Wednesday, 4 December 2013

World agricultural output continues to rise, despite predictions of decline.

Image: Heartlander Magazine
The year 2013 has been a great year for global agriculture. Record world production of rice and healthy production of wheat and corn produced strong harvests across the world. These gains were achieved despite continuing predictions that world agricultural output is headed for a decline.

This is the opening Sentence in an Opinion Piece written by Steve Gorham for the Washington Times. Previously this blog has written pieces with the theme "CO2 is Plant Food," and "CO2 is Good for You. "  ( See links here, here, here) And Even The Earth Is happily gobbling more CO2.

The Purveyors of Doom aka The Alarmists have been saying we will run out of food for more than 40 years. In 1969 Paul Ehrlich and POTUS Obama's senior advisor on science and technology John Holdren wrote  a paper published by Bioscience titled Population and Panaceas (link)
There is a tendency among the public to assume that technology will somehow solve the world population problem through farming the sea and the tropics, irrigating the deserts, and generating cheap nuclear power in abundance. The facts are that farming the seas is a technology that is far in the future, that tropical soils are not suitable for intensive farming and areas which are suitable for intensive farming are requiring immense amounts of fertilizer to keep production high, that the world is running out of water and irrigating the deserts will require immense technology, and that nuclear power is not cheap and it will be many years before it is abundant. Desalinization techniques exist which could make desert irrigation possible but every day a samll desalinization plant produces enough salt to cover 15 acres of land a foot deep. Getting rid of this salt is also a major problem. Before technology can possibly catch up with world demand, active efforts must be made to decrease the mushrooming growth of world population. - 
As Thomas Fuller called Ehrlich in 2010, "The Man who was always wrong..." (link)
Ehrlick inter alia predicted

  • Famines that would kill hundreds of millions in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Ehrlich... wrote that he would take even money that England would not exist in 2000. 
  • In his 1986 book “The Machinery of Nature” Ehrlick announced Holdren’s prediction that 1 billion people would die from a global cooling “eco-disaster.” (link)
Meanwhile, as Steve Gorham wrote in the introductory paragraph, 2013 has been a great year for global agriculture.  In Australia, we have also had a bumper crop.

Growers in clover with a grainy day gift

GRAIN growers are on track to deliver a bumper harvest of wheat, despite crops in NSW and Queensland being damaged by frosts and dry conditions. 
A 12 per cent increase in overall winter crop production is being forecast by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, with 42.1 million tonnes expected. 
This year's wheat harvest is expected to reach 26.2 million tonnes -- up 17 per cent on last year -- due to strong conditions and rains in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
The Editor of NatureNews, Mike Adams, wrote in March:

CO2 myth busted: Why we need more carbon dioxide to grow food and forests

If you talk to the global warming crowd, carbon dioxide -- CO2 -- is the enemy of mankind. Any and all creation of CO2 is bad for the planet, we're told, and its production must be strictly limited in order to save the world. 
As it turns out, CO2 is desperately needed by food crops, and right now there is a severe shortage of CO2 on the planet compared to what would be optimum for plants. Greenhouse operators are actually buying carbon dioxide and injecting it into their greenhouses in order to maximize plant growth.
And in the peer-reviewed Nature (link) increased CO2 enhances biomass:

Nature 410, 809-810 (12 April 2001) | doi:10.1038/35071062; Received 20 November 2000; Accepted 18 January 2001
Plant diversity enhances ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 and nitrogen depositionWe found that the enhanced biomass accumulation in response to elevated levels of CO2 or nitrogen, or their combination, is less in species-poor than in species-rich assemblages.
A study in another Peer-reviewed journal Biogeosciences (link - pdf) had a similar finding:

Biogeosciences, 8, 353–364, 2011 doi:10.5194/bg-8-353-2011
...biomass growth was increased under elevated [CO2]
AS we learn from Bob Carter et al's Taxing Air (Link), atmospheric CO2 has been much more concentrated in previous times without any disastrous results - See image below.

For further reading see

Alexander, R.B., 2012. Global Warming False Alarm – The Bad Science behind the United Nations’ assertion that Man-Made CO2 causes Global Warming. Canterbury Publishing, Michigan, 200 pp. 
Image: Taxing Air


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