Essay by Eric Worrall
Green policy obsessed European leaders are ignoring the implications of Sri Lanka’s organic farming food crisis.
Massive farmers protest disrupts Brussels traffic
BRUSSELS (AP) — Hundreds of tractors driven by angry farmers protesting a plan to cut nitrate levels converged on Brussels on Friday, creating major traffic disruption in Belgium’s capital city.
The BB farmers union and several others combined efforts to gather more than 2,700 farm vehicles, according to Brussels police.
The Flemish regional government is struggling to find a deal to cut nitrate pollution over farmers’ objections that it would put many out of business.
Farmers also claim that their trade has to make much deeper cuts than industry and want to see a more equitable spread.
…Read more: https://apnews.com/article/eu-belgium-farmers-protests-tractors-77b9c462e45050a144b958c1055cfc26
Why are EU member state governments clamping down on farming practices?
Protecting waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources
Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient that helps plants and crops grow, but high concentrations are harmful to people and nature. Pure, clean water is vital to human health and to natural ecosystems. Excess nitrogen from agricultural sources is one of the main causes of water pollution in Europe.
Nitrates and organic nitrogen compounds from fertilizer and manure enter groundwater through leaching and reach surface water through runoff from agricultural fields. A high level of nitrate makes water unsuitable as drinking water.
In rivers, lakes and marine waters, nitrogen and other nutrients, in particular phosphorus, stimulate the growth of algae. At moderate levels, algae serve as food for aquatic organisms, including fish. However, excessive nutrient concentration in water systems will cause algae to grow excessively. This affects the natural ecosystem and can lead to depletion of the oxygen in the water. This phenomenon, known as eutrophication, has negative consequences for biodiversity, fisheries and recreational activities.
…Read more: https://environment.ec.europa.eu/topics/water/nitrates_en
The EU also has another reason for trying to force down the use of fertiliser. Nitrous oxide emissions from farms are a potent greenhouse gas.
Special Report: Common Agricultural Policy and climate
Half of EU climate spending but farm emissions are not decreasing
European Court of Auditors
Since 2013, climate action has been one of the main objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy – the CAP. The Commission attributed over €100 billion – more than a quarter of the total CAP budget – to mitigating and adapting to climate change during the 2014-2020 period.
II The EU’s role in mitigating climate change in the agricultural sector is crucial because the EU sets environmental standards and co-finances most of Member States’ agricultural spending. We decided to audit the CAP because a large share of its budget is attributed to mitigating and adapting to climate change and because of the close links between climate and agricultural policy. We expect our findings to be useful in the context of the EU’s objective of becoming climate neutral by 2050.
Livestock emissions, mainly driven by cattle, represent around half of emissions from agriculture and have been stable since 2010. However, the CAP does not seek to limit livestock numbers; nor does it provide incentives to reduce them. The CAP market measures include promotion of animal products, the consumption of which has not decreased since 2014.
VI Emissions from chemical fertilisers and manure, accounting for almost a third of agricultural emissions, increased between 2010 and 2018. The CAP supports practices that may reduce the use of fertilisers, such as organic farming and grain legumes. However, we found that these practices have an unclear impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, practices that are more effective received little funding.
…Read more: https://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/SR21_16/SR_CAP-and-Climate_EN.pdf
EU bureaucracies claim they do not support reducing livestock headcount, but I don’t believe them. Reduced livestock headcount would be an inevitable consequence of pursuing their stated goal of reduced fertiliser use. Intensive farming, including livestock farming, needs lots of fertiliser.
Netherlands announces €25bn plan to radically reduce livestock numbers
Tom Levitt Thu 16 Dec 2021 01.00 AEDT
Programme to tackle pollution crisis caused by an overload of manure faces fierce opposition from farmers
The Dutch government has unveiled a €25bn (£21bn) plan to radically reduce the number of livestock in the country as it struggles to contain an overload of animal manure.
A deal to buy out farmers to try to reduce levels of nitrogen pollution in the country had been mooted for some time, and was finally confirmed after the agreement of a new coalition government in the Netherlands earlier this week.
