Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 2-Aug-2017

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Key Takeaways:

  • Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions lower the nutritional value of staple crops, increasing the risk for dietary deficiencies among the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • This study provides further evidence for the need to curb human-caused CO2 emissions.

Boston, MA – If CO2 levels continue to rise as projected, the populations of 18 countries may lose more than 5% of their dietary protein by 2050 due to a decline in the nutritional value of rice, wheat, and other staple crops, according to new findings from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers estimate that roughly an additional 150 million people may be placed at risk of protein deficiency because of elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is the first study to quantify this risk.

“This study highlights the need for countries that are most at risk to actively monitor their populations’ nutritional sufficiency, and, more fundamentally, the need for countries to curb human-caused CO2 emissions,” said Samuel Myers, senior research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health.

The study will be published online August 2, 2017 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Globally, 76% of the population derives most of their daily protein from plants. To estimate their current and future risk of protein deficiency, the researchers combined data from experiments in which crops were exposed to high concentrations of CO2 with global dietary information from the United Nations and measures of income inequality and demographics.

They found that under elevated CO2 concentrations, the protein contents of rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1%, and 6.4%, respectively. The results suggested continuing challenges for Sub Saharan Africa, where millions already experience protein deficiency, and growing challenges for South Asian countries, including India, where rice and wheat supply a large portion of daily protein. The researchers found that India may lose 5.3% of protein from a standard diet, putting a predicted 53 million people at new risk of protein deficiency.

A companion paper co-authored by Myers, which will be published as an Early View article August 2, 2017 in GeoHealth, found that CO2-related reductions in iron content in staple food crops are likely to also exacerbate the already significant problem of iron deficiency worldwide. Those most at risk include 354 million children under 5 and 1.06 billion women of childbearing age–predominantly in South Asia and North Africa–who live in countries already experiencing high rates of anemia and who are expected to lose more than 3.8% of dietary iron as a result of this CO2 effect.

These two studies, taken alongside a 2015 study co-authored by Myers showing that elevated CO2 emissions are also likely to drive roughly 200 million people into zinc deficiency, quantify the significant nutritional toll expected to arise from human-caused CO2 emissions.

“Strategies to maintain adequate diets need to focus on the most vulnerable countries and populations, and thought must be given to reducing vulnerability to nutrient deficiencies through supporting more diverse and nutritious diets, enriching the nutritional content of staple crops, and breeding crops less sensitive to these CO2 effects. And, of course, we need to dramatically reduce global CO2 emissions as quickly as possible,” Myers said.


Funding for the study was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and by the Winslow Foundation.

“Estimated Effects of Future Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Protein Intake and the Risk of Protein Deficiency by Country and Region,” Danielle E. Medek, Joel Schwartz, and Samuel S. Myers, Environmental Health Perspectives, online August 2, 2017, doi: 10.1289/EHP41

“Potential rise in iron deficiency due to future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions,” M. R. Smith, C. D. Golden, and S. S. Myers, GeoHealth, Early View article, August 2, 2017, doi: 10.1002/2016GH000018

Visit the Harvard Chan School website for the latest news, press releases, and multimedia offerings.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives–not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health.

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195 thoughts on “Millions may face protein deficiency as a result of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions

  1. Global warming is like throwing water on the wicked witch of the East — it makes us all shrink and melt into nothing. Well, maybe a bit of steam…

    • … and higher productivity. The “challenges for Sub Saharan Africa, where millions already experience protein deficiency” for example, are that not much grows there. Well, it didn’t in the past. A lot more is growing there now, thanks to increased CO2 levels. So the challenges aren’t continuing – CO2 is fixing them. I think the people of Sub Saharan Africa will be very happy with 8% less protein than others, given that they had next to nothing before.

      • And of course better varieties. If the seed companies are able to produce a wheat with 5% greater protein contend the entire issue disappears.

    • Yes, the grains will grow more rapidly and efficiently, thus needing less enzymes (protein) to make their growth happen. And, yes, the nutrient content is not necessarily lower per plant product, but the density will be lower and that means more will need to be eaten.

      However, what we really should do is feed the extra grains to livestock and create more high quality protein, with nutrients galore. Vegans hate the idea but the best protein is animal protein, called complete protein.

      • Of course while all this happens, increase in CO2, hardier growth, better water utilisation, plant breeders will do nothing? Hell, with two pluses, it should make their job earlier. I always hate this kinds of studies, always assuming current state with no change and project out 20-30 years. Yeah, that will work…

      • I personally do not believe this crap for a second.
        Consider the source.
        Also consider who ran these experiments.
        It may be true, but believing it because these known liars are saying it is ridiculous.
        They lie about everything, all the time.
        It is all they do.

      • The world’s population dependent on protein from these foods is very fortunate you get three squares a day.

        Right now, due to the increase in CO 2, they are getting 20 percent MORE bio- mass with other nutrients and a NET INCREASE in protein of about 13 to 14 percent. This study is idiotic. Yes, the density of protein decreases slightly but the NET PROTIEN increases!

      • This may seem a bit obvious, but what is the ‘elevated CO2 concentration’ they tested these plants under? Whatever it was, I harbour some doubts that it will be reached by 2050.

        The reason I say that is because the drop in protein at elevated growth rates is real, but very small. To get a drop of 5-10% would require a dramatic change in the growing environment, really large. So to say that this ‘shortfall’ will be reached by 2050 is something you should check before accepting.

        The idea that a) the world’s population will remain in the same state of nutrition for 32 years is silly and contradicted by evidence for each of the past 6 decades at least; b) the idea that agriculture will stand still in terms of breeding varieties that can take advantage of this new growing power is silly too. Increasing the protein content of food is not necessarily a good thing, but it can be done. If that is what we need, that is what will be done.

        Food is a balance of all sorts of things, not just some % of total. What kind of proteins? C? S? Eating 5-10% more food does not hurt under-fed people very much. Slightly increasing the intake of nuts would completely offset any such drop mentioned. In a warming world (if it warms) it rains more in deserts. The food supply will continue to increase for centuries to come. Getting a balanced diet will be easier and easier because we will know a lot more about how to do it, and advances in agriculture will continue.

      • A related article is available here free

        “Potential rise in iron deficiency due to future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions”

        “…demonstrated that the edible portions of food crops grown in open field conditions under elevated atmospheric CO2 of 550 parts per million (hereafter eCO2) have significantly decreased iron contents by 4–10%. These CO2 levels are projected to occur by roughly 2050, even if interventions are made to curb emissions [Fisher et al., 2007]. Specifically, C3 grasses (rice and wheat), legumes, and maize showed significant iron losses, while no effect was found in sorghum.”

        The ‘forecast’ of reaching 550 ppm in 32 years means an increase of more than 4 ppm per year.


        So why is a relative decrease in vegetable protein going to cause problems during an increase in the availability of food? Note the caveat early on that the analysis assumes the diet (per capita consumption of food and its variety) will remain unchanged. Like that ever happened for 30 years in a row…

    • And you can bet they held back nitrogen fertilizers in their experiments.

      When plants are growing more efficiently from raised CO2, they need more available nitrogen.

      Farmers will adjust, something pseudo-scientists are unable to do.

    • Same actual amount of protein – but more carbohydrate perhaps – percentages are deliberately misleading.

