Corn up 7% worldwide, Paul Ehrlich of course sees agricultural collapse

While the alarmists wail over 400PPM of CO2, and push doom and gloom crop failure scenarios, in the real world where people risk money and livelihood, the news is far, far, better.



Of course Paul Ehrlich thinks the world will end (again). 


Contemplating Collapse

by Paul Ehrlich

It’s been three months since Anne and I summarized our views on this topic for the Royal Society, and we’ve been pleased that it has generated a fair amount of discussion and particularly, invitations to share our take on the future in various forum in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.  So far the paper has not elicited any significant attacks, save one “rebuttal” based on climate denial that was rejected by a journal.  But it has also not yet generated some of the discussion we might have hoped for, especially on key issues such as how to buffer the global agricultural system against global change so as to retain a real possibility of at least maintaining today’s nutritional situation and steps that need to be taken to increase human security against vast epidemics (such as that which now may be threatened by the H7N9 “bird flu” virus).



I’d love to see him explain how the world agricultural system will collapse in the face of gains like this, it should be entertaining.

Every university has their own nutty professor. As long as people recognize that Paul Ehrlich is just that, and that none of his gloom and doom scenarios have come true, we’ll all be fine.

Ehrlich is the poster child for why tenure shouldn’t be a permanent thing, but one that you have to be reviewed at some interval to keep.

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May 13, 2013 5:11 pm

“… key issues such as how to buffer the global agricultural system against global change…”
How about how to protect the global agricultural system against panic-stricken carbon strangulation policies that would at least drive up all of the input costs (transport, fertilizer, etc) of farming, and in many areas cripple the industry entirely.

May 13, 2013 5:14 pm

OK. So they write a paper. Then they get to travel to cool places (Australia is cool, right?) and explain what they said. Sounds like a pretty neat idea. Wonder if I could get a similar gig writing about wine-making.

John Bills
May 13, 2013 5:20 pm
Ian H
May 13, 2013 5:21 pm

And how much of that corn will go to make biofuel. Perhaps food production is not up after all since we now burn a significant fraction of what we produce.

May 13, 2013 5:24 pm

Good news for all those who live on a few dollars a day or less.
It’s worth pointing out that an important limitation on food production is the cost of energy for irrigation, fertilizers, food storage, etc.
Those wish to increase the cost of energy are making millions to go hungry.

May 13, 2013 5:27 pm

It’s too soon to tally this year’s corn crop. The cooling in Minnessota and adjacent parts of the upper Midwest could make their growing season too short for corn. The seed companies may have been fooled by the global warmers into thinking that abnormally long growing seasons will continue. Farmers could find themselves with immature corn when the frosts hit this fall.

Jim B in Canada
May 13, 2013 5:27 pm

Trivia Question for all you WUWTer’s what year did Professor Paul R. Ehrlich write:
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate…” ?
The answer of course is EVERY YEAR. 🙂

cui bono
May 13, 2013 5:32 pm

Paul Ehrlich FRS, please.
See how much more authoritative his doom sounds now?
Oh good grief…

Eve Stevens
May 13, 2013 5:35 pm

Sowing the most corn in the US was the plan but since spring has been non existant…it’s not happening anymore.

p@ Dolan
May 13, 2013 5:39 pm

If Paul Ehrlich is soooooo worried about the ability of the people of the world to feed themselves in the face of such imminent disasters as ‘Global Warming’ (setting aside the fact that historically, mankind has benefited greatly from every warming period), the sky falling, or whatever other panic-attack he’s suffering from, he might do us all the favor of achieving voluntarily discorporation, which would save a seat at the table for someone more deserving (or at least more congenial—I mean, wow: what a buzz-killer he is…)…
I’m just sayin’….

May 13, 2013 5:50 pm

Of course Ehrlich predicts collapse, it’s a psychological necessity for him: he’s predicated his existence on the prospect of mass starvation and eagerly awaits the Malthusian apocalypse for which he is the John the Baptist figure.

Bill Illis
May 13, 2013 5:51 pm

Corn is a C4 grass and, therefore, increased CO2 won’t help it much except in very, very dry conditions.
Wheat, Barley, Rice and Potatoes are C3 plants and will benefit greatly from increased CO2, especially in dry conditions.
That’s the big 5.

May 13, 2013 5:53 pm

Past quotes from Dr Paul Ehrlich:
A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.
Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.
Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.
Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years. (Earth Day 1970)
By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s. (Earth Day 1970)

William Sears
May 13, 2013 5:56 pm

Removing tenure wouldn’t have the effect that you think that it would. It would make it harder for other professors to speak out against Ehrlich and would give the faculty unions more, not less power.

