and their unions for blocking this. I’d like to see expanded use of trains and public transport and blame the right for blocking this. I don’t know if CO2 sequestering can be viable, but I support research in this area. I live in a coal producing region and find the insensitivity of some environmentalists toward the plight of coal miners revolting.

  95. Mike says:
    Tony: Yes! We are have adapted our agricultural practices to the current climate. If is changes significantly in any direction agriculture will be adversely affected.

    RWP, MWP, LIA – we weathered all of those fairly well. It seems to me that if our agriculture has become that fragile over the past couple hundred years (as compared to those periods of NATURAL climate change) then we have much larger problems to worry about than CO2.

  96. No. I don’t see this as a means to solve any problems. The point is to live well without causing harm to future generations. I drive a hybrid but mostly walk to work. I keep the thermostat low in winter and have put in some replacement windows. I think AGW is real and serious and solvable. I support expanding nuclear power and blame the left for blocking this is the past. We could have much better mpg in our vehicles than we do, and I blame auto companies and their unions for blocking this. I’d like to see expanded use of trains and public transport and blame the right for blocking this. I don’t know if CO2 sequestering can be viable, but I support research in this area. I live in a coal producing region and find the insensitivity of some environmentalists toward the plight of coal miners revolting.

    Driving a hybrid, replacing windows, these are pretty meaningless. Someone still has to manufacture the hybrid, and the windows, and the books you read, and the mass transit systems, etc, ad nauseum. And since most of that manufacturing has gone elsewhere (out of the US that is), the problem (if there really is a CO2 problem) is simply moved elsewhere.

    I’m willing to believe there might be a problem, but haven’t seen any evidence, much less convincing evidence, that we’re seeing anything outside natural variability with regard to weather and climate.

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