    • And not a single legume studied?
      From ‘Plant Physiology”
      Current evidence suggests there are three key features of the response of legumes to elevated [CO2]: (1) unlike other nonleguminous C3 plants, only legumes have the potential to maximize the benefit of elevated [CO2] by matching stimulated photosynthesis with increased N2 fixation; (2) this potential can only be realized in the absence of limitations on productivity such as nutrient deficiency, low temperature, or drought; (3) rising [CO2] may offer some protection from drought-induced decreases in N2 fixation, which will be become more prevalent with projected changes in precipitation intensity and frequency that are projected to accompany the rise in [CO2]. However, despite the considerable importance of legumes to both agriculture and the function of natural ecosystems, there are still key knowledge gaps. There have been very few long-term studies of the response of field-grown legumes to elevated [CO2]. This greatly limits characterization of the environmental conditions under which N2 fixation can or cannot be stimulated at elevated [CO2]. The feedback effects of nutrient limitation on N2 fixation and photosynthesis have not been quantified. Only a single leguminous food crop (soybean) has been the subject of a fully open-air CO2 enrichment experiment, and this study has not yet reported the effects of elevated [CO2] on N2 fixation. No study we are aware of has quantitatively assessed the flow of C to nodules at current and elevated [CO2]. These and other challenges create the prospect of many new and exciting findings in this subject area.

  2. TAG LINE…”And of course we need to reduce CO2 emissions”
    And of course, the tag line was needed to have the article published

    Simple solution for Africa and South Asia…Eat more bugs, an excellent protein source

    • It’s how studies get funded. There is a bag of money for this research. It’s how all industries work, when my wife was in social work, the agencies she worked for – when the AIDS epidemic was in swing tailored their mandate and support to include those with AIDS to be able to get grants for funding from this bag of money. You can’t blame the researchers much, it’s how things are done. Watch movies, some of them are made by how they get funded and it shows.

    • The best prescription for feeding the world, besides adding bug protein to gruel, is to keep adding the vital plant nutrient CO2 to the air, while also producing more N fertilizer from fossil fuels and the air.

      Rotating grain with legume crops is also an ancient method of boosting N in grains.

      • …and drive your VW diesel car more often. They produce nitrogen oxides that, when reduced, can be transformed into aminoacids. Same thing happens with the nitrogen oxides formed during a lightning.

      • Sara,

        I do that in my lawn, but it also helps the weeds. The wild rabbits like it though.

        In a state of nature, wild wheat and other grains didn’t grow in monocultures, as in our commercial fields, but in association with legumes, such as vetch.

    • The famous Diet of Bugs, referred to by writer Terry Pratchett.

      But us poor benighted non-bug eaters will be deprived of our proteins. We’ll have to be on steroids! We’ll all be Schwarzeneggers! Now that is as scary an aspect of CAGW as any I’ve seen.

    • So in other words, the protein deficiency chicken littles have found a way to say that increased plant growth and grain yields is a bad thing.

    • I wonder how the current paper deals with the fact that the protein content was affected almost exclusively by the nitrogen availability in the soil? With absolute protein production in a plant reliant on the amount of nitrogen available to the roots, when you produce more grain beyond the nitrogen limitation, proteins produced track the nitrogen. This would mean that if we crank up the usable nitrogen levels in the soil, CO2 is not linked to protein concentration. It looks to me that the alarmists have found a new scare story to claim “it’s worse than we made you fear!” without any real science. It is hard to evaluate that without the actual paper though to see what they controlled for and what they “assumed was irrelevant”. It is amazing what you can find when you eliminate the real independent variable from the analysis as irrelevant!

      • Astute comment: “eliminate the real independent variable from the analysis as irrelevant”.

        The real independent variable assumed to be irrelevant in the climate models is the measured water vapor for which the trend is still increasing at 1.5% per decade. Instead the temperature increase is blamed on CO2.

  3. A creative way to spin crop yield increases from increased CO2 into a bad thing. It is also hypocritical, as a goal of the green blob is to keep third world peasants poor, and deficiency diseases are almost entirely diseases of poverty.

    • Precisely. This is nothing more than a recognition that crop yields increase under higher CO2 and if you don’t increase available N (from fertiliser), then you will have lower protein concentration – not amount. Another case of research designed to find a bad answer.

      • whoops early morning ypis.

        The AMOPUNT of protein actually increased in those experiments.

        So the plant was more efficient in creating protein , its just that the extra growth out-stripped the extra protein.

      • Thank you Andy. That is a very important detail which is I suppose, why it is missing from the media meme.

      • I should have added that we can fairly easily develop and select for varieties that are higher in protein to compensate for the difference (and I don’t mean gmo’s just good old artificial selection). Also, you could grow categories of wheat that are higher in protein like hard red spring, for example . This is quite maddening because of the headline they used to whip up the alarms. It is really just a tempest in a teapot.

  4. This study is completely idiotic, no surprise. The Gates family is squandering its ill-gotten gains.

    C4 crops are largely unaffected by higher CO2, since they need so little in the first place. Among these corn, sorghum and millet, all popular in Africa. The protein content of C3 grains can be boosted by using more N fertilizer. That’s right, made from fossil fuels.

    Moreover, grains, such as the wheat, rice and barley studied by these ignoramuses, cannot alone provide humans with all the essential amino acids we need to make protein. Legumes are also necessary.

    And guess what? No surprise, legumes thrive under elevated CO2, thanks to their symbiont bacteria:

    “In contrast to C4 species, another group of plants, legumes (members of the botanical family Fabaceae) may be especially capable of responding to elevated CO2 with increased photosynthesis and growth (Rogers et al. 2009). For most plants, growth under elevated CO2 can alter the internal balance between carbon (obtained in extra quantities through enhanced photosynthesis) and nitrogen (either unaffected or taken up in decreased amounts due to decreased uptake of water). In contrast, most legume species participate in close mutualistic relationships with bacteria that live in nodules formed on the plant’s roots. These bacteria are able to “fix” atmospheric nitrogen, chemically reducing it to a form that can be taken up and used by plants. Under elevated CO2 conditions, legumes may be able to shunt excess carbon to root nodules where it can serve as a carbon and energy source for the bacterial symbionts. In effect, legumes may be able to exchange the excess carbon for nitrogen and thereby maximize the benefits of elevated atmospheric CO2. Many studies in controlled environments have shown that, compared to other plant species, legumes show greater enhancement of photosynthesis and growth by elevated CO2 (Rogers et al. 2009). Decreases in tissue nitrogen concentrations under elevated CO2 are also smaller for legumes than for other C3 species (Cotrufo et al. 1988; Jablonski et al. 2002; Taub et al. 2008). In FACE experiments, soybeans (a legume) show a greater response to elevated CO2 than wheat and rice in photosynthesis and overall growth, although not in harvestable yield (Long et al. 2006).”

    • Just to be clear, “protein” in studies such as this means nitrogen content, ie amino acids.

      Humans get few full proteins the we can use from plants. We get amino acids, which we turn into the proteins that we do need, such as collagen, a protein characteristic of animals. Our ancestral sponges were the first to make it, but the gene for it already existed in our closest unicellular relatives, the choanoflagellate ancestors of sponges. (Choanoflagellates are practically identical to the choanocyte feeding cells of sponges and resemble sperm.)

      So calling N content “protein” is misleading. To make collagen and other vital animal proteins, we need amino acids from both grains (either C3 or C4 plants will do) and legumes. Or from eating other animals.

      • I’m advising my Venezuelan friends to hoard black beans, lentils, rice, corn, kerosene and alcohol. According to what I see the beans and lentils should have enough proteins to keep them alive for a while.

      • Beans and rice make a complete protein. A side benefit is the production of flatus, which is largely sulfuric in its content, and is also flammable.

        If you want my recipe for red beans and rice, let me know. It’s quite simple.

      • Sara,

        Love to read it.

        But my preferred combo is beer and nuts.

        Any combo will do. Pasta and peas. Corn and Lima beans, ala *succotash”. String beans and oats. Rice and soy sauce. Barley and lentils. You name it. One from category A and one from Category B.