Vangel Vesovski
May 13, 2013 5:57 pm

How ironic. Ehrlich could wind up being right because global cooling trends make it harder to plant on time and frost may damage yields. If he is right the AGW movement might take a huge hit. What exactly is the problem with that?

Pat Frank
May 13, 2013 6:07 pm

It’s not that Paul Ehrlich’s tenure should be reviewed. It’s that no one should take him seriously.
The problem is that he has the ear of policy-makers. It’s secular religion. The guys yelling repent the end is near were respected figures in the prior societies hag-ridden by superstition. The common mentality gave them credibility. Now they’re relegated to street corners and soap-boxes. That’s where Paul Ehrlich should be. But policy-makers are seduced by a brand of religious thinking that takes on the disguise of modern reasoning. The fault is theirs, not Paul Ehrlich’s.
Paul Ehrlich’s assumptions are nonsense, but the external form of his reasoning has an analytical facade. He’s a soap-boxer yelling repent. But his high language flummoxes policy-makers, who typically have little analytical skill. Their lack of understanding means they can’t see through foolishness and can’t stand up to academic doomsayers.
So policy-makers take the easy route and let themselves be spooked by modernist scare stories. Better to give in to stories about bad times, because if the bad times do come you’ve covered your backside, and if they don’t come no one cares if their leader was stupid. So, policy-makers and governors go off into alarmist never-never land, just as their predecessors did, getting spooked by soap-boxer warnings that the crops failed because they had made god (climate) angry.
This combination of weaknesses has made policy-makers incompetent. We all know that the frantic fear of global warming would be over the day after a full-fledged engineering report came out about the reliability of climate models and about the measurement error of historical surface temperature sensors. Policy-makers should have demanded those studies 20 years ago. But they didn’t because they are functionally incompetent. They lack the mentality to think to the standards of a techno-scientific age. So, honestly, does Paul Ehrlich.
So there’s the problem, folks: mediocre hag-ridden medievalesque mentalities running things in a scientific age. They can’t keep up.

May 13, 2013 6:07 pm

We have lots of food on this planet but some people still starve to death every year. We have lots of energy on this planet but some people still freeze to death in the winter. The system of distribution is broken, not the means of production.
Why is that? What is it about the way that resources are distributed that lead to starvation when there is an abundance of food?

May 13, 2013 6:14 pm

Did anyone else notice the subtle amplification of the slur “climate change deniers” to “climate deniers?
“So far the paper has not elicited any significant attacks, save one “rebuttal” based on climate denial that was rejected by a journal….

May 13, 2013 6:30 pm

You should always keep a few lunatics in your circle of friends. When the lunatics begin to make sense, you will know that there is deep trouble and that should seriously start looking at a change of venue.

May 13, 2013 6:32 pm

Who gives a blurry frock what Paul Error-like says? He’s like a roulette player using a martingale strategy. “Croupier, another five hundred on Doom, please…Oh, dang, lost again.” And again. And again. Anyone who believes him is delusional.

May 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Pat Frank says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm
Thread winning comment.

May 13, 2013 6:50 pm

After his “Population Bomb” bomb, a lot of people consider him to be irrelevant. Not worth even a comment on his work.
I noticed that he claimed that 90% of the people favored the Obama gun control effort. That’s obviously false. Politicians are always testing which way public opinion is trending. Very few politicians would vote contrary to 90% of his constituents. Remaining a part of the ruling class trumps principle in most cases. No legitimate poll could come up with 90%. Maybe it was 90% of a very carefully selected sample.

May 13, 2013 6:52 pm

I am still trying to figure out what global epidemics such as H7N9 or any other version of the bird flu have to do with nutrition and global food supply. Talk about changing the subject!!!

Richard of NZ
May 13, 2013 7:01 pm

Bill Illis says:
May 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm
Corn is a C4 grass and, therefore, increased CO2 won’t help it much except in very, very dry conditions.
Wheat, Barley, Rice and Potatoes are C3 plants and will benefit greatly from increased CO2, especially in dry conditions.
Historically all food grains were referred to as “corn”. What USians call “corn” is a contraction of “indian corn” or what the rest of the world calls “maize”. The article quoted in the beginning of this post specifically notes that wheat and coarse grains, such as maize, are predicted to have a bumper harvest.

May 13, 2013 7:12 pm

Suddenly I feel a modicum of respect for Harold Camping, who at finally (granted, after 4-5 missed Apocalypses/Apocalypsii/whatever) noticed the world wasn’t ending, and even apologized.

