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New study indicates dramatic fall-off in global crop yields by the year 2050

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July 31, 2014

A new study predicts that global crop yields could fall by up to ten percent in the next 3...

A new study predicts that global crop yields could fall by up to ten percent in the next 36 years (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new study has examined the potentially disastrous implications that a combination of global warming and air pollution could have on crop yields by the year 2050. The research is one of the first projects to take into account a combination of the two dangers, and highlights the humanitarian crisis that could arise should the threat not be tackled head-on.

The study, carried out by researchers from MIT, the University of Hong Kong and Colorado State University, focuses on four major crops that represent over half the calories consumed by the global population – rice, wheat, corn, and soy. It estimates that global crop yields will drop by around 10 percent by the year 2050 due to global warming, however the damaging effects of air pollution may be harder to quantify due to the difficulty in differentiating it from other damaging phenomenon.

For example, an estimated 46 percent of damage to soy crops previously believed to have been caused by global warming was reportedly actually due to air pollution. However, whilst the two phenomenon damage the crops in their own right, they are also inextricably linked. The rising temperatures caused by global warming is itself the catalyst that leads to an increase in the creation of plant-damaging ozone.

Furthermore, the study highlights that while individually air pollution or global warming would be damaging to global food production capabilities, together they pose a much greater threat, working in concert to detrimentally affect a much wider range of crops than either one could harm on its own. For example, corn crops are very susceptible to damage from heat created as a result of global warming, but less affected by ozone. Wheat on the other hand suffers in completely the opposite manner, and is easily damaged via interaction with polluted air.

According to the study, the effects of the damage will differ significantly by region. This is as a result of the type of crop present in that area, combined with the clean-air safeguards put in place by individual nations. For example, America has passed stringent air quality regulations, which it is predicted will limit the effects of the damage to crop output.

Whilst scientific advances are being made focusing on improving crop yield and quality, the fact remains that food production and distribution is still inefficient in dealing with undernourishment in less developed countries. The food shortage in Africa will only be exacerbated under current trends, with the study predicting an increase in undernourishment on the continent from 18 to 27 percent.

The end message is that world leaders must take the potential reduction in food production seriously, as they consider national air pollution and food security policy. A ten percent drop in crop yields, compounded by the unquantifiable damage caused by air pollution by the year 2050, is untenable at a time when we are predicted to need to produce 50 percent more food simply to sustain our planet's burgeoning global population.

Source: MIT

About the Author
Anthony Wood Anthony is a recent law school graduate who also has a degree in Ancient History, for some reason or another. Residing in the UK, Anthony has had a passion about anything space orientated from a young age and finds it baffling that we have yet to colonize the moon. When not writing he can be found watching American football and growing out his magnificent beard.   All articles by Anthony Wood
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32 Comments

I guess we all need to become vegetarians. That, or burn more rainforests for more arable land.

Seriously though, I see more and more young people around me turning to eating less meat for health and environmental reasons. Insect farms will spring up everywhere as that will steadily become more of a source of protein for people.

Seaweed will be grown in coastal regions and be incorporated more of as a staple food like in Asia. It requires no arable land, no water, no fertilizer and is healthy.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
31st July, 2014 @ 11:58 am PDT

Stick to facts guys. There is enough wishful Armageddon thinking out there.

1 there isn't any warming

2 Greenland would make a great farm

3 they nitpick on miniscule factors ignoring warming benefits to plants (greenhouses are build to aid plant growth)

4 increased CO2 is great for plant growth

5 GM and shifts in eating habits are always possible

Typical GW scare report with a narrow focus.

Stick to facts and science please.

Paul van Dinther
31st July, 2014 @ 12:05 pm PDT

The Dumb Farmer Syndrome assumes all farmers are stupid and that if the climate changes they will keep trying to grow the same crop forever instead of just adapting to the new climate.

In fact, if temperatures were to actually climb, farming could take place further norther and in the warmest regions more tropical type crops would be grown.