      • For category, please read column:

        Column A:

        Cereal grains:

        finger millet
        foxtail millet
        Japanese millet
        Job’s tears
        kodo millet
        maize (corn)
        pearl millet
        proso millet

        Pseudocereals (starchy grains from dicots):

        amaranth (Amaranth family)
        buckwheat (Smartweed family)
        chia (Mint family)

        Column B:

        Pulses or legumes:

        common beans
        common peas (garden peas)
        fava beans
        lima beans
        mung beans
        pigeon peas
        runner beans

        Plus Chianti and liver!

        I’m a big fan of mung beans, since their fields made such great LZs in Afghanistan.

      • Fernando Leanme August 3, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        Other items to hoard against societal collapse are antibiotics, batteries and bicycles. Gasoline and diesel, of course, if you can. Guns and ammo are probably not an option in the socialist paradise, but matches and kerosene are. At least Venezuela is tropical.

        The best outcome there is for Colombia to invade and liberate its neighbors from socialist slavery. Colombia even has ample reason for war, given Venezuela’s aid to its former FARC narcoterrorist rebels.

    • Or we can feed the lower-N content grain to animals which also get alfalfa or other good N sources, then eat the animals.

    • Humans can make, at varying degrees of efficiency, eleven of the 20 amino acids used by our proteins. Of the nine which must be obtained from diet (tryptophan, valine, methionine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, histidine and lysine), grains are particularly low in lysine, but also deficient in threonine, leucine and histidine. Conveniently, legumes however provide these four essential amino acids.

      But animal protein is the way to go.

  5. The frequency, predictability, and simplicity of these climate impact scare stories invites an AI approach to automating them and the reasoned, fact checking response algorithm. Then we can all get on with more meaningful science and leisure while the robots do all the pseudoscience and fact checking with a lag routine.

  6. Industry and the worlds fossil fuel power plants are the largest contributors of CO2 emissions. The Sidel Carbon Capture Utilization System is designed to remove over 90% of the CO2 out of the combusted exhaust and transform it into useful-saleable products.

    • My previous question that you never answered:

      Googling…it looks like Sidel Global consists of a guy name Sid with a PowerPoint and a YouTube video.

      Oh…just realized that apparently you are Sid. Have you actually installed a CC system and proven the economics?

    • I’d say more accurately, the Sidel Carbon Capture System is designed to make Sidel rich! …… and hence, the support for CAGW.

    • Right, they didn’t mention what the ‘elevated concentrations’ of CO2 was in their experiment.

      And is the ‘drop’ in protein concentration directly linked to increases in overall yield? Does the annual crop yield have more total protein but at a smaller percentage of the total?

      • The protein is limited by the nitrogen content of the soil, so there is an absolute limit to the amount of protein that can be synthesized by the plant in a set amount of time. Due to reduced stomata opening, total protein may actually be slightly reduced by the reduced water uptake unless the available nitrogen at the roots is cranked up.

      • Bingo. Also plants become more nitrogen efficient. However they need more nitrogen as NET total protein does increase.

  7. …more plants…more to eat….problem solved

    If those 18 countries get most of their protein from plants…they are food starved…not protein starved

    • Most people who try to live on a vegetarian diet do so because of poverty, Pellagra or beri-beri- or the like are diseases of the poor.

  8. The news release makes superficial statements about the lowered content of plants in terms of protein, iron and zinc, and wraps in layer upon layer how many countries and people will suffer due to these alleged drops. The statements of the food content is thrown out there with absolutely no evidence, other than the claim that “… the protein contents of rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1%, and 6.4%, respectively.”. Any references to these studies and methodologies?

    This is just an unabashed effort to panic people, not unlike the TV reverends scaring people into sending in money to save their soul.

    • News releases are not only not science, they’re generally so incomplete as to tell you nothing useful in terms of understanding a purported problem.

  9. There seems to be a dearth of information regarding the study.
    How high was the CO2 content of the test crop atmosphere? Is the elevated concentration a reasonable amount or one not naturally possible? Were there any other variances that are also omitted? Were all other factors the same, sun, temperature, water, fertilizer? How large were the sample and control crops?

    • If the water and fertilizer were the same – protein would drop slightly. It is the nitrogen that is limiting.

      Plants grow to whatever their limiting factor is. If there is a shortage of iron, the crop will grow as far as that level will allow with the concentration reaching some asymptote to the value the plant dies at. In the case of nitrogen, the plant can still grow and photosynthesize until there is not enough nitrogen to support additional stem and leaf production at which point it ceases growth. The proteins stop production before the end of growth so you can have a larger yield, but have less protein in the final product.

  10. It will be interesting if the paper defines elevated levels of CO2. I have read that other plant species will have increased protein. People may actually adapt and eat more of those plants.

    The paper states “354 million children …… Maybe the 354 is important and be the level in PPM of CO2 as a goal to stop manmade climate change. sarc/

      • Children not eating is a Western disease. In the third world they will eat – even if it is greens….


      • So, you are saying that people who are not particularly hungry get more selective about what they will willingly stuff into their overfed maw?

  11. It will be interesting if the paper defines elevated levels of CO2. I have read that other plant species will have increased protein. People may actually adapt and eat more of those plants.

    The paper states “354 million children …… Maybe the 354 is important and be the level in PPM of CO2 as a goal to stop manmade climate change. sarc/

  12. Stupid study. Very disappointing but not surprising coming from the University that hired Naomi Oreskes. Satellites show an average 14% greening from CO2 effects past few decades. Each of the listed crops is C3, and increased at least that much. So eat 7% more of them. Better, take the 14% greening, feed to chickens, then eat the chickens. (Chickens and salmon are the most efficient animals at converting grain to meat, wt/wt basis.) Solves completely the protein deficiency in poor diets problem.

  13. The key sentence in the article is “Because there was no reliable dose-dependent decrease in protein content with degree of CO2 elevation, we used meta-analysis to derive average response ratios comparing plants grown in aCO2 with plants grown in eCO2, where eCO2 was in the range of 500–700 ppm.”

    They looked for a decrease in protein content, and used any means available to get it.

  14. I am not reposting this. Too many people will believe it. Is this another plot by Al Gore and his crowd against the fossil fuel industry because people are wearying from their trite on climate change?

  15. Just another justification to eat BEEF!!! Bet all those cows can convert this worthless plant stuffs into very nutritious meat, full of protein.

  16. I’ll bet crop yields were up by more than protein dropped, if it really did drop, and while protein may have decreased as a percentage of harvested mass, it’s a smaller percentage of a larger amount and still more in total.

    But then again, the left (note the study was funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), considers decreasing the rate of growth in funding for government programs as decreasing the whole, when the whole is still growing far faster than inflation.

    • Correct. The dried grain consists of carbohydrate and proteins. When photosynthesis is rapidly increased due to a change in CO2, the carbohydrate growth increases more than the protein, because other micronutrients needed for the amino acids becomes relatively more limiting. The original paper is based on greenhouse scale experiments and not open field crop yields. In the real world, field crops show little change in protein levels relative to dry mass.

  17. Direct link to paper

    The study is a “meta-analysis” of other papers, then uses a model to predict how the claimed protein delines will impact populations.

    Any claims that higher atmospheric CO2 causes problems with crop protein levels is deceptive.
    More CO2 always produces better crop yields in the real world. This is a basic finding through the entire history of the science of plant physiology and agronomy. It is an iron-clad fact that real world CO2 levels are so low that all plants are starved for CO2. That’s why plants have been evolving for many millions of years toward more efficient ways to extract CO2 out of the ambient air while competing with other plants. That’s why plants with the C4 photosynthetic pathway (and others) have begun to displace C3 plants, especially in the tropics and areas where water can be a limiting growth factor.

    Adding more CO2 to the atmosphere is beneficial to real world agriculture

    • Deceptive? I would not go that far. RuBisCO, RuBPCase, or RuBPco, is an enzyme (protein) involved in the first major step of carbon fixation. With more CO2 available there is probably less need for RuBisCO. People green enough to photosynthesize would probably notice the difference when eating green leaves.