Kevin Kilty
May 13, 2013 7:12 pm

No variable correlates more closely to the size of corn harvest than acres planted.

May 13, 2013 7:27 pm

Beware of the Malthusians!

May 13, 2013 7:29 pm

Cut to about 3:40 on the video above.

May 13, 2013 7:42 pm

Paul R. Ehrlich.
Born Paul Ralph Ehrlich
May 29, 1932 (age 80)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Noted for his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb.
“In the years since, some of Ehrlich’s predictions have proven incorrect” as noted by Wikipedia.
I will hazard a guess that P.R.E. will die between age 82 and 87.
Want to make a bet ? in Vegas [:)], at the hotel Casino of MY choice ! [no sarcasm just the facts]

Goode 'nuff
May 13, 2013 8:02 pm

2011 was a bin busting record yield even though the US farmers were still planting in the first weeks of June. Soil moisture is turning out to be the main link to success.

Chad Wozniak
May 13, 2013 8:20 pm

Unfortunately, Ehrlich isn’t the only ignorant, delusional, mean-spirited fanatic inhabiting the universities. He’s got lots of company there.
It’s odd that so many people will listen to this wacko – or maybe it isn’t so odd, after all

May 13, 2013 8:26 pm

Between US politics and the destruction of the CAGW meme, there’s one entertaining turn of event after another. I’d call it entertaining, but one has to like sick entertainment for it to qualify.

Torgeir Hansson
May 13, 2013 8:42 pm

This is not so difficult. Most people have experience with getting up in the morning and going through their day. A university professor who claims that this humdrum routine will soon come to an end has novelty value, especially if said professor has the presence of mind to let himself be forgotten now and then.
He’s a huckster. If Mel Brooks dressed him in a crimson tailcoat, and put a little brown bottle in his hand that he could wave in front of the rustic crowd, he’d get and Academy Award.

May 13, 2013 8:43 pm

Adam says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Why is that? What is it about the way that resources are distributed that lead to starvation when there is an abundance of food?


May 13, 2013 8:48 pm

Adam asks “Why is that? What is it about the way that resources are distributed that lead to starvation when there is an abundance of food?”
I suspect you could spend a lifetime answering that.

May 13, 2013 9:03 pm

Paul Ehrlich was coming to Adelaide as I was passing through to Kangaroo Island. In the central bus station, I picked up a pre-read copy of the Australian which ran a piece on Ehrlich who was to address an environment group the next day. He was quoted as saying that Australia’s 21 million population was not sustainable. To become sustainable, the population had to be reduced to 10 million population. Government’s job was to promote emigration.
On Kangaroo Island, Genetically Modified wheat grows on scant rainfall. Double bottom grain trailers have a central place on each ferry leaving the island, bound for the mills around Adelaide.
Maybe Paul Ehrlich had tea and toast after his lecture to the Green Club.

May 13, 2013 9:31 pm

You know, we really should be eating *less* corn and planting more diverse crops that are not heavily subsidised by government and lead to corn syrup induced obesity. But whatevs. That’s Bloomberg’s area of social engineering I suppose.

May 13, 2013 9:52 pm

“Goode ’nuff says:
May 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm
2011 was a bin busting record yield even though the US farmers were still planting in the first weeks of June. Soil moisture is turning out to be the main link to success.”
One of the things we have apparently forgotten, or only recently re-learned, is just how soil moisture comes to be. If you take the time to look into it, you will find out just how important it is to plow cellulosic feedstock (e.g. cornstalks et al) back into the soil.
Organic soil matter is key. Ignore that for a few cellulosic ethanol seasons and then check soil moisture.
Do the research. I did for an entirely different (contractual) reason……just sayin’

May 13, 2013 9:58 pm

An ‘inconvenient truth’ (TM) 😛

May 13, 2013 10:09 pm

Pat Frank,
“The guys yelling repent the end is near were respected figures in the prior societies hag-ridden by superstition.”
On of my favorite “Far Side” comics was a one panel deal that had a old man in a white robe wearing a sandwich board sign that read “Repent, the world is never coming to an end.”

May 13, 2013 10:13 pm

OldWeirdHarold says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm
Pat Frank says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm
Thread winning comment.

Roger Knights
May 13, 2013 10:23 pm
May 13, 2013 10:54 pm

Ehrlich is an alarm clock stuck on wrong ever since he started publishing.