Bruce Schuck
31st July, 2014 @ 12:58 pm PDT

Mr. Paul van Dinther-----

In regards to your post, I would like you to back up your statements with factual based research as well...

1. Can you show me results that imply CO2 isn't on the rise and that it hasn't been due to human abuse of the land? In turn doesn't increased levels of CO2 lead to increases of temperature (Most of the light energy from the sun is emitted in wavelengths shorter than 4,000 nanometers (.000004 meters). The heat energy released from the earth, however, is released in wavelengths longer than 4,000 nanometers. Carbon dioxide doesn't absorb the energy from the sun, but it does absorb some of the heat energy released from the earth. When a molecule of carbon dioxide absorbs heat energy, it goes into an excited unstable state. It can become stable again by releasing the energy it absorbed. Some of the released energy will go back to the earth and some will go out into space. So in effect, carbon dioxide lets the light energy in, but doesn't let all of the heat energy out, similar to a greenhouse.)

2. I assume you are attempting humor with your Greenland statement so I'll disregard your bandaid solution as a joke

3. I was wondering if you could list the "benefits" to plants regarding increased levels of CO2

4. The basic plant food argument is that since plants need CO2 to grow, more CO2 means, by proxy, more sustained and robust plant growth globally. A quick look at the science behind this argument demonstrates its inherent weaknesses. In closed, controlled environments, like greenhouses and plant nurseries, an increase in CO2 does indeed spur plant growth. However, the globe is not a controlled environment, and it’s incredible sensitivity to a variety of factors is something that is often taken for granted when such narrow arguments are proffered. A rise in CO2 levels is not the only consequence of climate change, and it is these other effects that have had and will have more abiding adverse effects on plant growth around the world. While CO2 is an important element that stimulates plant growth, the planet's flora requires a cocktail of elements to maintain its health. Arguably the most important of these elements is water. With the global increase in temperature caused by the various factors affecting our climate's balance, increased evaporation means decreased soil moisture. Another effect of global climate change is erratic precipitation patterns. This causes extreme weather in certain geographic locations only sporadically, with overall, balanced rainfall drastically reduced.

5. "Shifts in eating habits are always possible" what are you getting at with this statement? If we are shifting our eating habits isn't that proof that our unsustainable living habits have caught up to us, which contradicts your argument?

Kevin Murphy
31st July, 2014 @ 01:33 pm PDT

Absolute BS. We are in a cooling period. The warmest year was 1930. Recent discoveries have revealed lies and distortions in the reporting. NOAA has been falsifying temperatures. The whole concept was a lie from the beginning and now we know that, but the liars and deceivers are still pumping out the lie for personal gain. Warming increases yields, If yields decrease it will be because of cooling. We have all had quite enough of the man made warming lie. It's time to put that BS behind us and move on.

b@man
31st July, 2014 @ 02:05 pm PDT

I'm sorry, I can't accept any of this at all, its rubbish. When today, they can't make annual crop forecasts with any degree of accuracy, how can they now pop up and tell us what it will be like in 2050? Meteorologists and greenies are the worst offenders, telling us what the climate will be like in 50 years when they can't even get the forecast for next Tuesday right.

Wally3178
31st July, 2014 @ 06:30 pm PDT

Warming may be more tolerable for crops in the coldest climates but that's also not where people tend to live. It took just 39 years for the world population to double from 3 to 6 billion: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Population-doubling.svg

The UN growth projections are based on declining growth rates and put the 2050 population at ~9.6 billion but hopefully they are right because if it were closer to 13 billion we would have some issues. The downside to the UN prediction is as poor countries become industrialized (leading to their slower growth rate) their energy usage per person also climbs to something closer to the rest of the industrialized world.

We are already over-consuming many of the worlds resources. We already have mass deforestation, over fishing, wildlife extinction etc.

Daishi
31st July, 2014 @ 09:04 pm PDT

@Wally3178 day to day changes are harder to predict than overall trends. This is related: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBdxDFpDp_k

Daishi
31st July, 2014 @ 09:07 pm PDT

If this is true, the obvious solution is to increase CO2 levels to stimulate plant growth - 2000pmm might be a good target;)

... or grow other crops that prefer the warmer weather.