      • I didn’t say anything about rubisco which is found in the leaf, not the grain.
        Real world grain crop yields show no change in protein levels over decades. Adding nitrogen is needed for the amino acid biosynthesis to maintain the protein proportion of the grain relative to the starch portion.

      • That’s where the meta-analysis comes in. They could not find a change of protein levels in grains. I guess that they had to include studies which analyzed whole plants, if not leaves only.

      • In the part of Canada where I live we produce copious amounts of hard Red Spring Wheat! Such grain rated #1 will have protein content around 14%. This is one of the highest quality wheat crops in the world. Prices are not so great these days because the world grows so much wheat. The protein content is the same for #1 now as it was in the 1960’s but yields are more than 50% higher now. More stuff-same great quality! What’s the problem again?

      • John,

        Please don’t mess up a good scare story with actual scientific facts from the real world.

        Growing conditions affect protein content, too. As do the varieties grown.

      • Another reason prices are not so great is that people are discovering that on order to become slightly less obese, cutting out the bread and excess carbs does wonders.
        Add in the whole “gluten is poison” meme, and there you have it…lower prices for something with less demand and plenty of production.
        I have not looked into actual overall demand vs production, though.
        My perception may not match up with actual real world numbers.
        It may be that the number of people who do not care how fat they are getting, outweighs (Ba-Zing!) the people who are trying to reign in the beast.
        It also makes sense that if the marginal growing areas of the world are having fewer bad years, and higher production per acre is occurring pretty much everywhere for several different reasons, the places that overproduce will force down world prices.

  18. This is what’ I’ve noticed regarding climate ‘science’… (For the most part), when there is a science fact or result of CO2 that doesn’t ‘work’ for “the cause”, (eq, Antarctica ice core data where temp precedes CO2 changes) a ‘science study’ will be commishioned on this topic and low and behold, the new study usually shows or suggests that this science fact or result that doesn’t help “the cause” isn’t real or there is a worse consequence.

    This protein deficiency study is a perfect example.

    And I just noticed this interesting technocracy phenomena in regards to the lawsuit where a bunch of kids of suing the government over climate change. Hansen and a few others recently came out with a ‘science study’ that says kids will be left with a bill for climate change up to $535 trillion dollars. Here’s the relevant quote from the WashingtonPost:

    The research was largely inspired by a landmark climate change lawsuit brought by 21 children against the federal government, which is scheduled to go to trial in February 2018, and will be used as scientific support in the case. In fact, its lead author, Columbia University climatologist and former NASA scientist James Hansen, is a plaintiff on the case, along with his now 18-year-old granddaughter

    What a freaking scam! They are using and abusing science to push their politics and policies.

    And if anybody knows how to find who funds these studies, let me know. I bet dollars to doughnuts that many left-wing wealth sources fund these studies, my guess is that the wealth of the Rockefellers is a huge funding source.

    • Dollars to donuts aint what it used to be.
      Hove you seen how much they are charging for donuts these days?
      It is approaching an even money trade.

  19. Don’t commercial greenhouses actually add CO2 to the air to make crops grow faster? Up to 1300-1400 PPM, I believe.

  20. I just skimmed through the paper

    Under the CO2 concentrations predicted in the next 50 y, crops with C3 photosynthesis, such as rice and wheat, may experience up to 15% decreases in grain protein content (Myers et al. 2014). The effects of eCO2 are less on C4 crops, such as maize and sorghum, and on nitrogen-fixing plants, such as legumes (Myers et al. 2014). Thus, the impacts of eCO2 on dietary protein intake will depend on which staples a country consumes, their dependence on the staple for protein, and their current risk of protein deficiency.

    The paper isn’t terribly clear about quantifying “the CO2 concentrations predicted in the next 50 y.”

    If I’m reading it correctly, they are using 500-700 ppm CO2…


    Because there was no reliable dose-dependent decrease in protein content with degree of CO2 elevation, we used meta-analysis to derive average response ratios comparing plants grown in aCO2 with plants grown in eCO2, where eCO2 was in the range of 500–700 ppm.

    Sounds like a standard RCP 8.5 fraud.

    • A friend of mine on the Central Coast grows stuff in greenhouses using enhanced CO2.

      He get his produce analysed regularly. No protein drop noticed, but then, he knows what he is doing with other fertilisers as well as the CO2.

      • Exactly. It’s another non-problem that wouldn’t occur as long as farmers are given the freedom to farm and consumers are given the freedom to choose what they eat.

        But enviro-jobs, and global-warmers in particular, actually want to make it as difficult as possible for humans to optimise their living conditions through free choice and adaptation. This is another case of them identifying one of the clear benefits of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, and then twisting it to try and make out that it is a bad thing. In fact, bad things that happen would actually be largely the result of ‘green’ intererence in the lives of people just trying their best to improve their lot.

    • All you need to do is consider the source.
      Anything is possible, including cherry picked results, experiments deliberately set up to get the result they claim, fraudulent data collection, etc.
      These people live and breathe to prove CO2 is the devil gas, and have also amply proven that they have no compunctions when it comes to lying in order to do so.
      Plants evolved and lived for hundreds of millions of years under CO2 far higher than now, and even higher than these studies purported to use.
      And all of the animals in existence thrived and multiplied right along with them.
      This crap is along the same lines as the stories in which they breathlessly tell of how global warming will destroy food production and starve the world, even as food production is still steadily rising by every possible metric: Acres in production, yield per acre, yield per person…you name it, it is up up up.
      The most obvious proof of the ridiculousness of this “study” is the average health and weight of the people of the world.
      Rather than starving, as the panic clowns have warned for decades, the population of the world grows ever healthier, and the biggest nutrition related problem in the world is exploding rates of obesity. It is now spreading in even the relatively poor and undeveloped countries.
      And then there is the issue of famine.
      For my entire life, famines were a regular occurrence.
      There was almost always some crushing famine on one place or another.
      The Sahel alone had one every few years.
      My entire life, except for the past ten years or more that is.
      Famines have now become almost unheard of, and the problems that do occur have had little if anything to do with the nutritional value of crops. Mostly it is politics that cause it.
      Diverting 40% of the entire US corn crop to motor fuel sure is not helping to feed the world.
      I wonder if any of these geniuses have any plan to study the effect of ethanol and biofuel mandates on food production, prices, and availability among the most vulnerable populations.
      Somehow they have overlooked that little matter.
      Almost like they have an agenda, or something.
      Almost like they have the most nakedly transparent agenda in the history of agendas.
      As far as I can tell, the principle area of expertise of these grant whores is an astounding ability to tell one particular side of a very narrowly cleaved story. The notions of nuance, a balanced and unbiased point of view, of looking at and reporting on a whole story ( in other words, of telling the truth…the whole truth), are as unlikely to them as a triple bacon pulled pork sammich at a Muslim PETA convention.

      Imagine a return to a world where scientific organizations like this added to the sum total of human knowledge, instead of erasing it in huge swaths.

  21. CTM: You should follow AW’s practice of putting “Claim:” before reporting on warmist claims like “Millions may face protein deficiency …”

    Reply: I posted an article. I understand what you’re saying. I got my own style. Have you noticed the new category for stories such as this: PEOPLE WILL DIE! ~ctm

      • Personally, I can not recall a single recent famine.
        The last one i remember was the one in Somalia, which, after we sent our military in to make sure that the massive aid sent was not stolen by the ruling kleptocracies, ended up with the events detailed in Black hawk Down. (How many recalled that the reason we were there was to feed a starving population of what turned out to be the most spectacularly ungrateful people to even inhabit the planet which, BTW, fattened up in seemingly record time?)
        Possibly there were some after that, but I cannot remember any off the top of my head.