Barry Elledge
May 13, 2013 11:00 pm

Adam asks why resources are distributed in a way that leads to starvation when there is an abundance of food.
The fact is that prosperous societies have essentially no starvation and very little malnutrition; and that is true regardless whether they have extensive government welfare programs.
Prosperous societies in turn have respect for private property rights, the rule of law, and something like free enterprise. The more the government attempts to either outright own or attempt to manage the economy, the worse it becomes. At its worst, an intrusive government becomes what Chris4692 answered: a dictatorship.
When that happens, disaster follows. An edifying exemplar is Zimbabwe. Back when it was Rhodesia, it was known accurately as the breadbasket of Africa; food was produced in great surplus and exported throughout southern Africa. Independence brought the rule of Robert Mugabe, and year after year his government expanded its power, expropriated the land of white farmers and gave it to Mugabe’s cronies. The Zimbabwean economy now is a shambles, hyperinflation is so massive that the national currency is worthless, and Zimbabwe cannot feed itself. Hunger has driven many poor black Zimbabweans to migrate illegally into neighboring countries to survive. I suspect the average now-impoverished black citizen would jump at the chance to return to the relative prosperity of the old Rhodesia despite its inequities.
The wonderful thing about free markets is that they work everywhere they are tried, regardless of ancestry or culture. Moreover, even a little free market medicine works within a socialist sickbed. China allowed limited and imperfect free market reforms to its stifling communist system, and the results have been staggering: almost 10% yearly growth for more than three decades. The economy has doubled 4 times since free market reforms began; average income per worker has risen 20-fold. India loosened its socialist regime 20 years ago, and it too has begun to prosper. The same with Brazil.
Indeed, I suspect capitalism might even succeed among the British, could they be persuaded to give it a go.
My answer has focused exclusively on the means of producing wealth, because wealthy societies demonstrably solve the distribution problem adequately to prevent hunger. In the US, poor people tend to be fatter than the wealthy; in impoverished countries, the poor are gaunt.
Conversely, in societies which focus on imposing some version of equitable distribution, poverty inevitably ensues. Communist countries are the prime exemplars: today North Korean children and young adults are about half a foot shorter than their South Korean cousins as a consequence of long-term malnutrition. When Mao Tse Tung seized power in China and imposed collectivist agriculture, tens of millions of Chinese starved to death. Similar famine and mass starvation followed Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s. Even Cuba cannot feed itself, despite occupying a well watered tropical island with fertile volcanic soils and highlands which permit growing temperate crops as well as tropical ones.
To bring this argument full circle, if the shining-eyed Paul Ehrlichs of the world were to gain power to impose their vision of de-industrialization and anti-capitalism upon the world, they could quickly achieve the vision of mass starvation which Ehrlich erroneously predicted half a century ago.

Goode 'nuff
May 13, 2013 11:04 pm

You’re absolutely correct, William McClenney.
Q: What’s the difference between a tenured professor and a terrorist?
A: The terrorist, you can negotiate with.

Goode 'nuff
May 13, 2013 11:40 pm

Yeah I’ve been into that organic soil and soil moisture retention. I was into being a vegetarian for a while. That is until a side effect developed, wherever I was sitting or standing for very long I would begin to lean towards the sunlight. I ate so much green stuff I had to tie kerosene rags around my ankles to keep the cut worms from chewing my drawers off.

May 13, 2013 11:50 pm

“But it has also not yet generated some of the discussion we might have hoped for, especially on key issues such as how to buffer the global agricultural system against global change…”
He thinks there is a “global agricultural system” and a threat of climate change. Actually, every grower in each region knows best what to grow and how to grow it. The liberty, judgment, and intelligence of the individual farmer with only a few legitimate speculators (not billionaire commodities manipulators such as GSachs speculating in FOOD) and real market integrity and feedback are the better choice in this case, I think.

May 14, 2013 12:11 am

Lucky you US!
The wet Summers and cold Winters in the UK and Europe have caused crop failures and low harvests for five years now, food prices have jumped hugely because of it.
Here in the agricultural East Yorkshire UK we are at least 4 weeks behind schedule this Spring. We had a week of Spring like weather but it has now departed and it is back to being wet, cold, almost frosty at night. We have the heating back on after just one week of doing without! We have daffodils just coming out whereas usually they are over and done with by the end of April. The crops in the fields around us are stunted, patchy and some fields just never got planted at all. If the Summer continues as last year we really will be in the brown stuff!
Another huge sign of the cold and economic problems we are having due to the enormous hike in energy prices in the UK (green taxes), is that farmers and households are cutting down their trees to burn! Everywhere you walk there are trunks, even thick hedges are being raided; I’ve never known anything like it in my 53 years! Where, just a few years ago there were trees, now there are stumps, very, very sad!
Errr, how much of your corn crop is used for fuel? Biofuel is a scandalous product causing misery and starvation worldwide; if the Professor was really interested in feeding the hungry then he would be fighting against it, but then he’s not is he, as he’s desperate to be proven right…eventually! Narcissism in its purest form!