But the plan, the first of its kind in the world, faces a huge backlash from farmers who have staged big street protests in recent years over the prospect of tough regulation and farmer buyouts. They fear permanent damage to food production in the country if too many farmers are forced to quit.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/15/netherlands-announces-25bn-plan-to-radically-reduce-livestock-numbers
Is fertiliser runoff affecting Netherlands and other European wilderness ecosystems? Absolutely – I’m not disputing that intensive farming causes algal blooms and significantly impacts wilderness ecosystems. But Europe has other problems, problems which should be treated as a higher priority.
European food inflation is already running at 16-18%, because of rising energy and fertiliser prices, and also likely because European farmers have to spend time attending protests against European attempts to ruin their businesses, instead of tending their farms and growing food.
Inflation in Europe is falling but food prices are rising. Who is paying the most and what for?
By Rita Palfi • Updated: 26/01/2023
Food prices have continued to rise across Europe despite inflation dropping for a second consecutive month in December, according to data shared on Wednesday by Eurostat, the European statistics agency.
The inflation of food prices in the EU was 18.2 per cent, and 16.2 per cent in the eurozone in December, which is a slight decrease compared to November on average. But some basic food items like sugar, milk cheese and eggs, oils, and fats prices are still going up.
The highest price rise was seen in Hungary at nearly 50 per cent, Lithuania the second highest with 33.5 per cent followed by Estonia with 30.8 per cent.
…Read more: https://www.euronews.com/next/2023/01/26/inflation-in-europe-is-falling-but-food-prices-are-rising-who-is-paying-the-most-and-what-
Declaring war on European farmers, at a time when food prices are rising out of control, because of climate targets and concerns about wilderness protection, is a recipe for disaster. The determination of Europe’s out of touch leaders to cling to their climate and wilderness protection goals, no matter what the consequences to the lives of ordinary European people, is undermining European food security.
Ignoring Sri Lanka?
Quite the contrary, it was a green success and they’re following the lead
If we’re all going vegan doesn’t that mean more ploughing, more crops, more fertilisers in the long term? Or are fresh vegetables just for the elite and the rest of us have to make do with something fermented, or worse, in a factory somewhere?
They’re for… the eco-aristocracy
“After an economic collapse and political upheaval, Sri Lankans have become resigned to leaner meals and reduced horizons.”
“Newspaper stalls are empty because Sri Lanka doesn’t have enough paper for printing.
Food sellers can’t get the ingredients they need for their products.
There are daily power outages, a critical shortage of life-saving medicine and basic food staples such as rice and milk are hard to come by. A perfect storm of problems led to this situation….
According to ABC it wasn’t the pro-organic disaster at all, it was Chinese loans and Covid.
Is it the Albanese Broadcasting Corporation? I think we should be told.
Europe is going down the same path as Sr i-lanka but the EU won’t learn untill there are food riots in most cities .
What has infected the leaders of these countries ?
Populations in all countries should expect ample food and energy at an affordable cost.
The lawmakers in the EU have lost their way ,even if climate change was a threat, no government should be restricting food supply .
All of these countries have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change .
Artical 2 b of the agreement states very concisely that no country should take action to reduce emissions in a manner that threatens food production.
This is exactly what these clowns are doing ,they will cripple food production and they don,t care as they (believe ) they are saving the world .
The most stupid parts of the Paris Agreement is the emissions on food production and I will explain why .
All emissions from food production are counted as that countries emissions where the food is grown .
The EU can restrict food production but the population still has to eat and the food is imported emission free . The Eu destroys their farming and as long as they can print enough money to pay for imported food their emissions will drop drastically .
In my opinion this is a ridiculous flaw in the useless Paris Agreenent.
The EU and America have to wake up to the fact that China and other Asian countries are ignoring climate change and are rapidly becoming the industrial hub of the world .
Here are some facts .
In 2008 world coal production was around 4.7 billion tonnes and now China alone burns 5.3 billion tonnes with the total world coal use exceeding 8 billion tonnes .
Why is the EU determined to destroy their farming when China and Asia have put 2 fingers up to the rest of the world and are rapidly gaining influence in Africa and the Pacific?
Vegan diets require less fertiliser and farmland to get the same calories because cows consume a lot more calories than they produce in meat.
There is a significant issue that a lot of colder or more marginal European farmlands aren’t suitable for anything but meat production, but greens probably think such places should be rewilded anyway.
Yes, you are right; pure thermodynamics.
But the NUTRITIONAL value of foodstuffs is not measured only in calories. Chemical composition (vitamins, some aminoacids, etc.) is very important: not only size (in calories) but quality (essential substances).