  22. “……..Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions lower the nutritional value of staple crops, increasing the risk for dietary deficiencies among the world’s most vulnerable people……”

    So CO2 from natural sources doesn’t produce this problem in crop plants, correct? Only human-sourced CO2 does this. How do the crop plants know the difference? If they mean that nutrient levels decline with atmospheric CO2 increases from ALL sources, it might make more sense. Why is the B.S. detector in my head sounding off?

  23. “”

    so “increased crop yields means more insects means we die” has turned to “increased crop yields mean more insects AND less protein means we die”

    time to redraw my algorithm

  24. 1972 Club of Rome: run out of resources, mass starvation. Check: population doubled and there are much fewer hungry and in poverty. Reserves of major metals has greatly increased and real prices have declined. Food crops have much more than doubled using lower acreage and famines are minor short lived crises. We even burn millions of tonnes of corn for fuel (embarrassed to admit that.)

    Current prediction: people will die off in the millions because of protein reduction in grains. Check: GMO will double up the protein in food crops, but the stable pooulation of 9billion (85% already there today) will prefer beef steak with fried onions and craft ales.

    This prediction is from a model based on observations, and is 97% certain, although the fried onions have a fifty%chance of being switched to mushrooms.

    • I think the odds are more like 33% Fried Onions, 33% Mushrooms, 33% grilled onions and mushrooms (my fav)

    • You left out the part where they studied the nutritional content of GMO crops and urged the world to end the insane and irrational opposition to them.
      Oh, wait…they never studied that or made any such recommendation, did they?
      Gosh, wonder how they let that one slip by their uncannily acute attention to The Big Picture?

  25. This report smells at all levels. On one level, this is just another example of research in search of a problem. Instinctually, this project falls in the same category as the crab-running-on-a-treadmill project. Neither the crab nor this project is going anywhere. Apparently, too much funding is available, and not enough projects are out there that warrant funding.

    • It looks like almost a dead ringer in methodology to the coral killing experiments that use volcanic vent locales to determine what happens when CO2 levels go to ridiculous levels, except this doesn’t even show any real impact on grains. Just imaginary!

  26. When someone comes to me with something this tendentious and twisted, I can’t help but consider them a liar.

    Others have already pointed out the *glaring*, ULCC-sized flaws in this.

  27. as a warmist grows from infant to adolt, his ratio of brain cells to fat plummets.
    call me moronophobic. i’ve looked all over the ark and can’t find a single fok

    • Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view (are you a fashion model?), you stand a far higher chance of morbid obesity than kwashiorkor.

  28. The protein lost through not being allowed to eat meat – because that causes global warming too – will be a far more likely source of dietary protein deficiency. It’ll be the scientists/activists/politicians that harm us more than the climate.

    • Only for people who lack a normal and healthy appreciation of eating insects.
      I think a nice buttering of fresh maggot paste will fix that protein deficient bread right up.

  29. From the introduction to the article …

    Under the CO2 concentrations predicted in the next 50 y, crops with C3 photosynthesis, such as rice and wheat, may experience up to 15% decreases in grain protein content (Myers et al. 2014).

    From Meyers et al 2014 …

    Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.

    (My bold)

    No mention of increased productivity under increased CO2.

  30. Junk science. We have been measuring protein content in foods for the past >40 years when CO2 went from 330 ppm to 410 ppm. Where is the evidence that this increase has actually reduced the protein content of crops? It is nonexistent. Zero evidence. There is no real basis for those predictions. This paper should have been flat out rejected by any decent journal.

  31. Repeated comments suggest just adding more nitrogen fertilizer as CO2 rises. Although this sounds logical it seems this strategy will produce more effect on plant bio-mass than grain protein.

    A recent (2017) Australian study looked at the difference between no nitrogen fertilization & 100 Kg nitrogen/hectare fertilization for a wheat variety. They compared these nitrogen levels for 390 CO2 & 550 CO2.

    Results were that under 390 CO2 100 Kg N/hectare wheat grain protein went up 37% (from non N fertlization), whereas under 550 CO2 that 100 Kg N/hectare wheat grain protein went up 28% (from non nitrogen fertilization). In field crops there are issues with high rates of nitrogen fertilizer application rates that have to be managed.

    • With more carbon, you also need more N. They held the amount the same under both the high and low C02 concentrations.

      • Yes, they did. The question is how much extra nitrogen fertilization is practical to add in field grown crops (like wheat) without provoking undesirable side effects of high dose nitrogen fertilization. In greenhouse grown plants is more “doable” to mitigate nitrogen leaching’s downstream, so to speak, impact.

      • Gringo,

        You’d have to go way above that level to have any problems.

        My county grows more wheat than any in the US, mostly soft white winter (like Oz). We put on a base amount, then, if the winter has been wet, a top dressing in the spring. Maybe drier Australia is different, but we have never been in danger of burning a crop with too much N.

        We used to practice a pea-wheat rotation, but the pea market has gone to hell, so most ranchers no longer grow peas, but some still do beans. In either case, less N is required the year after the legume crop.

      • There are interactions in terms of optimal nitrogen depending on rainfall. If wheat is not irrigated & consider only nitrogen then gram weight/1000 grains of wheat shows minimal benefit of ramping up nitrogen.

        A (2014) recent experiment reported that just nitrogen applied 1/3 when sowing, 1/3 at day 35 & 1/3 at day 65 at the total amount of 80Kg/hectare 1,000 grains of wheat weighed 43.5gr., at 100 Kg nitrogen/hectare 1,000 grains weighed 44.58gr & at 120 Kg nitrogen/hectare 1,000 grains of wheat weighed 44.83. Authors concluded 100Kg nitrogen/hectare was adequate if no irrigation occurs.

        At 120Kg nitrogen/hectare straw wheat straw weight was 4.97 tons/hectare & 4.87 tobs/hectare at 100Kg nitrogen/hectare. As I mentioned initially I think increasing nitrogen has more effect on biomass than seeds.

        By the way once they gave the wheat 200mm of water then the team determined 120 Kg nitrogen/hectare was ideal for yield . I incidentally there was more grams per 1000 grains at 200mm than 300mm.

        Now this was not a CO2 experiment to be precise, but it did measure nitrogen fertilization in the range I earlier highlighted (100Kg/ha). My point is not that CO2 rising is terrible for crops, more that assuming additional nitrogen fertilizer is going to be a simple strategy.

      • Gringo,

        That more CO2 means less need for water, but more for N is in fact simple.

        But you rightly draw attention to the details of optimum fertilization.

        Here in the Pacific NW, where the miracle strains of wheat have been bred the better to take advantage of chemical fertilizers, data are available for every possible parameter of water (dry land or irrigated), N, CO2, phosphates, etc.

      • The most important factor is simply to grow more wheat.

        Protein content affects the price, but more is always better.

      • Here are the sites where the strains of wheat which have fed a world growing from two to eight billion have been developed:

        Part of the year, I live about ten miles from the Pendleton station and was born five miles from it.

      • Adjusting the fertilizer mix just right is a trivial function, compared to breeding the miracle strains of wheat created here.

      • Wheat grown in field sectors with the soil capability to yield well currently (not at elevated CO2) seem to give the farmer the combination of ideal return on their investment in fertilizer & labor related to it’s usage plus the least trade-off for undesirable consequences like nitrate leaching into the environment when fertilzed at the rate of 90 Kg nitrogen/hectare. As per 2011 “The strategic and tactical management approach to select optimal N fertilizer rates for wheat in a spatially variable field”.

        Having to dose with more nitrogen under elevated CO2 without getting more environmental side effects will challenge farmers without access to the technical scientific personel you mentioned. The cited research apparently has “adjusted” the nitrogen trade off for now & I have
        not seen anyone detail the trade off one would need under elevated CO2.

        Bear in mind that although top-dressing nitrogen fertilization using products like urea & ammonium nitrate give higher yields many farmers in developing countries are operating on tight budgets & use anhydrous ammonia as a pre-planting product. This is because of the cost savings is enough to trade off for yield & if their heirs are farming under elevated CO2 could end up using more resulting in more leaching.