May 14, 2013 12:57 am

Is that mother of all environmental morons Paul Ehrlich still alive? Perhaps the human body lives for longer in a vegetative state without needing to maintain a brain.

Ian W
May 14, 2013 1:41 am

Adam says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm
We have lots of food on this planet but some people still starve to death every year. We have lots of energy on this planet but some people still freeze to death in the winter. The system of distribution is broken, not the means of production.
Why is that? What is it about the way that resources are distributed that lead to starvation when there is an abundance of food?

To add to what
Barry Elledge says:
May 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm

The other distortion in the market is that foods like grains are now seen as an ‘investment commodity’ by hedge funds/bankers. This was initiated in the US by Goldman Sachs who persuaded the government that maintenance of large grain reserves was not necessary. Now the market cost of corn and other foods is driven by hedge funds. {Google hedge funds corn}. As we have seen recently with such things as the manipulation of LIBOR – banks and traders are not above colluding to rig and skew the market values to make profits with zero concern about the impact in the wider world of the soaring commodity prices.
So – applaud that we have such grain surpluses – but then wonder if like gold, they are only on paper and not rigged as someone prepares to short the bull market in a triggered crash. Because it is still the case that a child dies every 5 seconds from hunger even as someone in Wall St makes a killing on corn futures.

May 14, 2013 2:27 am

A few days ago I posted my graph on reconstructed Central England temperatures to 1538.
I am currently going through 12th 13th and 14th century agricultural records as knowing the price and the nature of harvests is an important part of temperature reconstruction.
Look at the graph. It illustrates frequent huge climate changes within a tight small Medieval world where it was difficult to import stuff from another climatic region should your own crops fail-as they frequently did.
We should take lessons from the past in as much we need a Plan B for cooling AND a plan A for warming, for both will happen, but they will have as little to do with us as climate change has throughout our history. Do these guys ever look at the real historical record? I guess not if Dr Mann’s version of history is still believed.

Mike Ozanne
May 14, 2013 2:58 am

““The guys yelling repent the end is near were respected figures in the prior societies hag-ridden by superstition.””

May 14, 2013 3:01 am

Trouble is that nut cases like Paul Ehrlich dont realise the REAL world we are entering a REAL little Ice Age!! which WILL bring famine to the world food supply. Crop failures and population food problems just like it did in the period 1650 to 1750 and started earlier. Failure to plan for cold is WORSE than heat alarmisim!!

Vangel Vesovski
Reply to  qfrealist
May 14, 2013 7:44 am

“Failure to plan for cold is WORSE than heat alarmisim!!”
That is what gets to me about this comment. So many of the posters have such dislike of the old fraud that they fail to realize that given the advances in planting techniques and technology the only way for him to be right is if crop yields were lowered by extreme cold temperatures. Ehrlich could wind up being totally discredited (again) even if his predictions of a failed crop turned out to be right. Some times I get the impression that we are trying to be as shrill and confused as the alarmists. We should be a lot better and far more thoughtful than that.

A. Scott
May 14, 2013 3:02 am

Eve Stevens says: May 13, 2013 at 5:35 pm
Sowing the most corn in the US was the plan but since spring has been non existant…it’s not happening anymore.

No – not correct. The USDA issued the most recent crop report last Friday – which was summarized in the WSJ:
And yes the USDA Crop Report dod take into account the yield reduction from late planting:

The USDA projected that domestic corn crops this year will produce 158 bushels per acre, down from a forecast it made in February, due to a slow start to planting in the Midwest amid cold, wet weather. Late planting reduces yield expectations partly because it leaves crops more vulnerable to summer heat during key growth stages.

There is significant soil moisture in the prime growing regions as well as an early prediction of a more normal summer, cooler than last year, which may also have a positive effect on yields.