Once they reduce the world’s population by about 6 billion people, there won’t be an issue.
Fertiliser is very expensive these days, you think farmers want to waste it by having it run off into rivers and streams?
How about working with them to use the minimum they can, which is all absorbed by their crops, and maximizes their profits?
And our food security.
YOU F******** EU WEF MORONS!
This is what the EU think they are doing. I’m guessing from the protests farmers think the Eurocrats got their calculations wrong.
Anyone remember the last time they got their calculations right?
A number of times I’ve read comments about “scientific farming” or some such label being able to determine useful fertilizer application to avoid waste and runoff but no explanation of how that is done (if it can be done) or what it costs in equipment and time. It seems to me that it would require constant monitoring and calculation as fertilizer application occurs; there could not be any general calculations that would apply to results in any particular acre of farmland.
Also, nothing is 100% efficient. Any legitimate best case calculations would still probably lead to 50% over application to achieve optimum growing conditions. Regardless, nothing reported about regulations suggests there is anything more “scientific” than something like an ensemble of models being used, if that.
One obvious aspect seemingly being overlooked is the use of those defamed animal manures as fertilizer, which would ameliorate both sides of the problem.
It’s been done for years, at least to some extent. Either soil samples or the previous year’s yield are used to map nutrients for a paddock, and that is fed into the tractor’s computer. That then determines the fertiliser application rate, pre-sowing, at sowing or post-emergent.
The bigger challenge lies in guesstimating growing conditions in advance, which is a mixture of long-range weather forecasts, experience, and just plain guesswork.
WEF: You vil eat ze Bugs!!
To replace chemical fertilisers with manure takes about 8 cattle per person.
Ah, yes, cattle, now thy are also evil arent they, despite the fact they are just Aurochs, ancient wild animals that roamed Europe in huge herds like Bison, creating a unique grassland habitat with many unique species, a habitat maintained today by cattle.
But no, the Eco-Marxists would see Aurochs and all those species, butterflies, crickets, flowers, grasses, etc killed off in the name of ‘saving the planet’
Socrates: “No man is capable of doing great evil unless he first thinks he is doing great good”
Marx thought he was doing good. Killed 60 plus million people
Eco-Marxists think they are doing good. how many will they kill, and of which species?
‘Marx thought he was doing good. Killed 60 plus million people’
That’s a good estimate for his Chinese franchise alone.
Yeah, Hitler was a slacker, Stalin was a B-average student at best, but Mao was a true zealot in the Marx religious franchise. Unfortunately… fortunately? there are still sects in this world that embrace diversity [dogma] (i.e. color judgment, class-based bigotry), redistributive change schemes, wicked/final solutions, etc. with net-zero ambitions, and net-positive selfie returns.
Marx never experienced the fruits of his labor.
To be honest, his labor theory of value led him to think that spending his life on nonsense was worthwhile.
“manure takes about 8 cattle per person”
Related to the topic of manure:
The original —
The modern —
Yes, in any country there is a huge amount of value going to waste.
This is the time of the 6th mass extinction, don’t you remember? They can’t afford another failed prediction.
Net-Zero, they will abort the excess populations, recycle their profitable parts, and sequester their carbon pollutants in rites performed for social, redistributive, clinical, political, criminal, and fair weather progress. There were, there are ethical religious sects led by mortal gods, goddesses, and experts who dictate that planned populationhood (e.g. personhood) has a net positive effect.
This insanity hasn’t got to the UK yet, but we are looking out for the first signs. In the UK, food production is being slowly reduced by high energy and fertiliser prices, the policy of covering farmlnd with solar panels, growing crops for energy, building massive housing estates because of the growing immigration numbers, a policy of planting trees and a policy of rewilding farmland.
Ireland will be an interesting case as the directives apply there. From what I’ve seen, Parliament’s idea of taking back control means doing exactly the same things as the EU – except for trade, of course – only a bit quicker.
English land has to be divvied up between wind, solar, rewilding and then food – maybe.
“Monbiot’s solution is a ‘‘farmfree” future, in which our farmland has been re-wilded with exotic megafauna “
I strongly suspect the Irish response to a full blown Sri Lanka style crisis would be to resurrect some medieval customs. The Irish people I’ve met don’t show a lot of restraint when they think someone has seriously messed them about, but the Irish have a strong sense of tradition, and a good cultural memory.