Don't take me (or this article) too seriously.

Graham R
31st July, 2014 @ 09:44 pm PDT

Hahahahaha...some earlier comments I'm reading here make it clear that not only 1) humans most definitely *will* die out in the near future, in a self-inflicted way - but also 2) the human race most definitely *deserves* to die out.

This is totally reminiscent of Monty Python's movie "Erik the Viking", the scene in which Atlantis is sinking and its inhabitants sit atop the last bits sticking out of the water, and are denying that it's sinking at all. And the last denier only stops when water gets into his mouth. Yes, that's how it's gonna be! The Fox News guy gets to turn the lights off, blaming the end on "greenies" and "communists".

But it's all good, hey: We are just another dead evolutionary end. A short fart. Something smarter than us will arise.

BeWalt
31st July, 2014 @ 10:42 pm PDT

Don't forget that Monsanto has a rather large hand in the demise of our natural crops. Anyone can take a look at what they are planning -to 'Own' all rights to seeds etc.

Bob809
1st August, 2014 @ 01:56 am PDT

Prices of all the major crops are on a 4 year low. I am an investor. According to the farmers this is due to cooler weather. They are farmers though, not global warming alarmists, so their opinions are not based on scientific theories or climate models but on actual weather patterns.

Sadly the cooling will continue like it has for some 17 years since the alarmists started predicting a warm up due to the increasing C02, in spite of even further increasing of C02. This continued cooling will eventually start having serious impacts on yields.

I am not a scientist but at least agree with these that there will be a serious reduction in yields. I am happy to wager them that it would be due to cooling and not due to warming.

Let's wait and see some more.

Naughty laugh.

Johan Smit
1st August, 2014 @ 02:44 am PDT

Only three, BeWalt, Kevin Murphy and Daishi, out of nine, so far, who are up to speed with the science. As for the rest, well the sad thing is that they will take my family with them when they and those like them kill off our species. If it weren't for that, I would nod my head and encourage them to continue in their individual quests for a Darwin award. As for trying to convince them of the errors in their thinking, if all they can hold the views they do in the light of all the evidence, then nothing is going to change their minds.

Anyone who is not so frightened by the nasty climate change that they cannot face the truth should visit skepticalscience.com, where they will find out all they need to know about climate change.

Mel Tisdale
1st August, 2014 @ 04:16 am PDT

@ Kevin Murphy:

There is no correlation between human CO2-emission and the increase of atmosferic CO2-level.

In fact, the increase rate of atmosferic CO2-level correlates only with the global average temperature - that is, the increase of ocean surface temperature.

In 1998 (an extremely warm year), the human emission was 3,14ppm, and the atmosferic increase was 2,84ppm.

In 2000 (an extremely cold year), the human emission was 3,24ppm, and the atmosferic increase was 1,25ppm.

Helloo! Where is the correlation?

So the human effect on atmosferic CO2-level is a bullshit.

The surface temperature of the oceans determines the atmosferic CO2-level.

- - - -

The same stands on crop yields.

During the 20th century, while there were global warming, the crop yields were steadily growing all around the world.

Since 1998, when there are no global warming, and the crop yields didn't increased at all (in fact, they slightly decreased, relative to the extremely warm 1998 reference year).

So here is the proof, that global warming increases crop yields.

Rejoice.

Rumata
1st August, 2014 @ 04:55 am PDT

I have to agree generally with most of the folks about trying to forecast 2050 weather, food consumption, and crop types.

If nothing else they are ignoring a few things that will have to change dramatically in the next decade or two as far as consumption habits. Traditional farming will not sustain the population by 2050 barring an unexpected population decline of course.

Algae farming can provide more than ten times the food per acre than traditional crops, doesn't require arable land, and can be fed waste. Modern processing techniques can even turn it into a number of foods that are palatable even delicious. The byproducts of which can be used to make fuel and feed livestock.