A. Scott
May 14, 2013 3:06 am

And as to this:

Errr, how much of your corn crop is used for fuel? Biofuel is a scandalous product causing misery and starvation worldwide

This has been proven here multiple times to be complete and utter rubbish. I, and others, have showed in extensive, documented detail, that these claims are not supported by the facts.
The US provides 100% all of the corn demand for food, for feed, and for fuel in the US … AND they continue to meet 100% of all export demand, and still have a surplus. We remain the largest provider of corn to the world – as we have for many many years.
And in fact the corn used by US Bio-fuels suppliers has now been proven to be a fantastic ‘ready reserve’ … last year with production down significantly due to drought, the US ethanol industry scaled back corn use by an amount nearly exactly equal to the less than expected production.
I have also shown that in places like Guatemala – contrary to those who ignorantly claim Guatemalans are starving because the US is burning food for fuel – we provide again, every single bit of corn they want to import. It is a fact that the Guatemalan government imports US corn to REDUCE food costs for Guatemalans, as our corn is significantly cheaper. Which allows them to repurpose their land for higher profit fruits and vegetables.
People cluelessly repeat the same garbage endlessly recycled by the same groups over and over, with no regard for its truthfulness. Its really amazing as well – as many of these are the same people who attack the CAGW proponents when they make similar unsubstantiated claims.
US corn use for biofuels is demonstrably having little or no appreciable effect on world corn supplies, nor on food supplies.

Reply to  A. Scott
May 14, 2013 8:06 am
May 14, 2013 4:07 am

I do have a matter that has been troubling me, that I want everyone to know about,
I would appreciate it if you would consider giving it some attention at some stage.
Climate change??!!
We all remember the story of Joseph who was able to correctly predict 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. I am sure that he was inspired by some knowledge that God impaired on him. Most probably he observed the direction of the winds during drought times (Gen. 41:23&27) and he may have had some access to the records of the flooding of the Nile. The Egyptians were good at keeping an eye on this. After looking at the whole problem of climate change, as a hobby, I find myself in a similar position as Joseph did. According to my calculations we are about 7 years away from the 1932 Dust Bowl droughts in the US that lasted until 1939. These droughts were also thought to have been due to a change in the direction of the winds. It was one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century anywhere in the world. Three million people left their farms on the Great Plains during the drought and half a million migrated to other states in the USA. To learn more about climate change and what we must do, please read my blog post,
We have about 7 FAT years left, give or take a few years.

May 14, 2013 6:12 am

Certainly possible, but one needs to keep in mind that the ag revolution that is Brazil now has the capacity to be recreated in China and then in Afirca – so we have alot of ag capacity that is still under utilized.

Eric H.
May 14, 2013 6:16 am

Hedda, HFCS is no more a cause of obesity than table sugar or honey for that matter. HFCS as used in soda and other drinks contains almost the same amounts of glucose to fructose (42% and 55%) as honey. Sucrose (table sugar) immediately breaks down into 50% glucose and 50% fructose after entering the body with almost the same effects as HFCS. Cutting back on all sugars to maintain or reduce weight is simply common sense, HFCS included, but it’s not the demon that the mis-information campaign would have you believe.

Tom Andersen
May 14, 2013 6:27 am

To leave this planet with a good food cushion, which is needed for the next Krakatoa, I eat meat. That way, if things go south, we have a lot of ‘extra fat’ built into the system.

May 14, 2013 6:39 am

“But it has also not yet generated some of the discussion we might have hoped for,….”

Might it just have something to do with the fact that you are always so bloody WRONG? Wolf, wolf!

May 14, 2013 6:51 am

After more than 40 years of consistently failed predictions, anybody who believes a word that comes out of Anne or Paul Ehrlich’s mouths might be guilty of terminal stupidity, or at the very least the willing suspension of disbelief.

Vangel Vesovski
Reply to  Carbonicus
May 14, 2013 7:48 am

“After more than 40 years of consistently failed predictions, anybody who believes a word that comes out of Anne or Paul Ehrlich’s mouths might be guilty of terminal stupidity, or at the very least the willing suspension of disbelief.”
Do you mean to tell me that you don’t think that excess cold conditions will not harm crop yields one of these years? The fact that Ehrlich is wrong about global warming does not mean that we can’t have a crop yield due to exposure to excess cold at the wrong time of the growth cycle.

May 14, 2013 7:24 am

I won’t be suprised to see drought and short growing seasons again this year and possibly disease too. The oceans and sun are still in cool phases. This weather might be more common in current conditions.

Goode 'nuff
May 14, 2013 7:31 am

Henry, quite a bit of last years corn crop was just niblets from lack of moisture. The deer and other critters had a feast because some fields of corn were left unharvested. I can think of several near Morris, Illinois where they started to harvest and abandoned, the yield was so low. Probably not worth the fuel price to harvest. There also was terrible mold in Illinois. Regretfully, I didn’t get to travel the northern corn belt as extensively as I usually do last year. Corn in Oklahoma and Texas and east of there did pretty well. Last year was somewhat like a dust bowl, just like Pamela said it would. Farming now is much better in regards to soil conservation strategies that, fortunately, a lot of soil didn’t go blowing off into the wind last year. What the future holds, I worry it may be more like dropping down into an little ice age than a déjà vu of the dust bowl. Given what we see and hear from our friends in England and other places across the big pond. I don’t honestly know. If killer frosts fail to develop here, then maybe we know something.

