UPDATE: Willis Eschenbach eviscerates Bill McKibben on the global food production issue here
Despite paid agenda driven bloviations of “Climate-driven food insecurity“, even environmental media king The Guardian sees the real reasons behind it, and it isn’t global warming aka “climate change”. Instead, blame gets squarely placed on weather, a new virulent strain of wheat rust, the U.N.’s policies related to GM regulation, shifting economies, and biofuels.
Here’s some excerpts and rebuttals:
There are several causes of rising prices. First, large-scale disasters have precipitated localised crop failures, some of which have had broad ripple effects – for example, Russia’s ban on grain exports through at least the end of this calendar year resulted from fires and drought.
We know now and for certain that was not caused by global warming, it was simply weather. NOAA’s Climate Science Investigation team came squarely to that conclusion, and found global warming blameless.
Second, deadly strains of an evolving wheat pathogen (a rust) named Ug99 are increasingly threatening yields in the major wheat-growing areas of southern and eastern Africa, the central Asian Republics, the Caucasus, the Indian subcontinent, South America, Australia and North America.
In the FAO 2008 International conference on Wheat Stem Rust UG99 – A threat to food security report (PDF), neither “global warming” or “climate change” are even mentioned in the report. So there appears to be none of the usual irrational “global warming causes everything” linkage, even within the U.N.
Third, rising incomes in emerging markets like China and India have increased the ability of an expanding middle class to shift from a grain-based diet to one that contains more meat.
A lot of this comes from environmental policy, pushing manufacturing jobs there. While the US and EU have gotten cleaner, China and India have absorbed wealth and the manufacturing pollution of the west.
And fourth, against this backdrop of lessened supply and heightened demand, private investment in R&D on innovative practices and technologies has been discouraged by arbitrary and unscientific national and international regulatory barriers – against, in particular, new varieties of plants produced with modern genetic engineering (aka recombinant DNA technology or genetic modification, or GM). Genetic engineering offers plant breeders the tools to make crops do spectacular new things. In more than two dozen countries, farmers are using genetically engineered crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower inputs and reduced impact on the environment.
Irrational green fears of “frankenfood” cause regulation of what they fear most. That affects the poor the most, which are traditionally the ones who vote for the left and their policies.
And finally, the biofuels link:
In fact, the United States and Europe are diverting vast and increasing amounts of land and agricultural production into making ethanol. The United States is approaching the diversion of 40% of the corn harvest for fuel and the EU has a goal of 10% biofuel use by 2020. The implications are worrisome. On 9 February, the US department of agriculture reported that the ethanol industry’s projected orders for 2011 rose 8.4%, to 13.01bn bushels, leaving the United States with about 675m bushels of corn left at the end of the year. That is the lowest surplus level since 1996.
Stop burning food, stop blaming “global warming” for just about everything, and face real problems head on, and the world’s poor might get fed.
Full Guardian article here