Closed hydroponic farming has much potential, is 3+ times as water efficient as open farming, and would become even more attractive as open farms become subject to drought like the west coast is suffering now.

There have been a number of breakthroughs in technology that could result in low power desalination of water for irrigation.

Then there are new technologies like "air plastic" that will pull carbon out of the air and turn it into usefull product. So the future is definitely brighter than they predict.

All of these things are on the rise, and a number of other new advances I'm sure I missed. Most of these will change everything about how we conduct farming over the next 20 years. So predicting a sharp decrease in crop yields 30+ years from now is a little too much like prognosticating for me.

VirtualGathis
1st August, 2014 @ 06:18 am PDT

Whether the anthropogenic effects on the climate will decrease or boost crop yields worldwide is a topic that will have a lot of opinions and approaches in the coming decades. It won't be a sudden phenomena, so we will likely have time to adjust to its effects.

Just as significant is the issue of world population and its use of resources. Many say that the Powers that Be have plans to cull the numbers down to manageable levels through war. Others say that Mother Nature will control us through pestilence, famine and natural disasters. Conversely, the one-child policy in China was an incredibly bold move, but if it was implemented in the west, there would have been an outrage (but nary a peep came from the western countries when this became a reality). 13 billion will definitely be a stress to our existence, but more than anything, the relentless consumerism and the growing over consumption of the average person in the west will have to change, because if the rest of the world picks up this habit, there's going to be big problems ahead.

In a perfect world the west could be a shining example to the rest of the planet through innovative and people-friendly techniques, as responsible stewards of the Earth...

But I'm not holding my breath :)

owlbeyou
1st August, 2014 @ 06:39 am PDT

I admire the faith of those of you who continue to believe in ACGW, despite the increasing amount of evidence to the contrary. The temperature trend has been flat for 13+ yrs (conservative time frame), during which the CO2 continued to increase to ~400ppm.

The "link" between temperature and CO2, theorized by scientists to explain the late 20th century warming, has now been firmly demonstrated not to exist. Bear in mind, CO2 was thought to be the "culprit" of this warming, because scientists couldn't account for the warming in their models without it. The models themselves have been shown to be statistically irrelevant over time because of this faulty premise.

Personally, I think "global" temperature is much more likely to be explained by the oceans as a negative feedback mechanism. That is, temps rise, H2O evaporation increases causing increased cloud cover, which results in increased albedo (more of the sun's energy reflected back into space), which causes the temperature to decrease. Climate scientists have repeatedly stated that they don't know how to account for clouds in their models, and yet we can see how they (the clouds) would a fundamental aspect of this cycle.

At any rate, I recommend additional reading and independent investigation on this subject for those who retain an unsubstantiated fear of ACGW.

rip

ripshin
1st August, 2014 @ 07:20 am PDT

@ Johan Smit

So, 97%, that is ninety-seven percent of all the world's leading climate scientists, i.e. those who spend their lives studying climate change are of the view that the planet is warming and doing so at an alarming rate and a bunch of farmers think it is cooling. Who does Johan Smit believe? The farmers. Says it all.

If the sea-levels were not rising, the glaciers not melting and the permafrost not shrinking in area, one could possibly understand someone having a slight niggling doubt about climate change. But they all are and doing so at an accelerating rate. if Johan Smit is not aware of those facts, then he would be well advised to study the IPCC reports. As for preferring the views of a bunch of farmers on the issue, well, the mind boggles. I assume the particular farmers concerned were not operating in California (past tense chosen on purpose). Perhaps Herr Smit goes to a gynaecologist to get his teeth fixed.

@ Rumata

Depending on ocean conditions, such as El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, 93 to 95% of the additional heat brought on by climate change goes into the oceans. Whilst the air temperature has not increased a lot since the 1998 massive El Niño, according to NOAA, the sea temperatures have risen, so it is wrong to say that the earth has not warmed since then and anyway, the temperature signal is so noisy, it takes thirty years to be certain of a trend.