      • Gringo,

        There is zero downside to more plant nutrient in the air.

        Higher yields from more CO2 are always a good thing. Even if Third World farmers don’t up their N fertilization, they’re still bucks up from more CO2. Maybe the grade of their wheat falls, but they have so much more of it that it’s a win for them.

      • As Javier notes above, there is in the real world no evidence that the share of protein in wheat actually has fallen as a result of more CO2 in the air. New varieties of wheat, such as those developed down the road from me, are bred to make best use of fertilizer.

      • “80Kg/hectare 1,000 grains of wheat weighed 43.5gr., at 100 Kg nitrogen/hectare 1,000 grains weighed 44.58gr & at 120 Kg nitrogen/hectare 1,000 grains of wheat weighed 44.83. Authors concluded 100Kg nitrogen/hectare was adequate if no irrigation occurs.”
        This metric is simply measuring tiny changes in the weight of individual wheat grains.
        It says absolutely nothing about total yield per acre or anything else…just the size of the seeds.
        And one study proves nothing. Not in any science, anywhere, ever.
        The implication that the size of the grains is tied in any meaningful way to overall yield or nutritional content is a glaring signal of either disingenuous misinformation, or simply not thinking about what is actually being shown by the data.
        This article is not about the mass of a single seed of wheat, and I have never seen any indication that the size of the grains correlates with yield or nutritional profile.
        The fact is the protein content of every crop of wheat and every other food varies continuously, and always has and always will, and does so for numerous reasons.
        Varying one factor, like water, or fertilizer, or the timing of application, or CO2 content, and then drawing sweeping conclusions between experiments which measured some certain response to varying one parameter to another experiment which measures some other response to varying another parameter, without specifically stating the values of every parameter in each of the trials, is unscientific doubletalk.
        Comparisons of variations are only valid when all else is held the same.
        And multiple trials involving crops over multiple growing seasons “without irrigation”, seems to assume that rainfall rates are uniform from place to place and year to year.
        The opposite is true…there is no such uniformity, except by rare random chance.

        Besides all of that, there are a million ways to invalidate such findings, any sort of poor methodology, small sample size, bad data collection practices, outright fudging or fraud…
        Without knowing any details, such assertions are meaningless on too many levels to even list.

  32. This study is proof positive that CO2 can accomplish anything, in greenhouses it accelerates growth in all types of plants but in the wild it retards protein and increases the probability of gaining access to government money.

  33. Agriculture System defines the human health in any given period. For example in the traditional agricultural system, animal husbandry was part of farming. Also pulses and cereals were part of the farming system. They helped nitrogen fixing. This not only provided economic security but also nutrient security. The chemical input mono-crop technology changed the nutrient security to a minimum with chemicals in the food. In addition adulterated food and food produced under polluted conditions changed the health scenario of modern people. They may further increase in future under globalization scenarios.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  34. I seem to remember hearing that a lot of nutrients are removed by food processing. They seem to have ignored this step in the process of bringing food to our table. I would think the food processing itself could be changed to produce at least an equal amount of nutrients.

  35. This fake news is not the only way by which CACA adherents try to counter the fertilizing effect of more CO2 in the air.

    The other is to assert that higher CO2 helps weeds more than crops. But the answer to that is more fossil fuel-based pesticides and more petroleum products to rod the weeds. There is no downside for agriculture and human nutrition to more plant nutrient in the air.

  36. So has the sky fallen yet? Just askin’.

    It may be possible to untangle this mess when real disasters and problems start to raise their heads. I expect to see that happening before long.

    • It has been my experience, sadly, that when some of the four horsemen show up, real problems come into focus, and the illusory ones disappear.

    • Well, when that happens, Otsar, think of the chaos in the streets! The hand-wringing! The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth while the howler monkeys are thrown into chaos, and the rest of us go on about our business away from the Crises in the Big Cities, because we saw the silliness coming ahead of time.

      Sometimes, I think these weasels want a massive disaster to happen because they think they’ll be Those Who Survived It. Wrong. They are completely dependent on external sources for everything. The rest of us can manage without the cities. If we’re lucky, the They will isolate themselves from us in a crisis and suffer massive losses, while the rest of us will be doing quite well.

      Soylent Green is made of people. Sirloin steak is made of cows. :) Just sayin’.

      • A while back I spent some time in Venezuela. It was at the beginning of their journey into chaos. Where it will end, who knows. The only thing good about the place was their dark Polar beer.

  37. This is obvious junk. The shamelessness of these ‘researchers’ clearly is without bound.

  38. Wonder what the percentages of the increased CO2 concentrations used in the studies were. And I assume these studies included control groups that did not have increased CO2 concentrations.

  39. CO2 is the problem. right? And the people who view it as The Problem are the loudest shouters about it, right?
    Fine. I have a solution, a very, very simple solution. First, they get their mouths sewn shut, because they are probably all mouthbreathers, which means they exhale more C02 than the rest of us. Next, they don’t want to eat meat, so give them kale and chard and all the veggies none of the rest of us like. Third, transport them all to a modest-sized island with no shipping lanes nearby, and then leave.
    If they haven’t eaten each other within 10 years, I’ll be surprised, but the CO2 problem will have been solved.

  40. I despair at the utter hypocrisy and sheer stupidity of these morons. They have cherry picked this otherwise genuine research for their own agenda. I am a recently retired grain producer near Horsham Victoria Australia where some of this research was carried out. The results were similarly publicised here, most likely decided by an international consortium of money hungry scientists wanting to continue their lifestyles.
    What they didn’t want anyone to focus on was that the FACE project demonstrated a massive overall increase in yields and most importantly the substantial (huge) increase in net protein produced per sq metre/acre/hectare. They simply hate this equation, problem is you only need basic maths to work it out for yourself and show the falsehood these people heap on society. Have always loved the science of plant breeding and the effects the elements and rotations with legumes has on production outcomes. I have had many years of mingling with genuine researchers but regrettably few honest ones still practice (all retired or died). The morons we have left are all running an agenda that guarantees their cushy existence. Hence we see junk science ad nauseam. This selective publication of the results reflects poorly on an industry that had a once proud history in Australia of being open, fair and comprehensive in the publication of its research. I can no longer respect science or scientists per sae.

  41. If tomato plants are subjected to too much nitrogen, they just produce nice thick green stems and lots of leaves, but hardly any fruit.

  42. So, this is why greenhouse growers use carbon dioxide generators to get the CO2 levels in their greenhouses up to between 1,000 and 1,200 parts per million, versus planet Earth, which has JUST gotten back up to only 400 parts per million. And in those days of the dinosaurs and HUGE plant growth, when CO2 was WAY up there closer to 2,000 or more, parts per million, many times more than today, they were protein deficient?

    And of course, NASA has been reporting on its website that, via satellite measurement, green plant life on Earth has increased by about 6% in recent years, and they state it’s probably from increased CO2. So if we want a greener greenhouse and greener planet, we want to REDUCE carbon dioxide?

    Sounds like a Bad Joke to ME!

  43. This a case of a glass half empty taken to the extreme by alarmists. There has been quite a bit of research done on elevated CO2 levels in greenhouses, in open top chambers in the field and in free air concentration enrichment in the field. I am involved in agricultural extension and at a recent presentation that I attended where the presenter had done a survey of the research, he summed it up by saying that for every increase in 100 ppm CO2 we can expect a yield increase of 10-15 %. (This is not a straight line, but it is a good generalization.) So, you get much more yield. Because the increased rate of photosynthesis due to the extra CO2, the amount of sugar (and starch) relative to protein and other nutrients like iron and zinc mentioned in the article rises. But you have way more yield! And you can feed the extra to animals and have really high protein from the meat, so you are way ahead. This should be a good news story because of the extra food we will be able to produce but they have twisted it up into a bad news story.