Tom Stone
May 14, 2013 8:01 am

Dr. Ehrich must follow the philosophy of George Costanza:
“It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

May 14, 2013 8:12 am

It’s worse than we thought. Just look at the devastating effect of global warming climate change 😉 on corn planting in the USA. It’s all over I tells ya.

13 May 2013
Corn Crop Planting At Third Slowest Pace in Three Decades
Less than a third of the corn crop in key planting states is in the ground, the third lowest level for this time of year since 1980……..The cold, wet spring has wreaked havoc with farmers’ efforts to plant, but even so, analysts and the government still expect a bumper crop.

Cold is our enemy, not warmth.

May 14, 2013 8:13 am

Oooops. Here is the source

May 14, 2013 9:51 am

Good enuff says
I worry it may be more like dropping down into an little ice age than a déjà vu of the dust bowl.
Henry says
we are heading again the same way as in 1930
we have to make a plan.
there are 7 billion people counting on the few of us to get it right
farming at >40 is out
believe me

James at 48
May 14, 2013 10:44 am

Erlich has unwittingly highlighted something. His ongoing pronouncements of looming mass starvation, while based on incorrect causal understanding, might actually be realized at some point. Between break down of logistics systems (e.g. due to failing institutions, economic catastrophe, outbreak of barbarian invasions / rebellions, etc) and the inevitable next downturn in global temperature, there will be yet another Age of Migration. Not if but when it happens there will be mass starvation.

Chris R.
May 14, 2013 12:55 pm

To Carrie:
Perhaps you should explicitly direct your comment to A.Scott?
He seems to feel very strongly on the issue of diverting corn production to biofuel.

May 14, 2013 1:08 pm

I always thought modern greens (and alarmists such as PE ) were always just another group of Amish who just wanted to subject their views on other people. If they did not have this “uncontrollable” need to hoist their beliefs onto others they would live in a fashion similar to the Amish because that is what their ideas really are: Old obsolete technology combined with a fear of any new technology.
Perhaps I should apologize to the Amish for comparing them to such people, but on the other hand they won’t read this and at some point society always has to stand up to those who want to tell them how to live. I think I agree with Pat Frank’s excellent comment in that the danger is not that these people are employed as a form of welfare, but that mainly these people have the ears of our incompetent policy makers. The fact that these Amish people who want to take the world back to the way it was hundreds of years ago does speak to a very middle-age mind-set.
Nothing against the Amish themselves, that is until the Amish rise up and try to force us all to live with their level of technology. And that should be the same as our dealings with incompetent greens.

May 14, 2013 1:32 pm

Pat Frank says:
May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm
Extremely well said! Couldn’t have put it better myself. Kudos to you, sir.

May 14, 2013 3:40 pm

Good article. Nice positive message. As always, I have a less positive interpretation.