Precisely why I said Ireland will be an interesting case as the directives apply there, Eric. There’s plenty of strife already vis a vis the NI Protocol.
It’s definitely not all Father Ted…
and they truly know the meaning of hunger!
They are LITERALLY insane. When are people going to rise up?
That is such a perfect word to describe the EU. EUtrophication
definition: the uncontrolled growth of stifling Green organisms caused by open ended uncontrolled, excess grant support.
This is a joke I tell the farmers I know: The best farmers in the world are the ones whose hands have never touched dirt and who have never spent an entire day in the hot sun working.
These eco-rules for farmers are being made by people who have no idea how much work was required to put food in the local grocery store. These same people also will be able to afford food no matter how much it costs. They are insulated from the real world. They have no idea how things really work, yet they are making rules for how those exact same things are supposed to work. Many of these people got to where they are because they can play politics, not because they are competent. In the United States, Joe Biden is choosing the most incompetent people he can find only because they are the correct gender, correct skin color, or correct perversion. Things will not end well.
Keeping in mind that Joke Buyme is just a sock puppet for the “Messiah’s” 3rd term, and is being directed who to announce for any and all positions in the faux selected administration. All in an effort to cause as much chaos as possible before slapping draconian restrictions on everything which makes a civilization functional. Notice the speed with which the administration is changing the everyday lives of all in the US and the world. Think of what the world was like prior to the installation of the current moron in the oval orifice. Major difference. Just sayin’.
Fetterman for VP 2024.
Biden / Fetterman 2024!
… it’s a No Brainer.
I see what you did there! 🤣
If farming, as well as any technology that supports the modern world, is warming the planet , then why do we still have bitter winters that cover just about all of the top of the globe? The Arctic has supposed to have been warming many times faster than the rest of the world and yet the sea ice is still forming while the area of the northern hemisphere that has been below zero has stretched from the border with northern India all the way over and down to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of over 8,000 miles, or slightly more than the diameter of the world. Northern Japan has been below zero for at least 3 months. At several times this year, nearly all of Russia has been below zero (largest country on earth), all of Canada has been below zero (2nd largest country…), most of the US (3rd largest country…) and two thirds of China (4th largest country…).
This is not about any warming is it?
Article says:”Pure, clean water is vital to human health…”
This isn’t true.
“However, 100% ultra-pure water is not good for our health…”
Bring bulldozers, not tractors. Start by crushing all the EU cars and trucks. If that doesn’t get their attention, start crushing the smaller buildings.
Wow, the Malthusians really want to do in growing food.
Remember Trofim Lysenko?
Again, the focus on EU legislation.
That is a problem, but it is a tiny problem compared to the almost complete shutdown of nitrogen fertilizer production in the EU due to sky high natural gas prices. I remember seeing articles noting that 50% of ammonia production in the entire EU was offline late last year, and 70% of nitrogen fertilizer production.
The various legislation passed has zero effect compared to outright lack of availability of nitrogen fertilizers, or quadruple/quintuple/higher prices for what is available.
BASF is laying off thousands of workers and slashing production at its largest EU plant in Ludvigshafen even as it ramps up a new $10B plant in China, and that’s just one example.
NZ also has a ‘bold’ plan to reduce emissions by reducing farm production by (at least) 20%. That’s according to government, so it’s quite likely it could be much worse than that.
First, there is no climate emergency. I am willing to be contradicted by direct observation that proves a concern but so far it doesn’t exist. Second, making food, energy and every other necessity of modern life increasingly unaffordable will make the lives of all but the most wealthy elites a misery and kill millions if not billions prematurely. Third, the misanthropes selling this nonsense may be stupid and selfish, but they can’t be fully ignorant of points one a two above. Therefore, the only valid conclusion is that these people are saboteurs intent on decimating human society while planning for thier own survival in comfort and privilege.
People think this is a mistake …. it’s not. It’s all part of “the plan”. Same with food processing plants in the US burning down in the past two years. Too many to all be “accidents”. Call me a conspiracy theorist until it all becomes true like many of the conspiracy theories recently. You don’t see countries with food deprivation problems doing this.
We all know that food comes from the supermarket, farmers are an anachronism.
Sarcasm if you can’t tell.
First they came for Nuclear.
Then they came for Coal’s CO2.
Then they came for Oil’s CO2.