    • The fact is that you get at least as much protein as you would have under lower CO2, but higher yield over all.

      This is simply idiotic. Just an excuse and smokescreen to try to counter the fact of CO2 fertilization.

  44. Into the Lion’s Den walks Peta….

    “3 square meals per day”
    Utter bollox. We are all here sitting inside a machine that evolved eating one meal every 24 or 48 hours, even longer if sufficient water was available.

    “People will become malnourished”
    They already are, BADLY malnourished. See all those fat distended bellies around you. Those hapless folks are filling their faces with epic amounts of useless muck and letting their bodies sort through it for the essential nutrients it needs. Because the nutrients are not there, the poor souls eat ever more.

    “Wheat, rice, corn etc are ‘staples’ and we need the protein”
    Yes and no. Millions upon millions of chemicals will analyse in the lab as ‘protein’ – all you need is a sugar with a nitrogen atom bolted into it. Plant proteins are mostly all the wrong shapes and sizes. To our immune systems they appear as intruders: viruses, bacteria and other unpleasantness. But protein, like water, is sticky stuff. The alien plant proteins attach to vital things and in the immune system’s attempt to move them out, vital things get damaged.
    How many different auto-immune diseases do you want, is 200+ not enough?

    “With sufficient food we are all living longer”
    In purely numeric terms yes. But how exactly do you count the last 10 years of increasing numbers of lives spent as helpless cabbages? 10+ years of baby-like helplessness, barely able to move or walk and utterly demented – unable to remember the faces/names of even your wife and children.
    It makes your relatives desperately sad and your ‘carers’ desperately rich. What a mess. We wouldn’t do that to a cat, dog, horse, cow or anything other than a fellow human.
    Is that A Life?
    Again, that is the plant proteins, attaching themselves to your nerve/brain cells where your immune system is reluctant to go.

    Even before the proteins destroy your nervous system, unsaturated fats float around your system. The double bonds within them (that’s what makes them ‘unsaturated’) break open all over the place, when and wherever they like. Usually the immune system picks up the damage but eventually, those strings of unwanted free-radical reactions ‘get lucky’ They, sooner or later, switch off the apoptosis mechanism in a cell. It could be any cell any where and lo-and-behold, you’re endowed with an immortal cell that keeps replicating every 28 days (typically). That’s cancer.

    Photosynthesis makes only one thing and one thing only.
    For both carbon and water, the glucose molecule is a match made in heaven – they both get to go around in groups of 6 and the water gets to keep a lot of its properties. Not least its insatiable affinity for itself.
    This makes it perfect for plant building. It is The most perfect Lego building block there ever could be. It stacks fantastically in all three dimensions and not only does it lock itself together, it is self-adhesive. Perfect for making starch, cellulose and lignin.
    Yes, our bodies need/use glucose for energy. But we make it ourselves, on demand, as where and when it’s needed. We make it by slicing bits off saturated fat molecules. We do that because it is difficult to control, because of its water affinity.
    There-in lies the problem. Animal cells are supremely sensitive to their water content and environment. Glucose can/will disrupt those things. Badly. Plants cells, where glucose originated can handle being dehydrated now and again. Animal cells can not. Not even once.
    It is wicked stuff especially as it is addictive- it promotes Dopamine release.

    We become sugar (glucose in actuality) addicts and just like addicts of every other Dopamine promoting substance, we will insist that there is No Problem right until our dying day.

    • Plant protein is the “… wrong shape …” & an immunological antagonist? Please explain this for me.

      I assume you wrote for brevity & so simplified how free radicals are not only produced under abnormal cellular conditions. Granted cancer cell mitochondria are unable to produce enough energy if you are on a ketogenic “diet”.

      • Yeah, I’d like to see that one too. Especially for the sake of my vegetarian family members… A good 20 yesrs of zero animal products and more healthy than me. Like to see the explanation of that one…

    • Peta….

      I have no idea where you got this stuff from but it isn’t even close to the truth. I would suggest you take a look at a decent biochemistry textbook to understand life’s metabolic processes a little better. That might teach you something about glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, Beta-oxidation, nucleic acid biosynthesis, protein synthesis, the TCA cycle, the urea-ornithine cycle, the role of ATP, etc. etc. etc.

      Please don’t pollute this site with nonsense. As a species, we are better nourished today than we ever were…….as somebody else pointed out, “When was the last major famine?”…..Oh! And BTW, have you noticed that most kids today grow taller than their parents, pretty much everywhere!

    • Peta’s post is a compendium of non-facts, random bullshit, and outright lies…with a few true statements strewn about for texture.
      This is what happens when people learn some words and a tiny smidgen of science.
      Truth mixes with nonsense and morphs into hand me down folk knowledge that is in many ways far worse than complete ignorance.
      And as we have all no doubt seen countless times, it is accompanied by a supreme arrogance…like a 14 year old who has decided he knows everything.

  45. Have not followed comments, but the lead article is wrong.
    People will simply eat more weight of food if its protein content is reduced.


    • I don’t think you’ve thought that through…

      If they eat more, then given its already processed, then far, far more will need to be grown?

    • The protein content of various varieties and individual crops of wheat and other grains varies quite a bit, and much of this is on purpose.
      Bread wheat makes crappy pasta, and vice versa.
      Just a glance at randompedia shows that:

      “Wheat is an important source of carbohydrates.[9] Globally, it is the leading source of vegetal protein in human food, having a protein content of about 13%, which is relatively high compared to other major cereals,[11] but relatively low in protein quality for supplying essential amino acids.[12][13] When eaten as the whole grain, wheat is a source of multiple nutrients and dietary fiber.”

      13% huh? Not bad, for the price. But the quality of that protein? Tsk tsk…naughty wheat! It is mostly gluten. Poison! Yeah, for a few people out of a thousand…and even that is now in dispute from some quarters.

      But drilling down slightly reveals the following mélange of factoids:

      “-Protein content. Bread wheat protein content ranges from 10% in some soft wheats with high starch contents, to 15% in hard wheats.

      -The quality of the wheat protein gluten. This protein can determine the suitability of a wheat to a particular dish. A strong and elastic gluten present in bread wheats enables dough to trap carbon dioxide during leavening, but elastic gluten interferes with the rolling of pasta into thin sheets. The gluten protein in durum wheats used for pasta is strong but not elastic.

      -Grain color (red, white or amber). Many wheat varieties are reddish-brown due to phenolic compounds present in the bran layer which are transformed to pigments by browning enzymes. White wheats have a lower content of phenolics and browning enzymes, and are generally less astringent in taste than red wheats. The yellowish color of durum wheat and semolina flour made from it is due to a carotenoid pigment called lutein, which can be oxidized to a colorless form by enzymes present in the grain.”

      Human beings are omnivores.
      We can survive for long periods of time on nearly anything.
      I have known people who seemed to survive chiefly on potato chips and Dr. Pepper.
      I myself was said by some relatives to have gotten through most of my teen years on a diet of grilled cheese and bell peppers.
      If you are starving to death, bread will save your life.
      If you are eating to much, it will pack on the pounds.
      But some say that being very skinny is the pretty much the fountain of youth, and being fat is a death sentence.
      Actual evidence that is not from studies of the miniature people known as laboratory rats is not so clear cut however.
      Whatever is true for one person may or may not be true of another, generally or specifically.
      As with everything, we exist as individuals on a bell curve of various traits and characteristics.
      Some people are virtually or completely immune to diseases, toxins and outright poisons that will kill most others. And some are very sensitive to one or more things, succumbing to insults to our person that do not affect most very impactfully.
      There are few things that will kill 100% of a large number of people.
      There are few cures or remedies that will successfully treat everyone with a particular ailment either.