As for crop yields, what about ocean acidification? The CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere finds its way into the oceans and is killing of the small crustaceans at the head of the ocean food chain, but no worries there, eh?

I repeat, anyone who cares about climate change and is not frightened to face up to it, skepticalscience.com is a one-stop shop for all the facts and information.

If you want some amusement, try YouTube, Monckton Bunkum (in five parts) on the Potholer54 channel, to see someone doing their best to influence public opinion on the matter, and if some of the above comments are anything to go by, actually succeeding, so, perhaps it is not so amusing after all.

Mel Tisdale
1st August, 2014 @ 07:27 am PDT

Meantime back at the farm, while everyone else is arguing which way the weather's going I've been learning about these new LED grow lights for indoor farming and have learned how easy it is to grow enough food to feed a family of 4 in that empty bedroom I was going to use as a storage room. Mel Bartholomew who is a civil engineer has developed a square foot gardening method: www.melbartholomew.com/category/beginners-guide/

I've found it may cost a couple thousand bucks upfront but, the equipment is good for at least 5 years before anything will require replacement which equates to at least 4 years of free food! I used to spend approx: $250 per month on food and now I spend approx: $35 per month on stuff I can't grow.

Homegrown with no nasty pesticides and I pick them when they're good and ripe.

Currently I'm learning about aquaponics that lets me grow fish to eat as well as fresh veggies. Today high tech geeks are king and in the not to distant future it will be the farmer or possibly that kid down the block who got busted last year for growing weed in his closet.

Learn how to grow your own and never go hungry again.

YukonJack
1st August, 2014 @ 08:42 am PDT

The article is garbage, anti-science. Here is what the peer-reviewed literature says:

http://www.nature.com/nrg/journal/v2/n10/abs/nrg1001-815a.html

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/g99-044#.U4w815zmcmE

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/5/2492

@Mel Tisdale et al, here's the skinny on the 97% claptrap you're so eager to blather on about, follow link to source:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

If you need direct links to more information on this fantasy just ask...I'll fill up the page for you if needed.

This is a link to the SST graph (Hadsst2 data-set to 2012):

http://www.climate4you.com/images/HadSST2 GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979 With37monthRunningAverage.gif

NCDC goes to June 2014 and is showing 6 tenths of a degree rise since 1979, nothing to get anybodies panties in a wad over, not by a long-shot.

They have been debunked, exposed, and humiliated (paper retraction, etc) over and over.

Oh and btw, could please point to your sources for your "ocean acidification" (reliable / reputable). Seeing as how there is no trustworthy data-set on ocean pH? It is well known that ocean pH varies wildly over brief time periods and locations.

Lonnie Kempf
1st August, 2014 @ 10:47 am PDT

@Kevin Murphy

31st July, 2014 @ 01:33 pm PDT

Didn't see Paul's response to your rebuttal of his point so I thought I'd give it a shot:

1. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/clip_image018.png

(I know you'll probably balk at the website source but you can always go to the individual data-sets and do the work yourself. This is not disputed and warmists now have over 20 varied and convoluted "excuses" for the "pause" in warming.

2. I agree with you on this point, although they did name it 'Greenland' for that purpose.

3. & 4. Follow links (also posted above; sorry for the repitition):

http://www.nature.com/nrg/journal/v2/n10/abs/nrg1001-815a.html

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/g99-044#.U4w815zmcmE

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gbc.20027/abstract

5. I think he was referring to the claim that different crops have defferent sensitivities to environmental stresses (should they occur as stated in the article), so people might have to change the foods they eat based on availablity. I don't think it's going to happen, consider the fact that 14 billion people could tread water in Lake Superior without touching one another. We could easily feed these 14 billion with food grown in the US (using all arable lands for food production) alone.

Lonnie Kempf
1st August, 2014 @ 11:11 am PDT

Can we PLEASE get back to TRUE science?

I absolutely HATE how we are in a modern dark ages when the media feeds us trash over the actual science behind climate.