Dave Wendt
May 14, 2013 4:04 pm

Mr. Ehrlich and similar minded dolts seem to be deliberately ignoring this data
Population Bomb? No, there’s been a massive global drop in human fertility that has gone largely unnoticed by the media
“The chart above shows the significant, downward trend in the world’s Total Fertility Rate (births per woman) over the last half century, which has fallen in half, from almost 5 births per woman in 1960 to only 2.45 births per woman in 2010. Martin Lewis, a senior lecturer at Stanford University, comments in a recent article that the massive global drop in human fertility in recent years has gone largely unnoticed by the media, partly because it’s contrary to the narrative of overpopulation, mass starvation, resource depletion, environmental devastation, and societal upheaval predicted by Paul Ehrlich and others in the 1960s and 1970s. The decline in fertility rates is also happening for reasons never predicted or advocated by Ehrlich, who proposed government solutions like population controls and sterilization. Rather, the decline has been facilitated by market-based forces like modernization, mass electrification, economic development, and television.
Here’s an excerpt from Martin Lewis’s article “Population Bomb? So Wrong. How Electricity, Development and TV Reduce Fertility“:
India’s declining fertility rate (at 2.5), now only slightly higher than that of the United States (2.1), is part of a global trend of lower population growth (see chart above). Yet the media and many educated Americans have entirely missed this major development, instead sticking to erroneous perceptions about inexorable global population growth that continue to fuel panicked rhetoric about everything from environmental degradation and immigration to food and resource scarcity.
In today’s world, high fertility rates are increasingly confined to tropical Africa. Birthrates in most so-called Third World countries have dropped precipitously, and some are now well below the replacement rate. Chile (1.85), Brazil (1.81), and Thailand (1.56) now have lower birthrates than France (2.0), Norway (1.95), and Sweden (1.98).
I find it extraordinary that the massive global drop in human fertility has been so little noticed by the media, escaping the attention of even highly educated Americans. The outdated idea that Mexico has a crushingly high birthrate continues to inform many discussions of immigration reform in the United States, even though Mexico’s TFR (2.32 in 2010) is only slightly above that of the United States.
It almost seems as though we have collectively decided to ignore this momentous transformation of human behavior. Scholars and journalists alike continue to warn that global population is spiraling out of control. A recent LiveScience article, for example, quotes a co-author of an April 2013 Science report who argues that “the poorest nations are caught in a downward spiral that will deplete resources and cause a population explosion.” The article goes on to argue that “with the world population slated to hit 9 billion by the year 2050, many scientists and others worry that unchecked population growth and increasing consumption of natural resources will cause dire problems in the future.”
Although the LiveScience article notes that the original report focused on sub-Saharan Africa, it does not mention the fact that high birthrates are in fact increasingly confined to that part of the world, or that fertility rates are persistently declining in almost every country in Africa, albeit slowly. Many African states, moreover, are still sparsely settled and can accommodate significantly larger populations. The Central African Republic, for example, has a population of less than 4.5 million in an area almost the size of France.
Some scholars have argued that recent fertility decreases in India and elsewhere in the Third World are more specifically linked to one technological innovation: television. The TV hypothesis is well-known in the field, discussed, for example, in the LiveScience article on the African population explosion mentioned above. In regard to India, Robert Jensen and Emily Oster argue persuasively that television works this magic mostly by enhancing the social position of women. As they state in their abstract:
This paper explores the effect of the introduction of cable television on women’s status in rural India. Using a three-year, individual-level panel dataset, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence towards women and son preference, as well as increases in women’s autonomy and decreases in fertility. We also find suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision-making. We argue that the results are not driven by pre-existing differential trends.
I suspect that the rapid drop in fertility in such countries as India and Brazil, as well as its association with television, has been missed in mainstream U.S. commentary in part because it flies in the face of deeply ingrained expectations. That television viewing would help generate demographic stabilization would have come as a shock to those who warned of the ticking global population bomb in the 1960s.”
If the down trend continues for even a relatively short period global fertility rates will be closing in on a stable rate, just over 2 children per woman, in 10-15 years

Kiwi Sceptic
May 14, 2013 9:24 pm

Ehrlich and other amusing alarmists will simply ‘retrospectively predict’ the increase in crop production using the same retrospective modelling technique used to ‘retrospectively predict’ the pause in global warming. Problem solved.

Goode 'nuff
May 14, 2013 10:59 pm

Maybe we get a VEI 5+ in the right place and the weather will really start sawing back and forth like the 1930’s – 40’s. Hope not. But I sure wish the sun would get out of Granny gear. That’s the part that bothers me, Henry. The big honkers and the sun in low gear.

May 15, 2013 9:02 am

“India’s declining fertility rate (at 2.5), now only slightly higher than that of the United States (2.1), is part of a global trend of lower population growth (see chart above).”
If you want the truth, the TFR in the US dropped to 1.7 in 2011. The number of live births per 1000 females in the US dropped to 63 – the lowest in our national history. And using UN data, the US has only had TFRs above 2.1 5 times since 1970. Yes, the numbers went up between 1990 and 2005 – but that was mainly due to the increased fertility of Hispanics. Since then, Hispanic fertility has plunged from around 3.0 to less than 2.4 children per female. Another metric to use is our Median Age. The Median Age in the US in 1972 was 24. Today it is 37. In Europe it is 45.
I too have followed population trends the last 4-5 years, and like you I am astounded by the lack of concern in academia and society in general. If trends continue, the global population will peak sometime around 2040-50 before beginning a sharp drop-off. Yes, our populations continue to grow, but the globe is getting much older at a much quicker pace. In other words, people are leaving (dieing) at a much slower rate. The economic implications are obvious. Older populations consume and produce less energy, food, and consumer goods. A global recession is on the horizon and no one is seeing it coming. AGW will be quickly forgotten.

May 15, 2013 9:53 am

Isn’t it odd we sowed more acres of corn 77 years ago? Nothing quite sums up progress better.

May 15, 2013 2:44 pm

Any fearing a global population bomb need to take a reality check with the very elegant TED presentation by Hans Rosling.
As Particia Durbin said “the purpose of scientific research is to overcome the limitations of intuition”.

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