Then they came came for Natural Gases CO2.
Then they came for Methane from domestic animals used for food.
Now they are coming for the fertilizer to grow the plants to replace animals used as food?
These people are NUTS!
Your carbon, their diamonds. Nuts with “benefits”. There are diverse precedents.
I know my idea is not popular with everyone but I hold to it. Stop blaming the EU and Brussels. They are an organization, organizations don’t do a damn thing. It is the people in the organization who are responsible for these terrible requirements and actions. We know who the people are, we need to call them out individually and hold each one responsible. No more hiding behind titles or faceless positions. If they have some sort of immunity or other protection then strip it from them. If we are able to grant immunity we are also able to strip it away. It is time for these knuckle draggers to go.
Why do governments insist on penalising the hand that feeds. By doing this it only affects lower and middle come earners by making food dearer. Meanwhile the rich elites don’t care, they can afford whatever.
Yes Mate, the elites and bureaucrats who are running the show in Western democracies, and particularly the EU, won’t feel the pain of their decarbonization efforts, because they are financially insulated. Here in Australia, the same ‘progressive’ types are flat out trying to ruin the primary industries, farmers and miners who bring in the wealth to pay for their socialist policies and sequestered lifestyles. What they have forgotten in their myopia about climate and the environment, is that once they have succeeded in impoverishing the populace and our ability to sustain and defend ourselves, along comes China and literally takes over, then they will be sacrificed to the common good.
Great plan guys, once a great country but soon everybody here loses!
“Is fertiliser runoff affecting Netherlands and other European wilderness ecosystems? Absolutely … ”
Maybe leave out the “absolutely” until you have checked for evidence. Most competent farming enterprises would be buffering their holdings against loss of nutrients. Here in Queensland this was started by the cane growers in the early 90’s, then there was Green Corps and all the Landcare projects. (I was an ex-officio member of my local Landcare group. Told by my employers to report back on progress etc.) The result? The amount of agricultural fertiliser runoff into Queensland waters is now so low that it cannot be accurately measured so is basically zero,but still the ignorati claim otherwise.
There’s nothing more dangerous to politicians than a hungry populace. I’m praying the people get so frustrated by food shortages that they bring about a Ceausescu Moment for the leadership of Woke Green. Hang them all, literally.
You are right about a hungry populous being the most dangerous situation any totalitarian regime can suffer.
Rather than the traditional gallows method, of dealing with these wreckers of civilisation, I would give them their hearts desire. Consign all those who decry fossil fuel and its derivatives, to a place to live collectively. Maybe an island in a habitable part of the world, say Ireland, for example. Give the Green zealots and the Climate Alarmists their freedom to control their own lives in their own space in their own way, with the only thing banned from them being fossil fuels.
That would be a lifelong sentence of hard labour and cold existence.
Because, They are worth it.
Eric, this is a rather vague, broad brush and therefore misleading statement:
”Is fertiliser runoff affecting Netherlands and other European wilderness ecosystems? Absolutely – I’m not disputing that intensive farming causes algal blooms and significantly impacts wilderness ecosystems.” You should dispute this with nuanced language and good data.
Agronomists, soil scientists and farmers have known for many decades about the nitrogen cycle and how to manage nutrients to optimize yields while minimizing leachate, runoff and air emissions of nitrogen compounds. They also know that loss of nitrogen other than via plant uptake is a cost to them. Agricultural practices have been IMPROVING over time. One can always find a few examples of mismanagement, but I expect that a review of the trends would show a gradually improving picture over the last 50 years.
Governmental hubris by non-farmers has suddenly declared nitrogen a problem? This is entirely political, part of the climate cargo cult. In all likelihood, the greatest point source contributors to nitrogen and even more so phosphorus releases and damage to surface waters is in fact sewage effluent discharge from cities.
Further, the declaration that nitrogen is a health threat is ludicrous. It has been well known for 50+ years that nitrate nitrogen harms only newborns and young infants (methemoglobinemia; also called blue-baby syndrome) when they consume formula made with water containing 10 ppm or higher nitrate-N. That is the health-based primary drinking water standard. Vanishingly few infants drink formula made with high nitrate water, and those who might and become ill can be treated and saved.
This is another example of city dwellers who have no idea where their food comes from and who have no idea about advanced agricultural practices legislating based on false claims by activist NGOs and CAGW lunatics.