      But the basic fact is very evident: Human beings are supremely adaptable and hardy.
      Evidence for this is hard to miss, although many seem to not have noticed.
      In particular, increasingly impossible to ignore evidence is mounting, that it is difficult to kill a person with food.
      imagine that!

      • Table in this article shows that for major food staple crops, wheat is second only to soybeans for overall protein content, listed at 12.5 % vs 13% for the soybeans.
        But people widely perceive that soybeans are high in protein and wheat…not so much.
        Note too that elsewhere it is stated, again, that protein in some wheat is as high as 15%.
        Humans need specific amino acids in certain amounts, or our health can suffer.

        Note that by the time wheat is processed, much of the protein has been removed with the bran and the germ.
        There are good reasons for this. As in all things, tradeoffs and accommodations for certain factors are made…such as that storing wheat with the bran intact can cause it to become rancid.

  46. This is absolute nonsense I used to grow maize and wheat and other crops for grain . we tried to grow biscuit wheat that has to have a low protein value to make top quality biscuit flour . We could not get our protein down low enough and our wheat had to be sold to the feed market for chickens and pork production .The reason was that our soils were to rich in nitrogen and we did not apply any artificial nitrogen to the wheat .The farmers in the South Island of New Zealand could grow quality biscuit wheat as their soils did not have the organic matter that ours did . Adding some nitrogen would soon lift the protein in any crop any where in the world .These people are so ignorant of basic crop husbandry

    • +++++
      Thanks for that.
      They do not seems to even know much about actual nutrition, about wheat and the various varieties and uses, nor about the normal variations as the causes and usefulness of such.
      About all they do seem to know is that CO2 is very bad and everything about it is harmful.
      I recall back in the 1990s when the few vocal skeptics then objecting to CAGW alarmism began to point out the benefits of CO2, and the next thing anyone knew, studies were released which purported to show that CO2 increases cause weeds to grow faster, but not useful plants trees or crops!
      An obvious lie and not even remotely plausible, the warmistas nevertheless grabbed onto this lie and in five minutes it became what the scientifically obtuse call a “scientific fact” in the eyes of the gullible, the credulous, and the disingenuous.

      We see the lack of background knowledge in all things alarmists do and say…complete ignorance of Earth history or even human history among those who supposedly are experts on the long term consequences of higher CO2, lack of the basic knowledge on subjects such as chemistry and biology, or concepts such as homeostasis, or on the part of the people who purport to be experts on the biological consequences of how changing water chemistry affects the ability of aquatic organisms to thrive, just to cite a few examples.

      Knowing what they are talking about, or getting things right, or even keeping the various parts of the narrative internally consistent…these things matter not a bit to warmistas.
      Getting the next grant and publishing the next barrel of alarmist pigslop nonsense is all that really matters.

  47. Dear Harvard School of Public Health:

    The answer to your protein deficiency problem is one peanut. You claim high CO2 concentrations will reduce the protein content of rice by 7.6%. A cup of rice contains 4.3 g of protein. Hence, it will decrease by 0.3 g. About 26% of peanuts weight is protein. One peanut weighs 2.6 g and its protein is 0.7 g. Twice more than enough to fill your protein deficiency. Why is Harvard worrying about peanuts?

  48. Why would you eat wheat for protein? Protein exists only in trace amounts. Added to that, increased protein in wheat is usually a sign a plant stress. One way to increase protein content is to subject the wheat to drought conditions.

    • you don’t eat wheat or rice for protein…

      you eat it because that’s what you’ve got/can afford…

      unlike UK or USA there are large parts of the world where they are on a staple diet… a few staple foods is what they eat/grow/can afford

      if the protein content in a staple food goes down…

      • Do you read what you type? So you get plenty of “protein”, from life-stock I guess in the UK. That planet destroying food source that you can afford?

      • Griff,

        It appears that you are as basic information challenged regarding nutrition as on all other topics about which you consider yourself qualified to comment.

        It is impossible to subsist on wheat or rice alone. At a minimum you need a legume to make complete protein with the grains, plus sources of other nutrients.

        If I’m a poor person subsisting largely on grains and legumes for protein, with the odd bug, then I’d be happy to have more CO2 in the air, making C3 plants 30% more abundant. If indeed the rice, wheat and barley had proportionately a little less nitrogen (not in evidence in the real world), it wouldn’t matter because I have so much more of it to eat for the same price, and the legumes I need to eat with the grains will contain more amino acids, thanks to more CO2.

    • Dear Mr. Newark,
      Can I call you Hell?
      Please look up some basic facts before the write.

      If took even ten seconds to look it up, you would find that the protein in wheat is the largest single source of protein in the world food supply.
      Since when is 10% to 15 % a trace amount?
      Wheat is second only to soybeans for protein content among staple crops.
      In fact, the amounts of protein in these overlap, when one accounts for variability…all things exist in a range of values.
      The bran and germ removed during processing of wheat are a major component of some animal feeds.

    • Plus you confuse poor Mrs. Griff when he disagrees with your misapprehensions but does so for the wrong reasons.
      The amount of protein a person “needs” in a day is far below what most easily get from foods.
      Most of human caloric intake requirements are for the purpose of cellular metabolism…we burn it for the energy we need.
      Protein is not required for this, in fact it is not an efficient way to get calories…our bodies need to expend energy to get the energy out of protein.
      Which is why high protein diets cause one to lose weight.
      The same is true of fats…we need to convert it chemically in our bodies in order to burn it or even store it.
      Which is why most fat stored in our body is from consumed carbs and sugars…not from fat or protein.
      We need some protein, but you do not need to know much, to know that only starving people do not get enough of it.
      And if the protein content goes down by 7% but the amount that can be grown goes up by twice that, or the price goes down by 30%, are you ahead or behind, nutritionally speaking.

      But none of this matters anyhow…the story is made up bullshit, like everything warmistas say.
      It is amazing to see how dumb and easily cowed people can be.

  49. Griff would just love everyone else descend into energy and food poverty. Love you too Griff!

      • Apropos of CO2, the two main clades of grasses (aside from small groups which diverged early in grass evolution) are starkly divided by their photosynthesis pathways. The PACMAD clade (sugar cane, corn, sorghum and millet) contains all those grass species which have evolved C4 pathways (repeatedly), plus many which retain the ancestral C3 pathway. Its sister BOP clade (named for bamboo, rice and the Pooidae, the “cool season” grasses like wheat, oats, rye and barley) is all C3.

        C4 and CAM photosynthesis evolved in response to the cooling and drying of the world during the Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs, accompanied by dangerously lowering CO2 levels. They can get by on remarkably little CO2.

    • Less protein, more starch, means your beer will have more “kick” and be less cloudy.

      That is, you will have better beer.

      You are welcome, BTW. :-)

  50. “They found that under elevated CO2 concentrations, the protein contents of rice, wheat, barley, and potatoes decreased by 7.6%, 7.8%, 14.1%, and 6.4%, respectively.”

    How much elevation? 2%, 10%, 500%, google %? This detail should be included in the report otherwise it is useless.

  51. As obesity and gluttony are the major problems facing the “health” of Americans today…

    I say that as an overweight overfed American, BTW. I do not come at this issue “from a distance”.

    Even the poor in the USA are frequently overfed.

  52. The whole point is silly. The protein we need is trivial compared to the supply.

    Most of the world suffers from way too much food and too much protein, not a shortage
    Those places with shortage have political issues, not technical ones.

  53. This despicably twisted piece of propaganda shows the desperate and craven lengths the Climagesterium will go to to hide the inconvenient fact of global greening due to CO2.

  54. ‘the populations of 18 countries may lose more than 5% of their dietary protein by 2050’

    I don’t care who you are, that’s SCARY!!!

  55. We should immediately ban the use of elevated CO2 levels in greenhouses. This is offensive, exposing innocent plants to a toxic gas. This must stop, now!

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