Dire warning from climate experts: Global food security is at risk

posted at 5:36 pm on August 16, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Blergh. I’m not sure I care to count how many times we’ve heard about the perilous position of global food supplies from various sorts of gloom-and-doomers since the dawn of the green movement. There were the Malthusian pessimists who wrongly glommed on to the idea that there was no possible way that food supplies could keep up with an exponentially growing population, and then there were the diehard green purists who insist that no good can come from genetically modified crops despite their innovative ability to stop hunger for so many. But the gamut wouldn’t be complete without climate scientists finding more ways that global warming poses very scary and immediate threats to our daily lives, and food is about as basic and tangible a necessity as it gets.

Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers’ plates. …

“It is more than just the fact that there are droughts in the United States that will reduce yields,” he said. Like the other experts, he said was giving personal opinions, not those of the U.N. panel.

After harvest, floods could wash away roads or bridges, for instance, between fields and factories processing the crop. Or warehouses storing food could be damaged by more powerful storms. Such factors were likely to hit poor nations hardest.

“There are reasons to expect more frequent (price) spikes, given that it will be more common to see conditions that are considered extreme,” said David Lobell, an assistant professor at Stanford University in California. …

“It’s a distributional problem – there is enough food in the world. But the distribution doesn’t work,” said Bruce McCarl, a professor at Texas A&M University. Climate extremes could aggravate food price swings, he said.

The fact that the effects of variables such as extreme weather are likely to hit poor nations hardest is not news. There are a lot more hungry people in those nations, because those nations lack the robust physical, economic, and legal infrastructures that support a thriving economy. Poor countries are usually poor because the people are suffering under the oppression of communism, socialism, protectionism, dictatorships and oligarchies, and other economic and governmental ills. Countries witness wealth creation when they quit with the central planning and allow their people the freedom to enterprise and develop, and in turn, wealthier societies are healthier societies. Maybe the United Nations could focus their energies and resources on encouraging freedom and economic growth instead of lecturing more developed nations about how the activity of prosperity is supposedly imposing on others? Just a thought.

And perhaps it’s just me, but I thought that we were always supposed to assume that “weather isn’t climate,” or something? Do these scientists seem perhaps a bit eager to play up the alarm of individual data points to play up their globalist agenda?

Sorry, but I just don’t buy it — as I’ve said before, I almost unfailingly tend toward the school of rational optimism. That’s the beauty of free markets: They can adapt quickly, efficiently, accurately, and with agility to worldwide demands and conditions, as long as human stupidity via paternalistic government doesn’t get in their way and gum up the works.


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