Google Global Warming IPCC Game Over. The IPCC's own data was compiled and it proved there was no such thing as AGW for (as their data shows) at least the last 15 years. This is so much the fact that AGW sites have even started talking about the "15 year hiatus" in AGW.

So what about all the ridicule from the AGW worshippers from the last 15 years? What happened to all the unquestionable, proven, don't touch my sacred cow or I will ridicule you to death facts? Are there any apologies being issued? Don't hold your breath.

And now people once again are going to start listening to these same people who were dead wrong (and likely knew it anyway) yet AGAIN?

The issue was scientifically DEAD when the Climate gate emails were issued. Yet even a year later, climate gate II occurred and hardly got any publicity, yet the emails included Dr. Carl saying he needed to destroy some of the damning data!

The UN responded to the IPCC report compilation by saying that they knew there was no such thing as AGW, but were going to continue as if there was .... just in case it could happen. This is simply another way of saying they don't want to relinquish the controls/regulations they have dictated or the money being made.

What money? Such things as the likely billions the AGW imposed laws vehicle emissions testing have robbed from the pockets of people. I wish there was a legal way to sue to get back all of this money.

It has never been anything more than about control and money grubbing.

Do some honest research into the "facts" the AGW side presents and you will find they ALWAYS overstate. As examples, see John Cook's supposed 97% agreement of scientists over AGW - its a total lie the way it is reported. Look into the supposed massive amounts (a otal of 4) in the lie about the AGW inspired polar bear crisis.

Don't continue listening to liars, and certainly don't remain being their puppets! Honest, objective research into every issue they bring up will, and does show a lie in the facts - period.

I personally have helped many see the lies they have been duped with simply by giving them the above info as a starting place.

But... you can lead a horse to water ...

Lbrewer42
1st August, 2014 @ 11:36 am PDT

@ Kevin Murphy

You don't like the idea that with reduced glaciers that are revealing medieval farms and villages on Greenland there is the vast swaths of land in the northern USofA, Canada, Europe, and Russia that absent of government policies screwdling it up will vastly increase farm yields. Assuming that the AGW models that have so fare failed to match reality do happen to predict something that actually happens.

Slowburn
1st August, 2014 @ 03:16 pm PDT

@ Slowburn

What you don't seem to like is the FACT that reduced glaciers showed us that it had been as warm or warmer than it is now and those medieval farms and villages couldn't have existed. And you certainly can't like the FACT that no known AGW model has ever been able to forecast existing or previous weather/climate. I'm sure you don't like ClimateGates 1 or 2, either, as they showed that even the "scientists" involved were lying through their teeth and faking data. You probably don't like the FACT that NOAA has been diddling (changing) the HISTORIC RECORDS, do you? Dayum, people (AGW, kumbaya believers), seek professional help for your failed religion/fixation, will ya? I'm glad to see so many sane (denier) replies here today. Kudos on not drinking the AGWK Koolaid, boys and girls!

ljaques
1st August, 2014 @ 06:41 pm PDT

The study worries that traditional farming will not be sufficient to feed us in 2050. That's true now, but not because of warming. Warming is a good thing. Less people die, crops do better during global warming. Commercial farming slowly ruins the soil, requires increasing amounts of chemicals, and produces less nutritious produce yearly. Organic is not more expensive to grow but to buy for two reasons: 1. The cost of growing is subsidized by govt. 2. The masses are unaware of the quality difference and therefore buy the inferior product.

Reference: "The One Straw Revolution".

Don Duncan
1st August, 2014 @ 06:55 pm PDT

They say that ignorance is bliss. There seems to be a lot of blissful people reading this article. I for one accept the science and I am acting on that science to lower my personal carbon foot print as much as I can and as quickly as I can. I can understand the republican candidates making those types of comments, they know better, but can't get the fossil fuel campaign dollars if they say different than the party line. What I don't understand are the people that have nothing to gain and everything to lose by believing the fossil fuel propaganda. Too bad so many will suffer for it. If it's energy independence they want all they need to do is set up their own solar array and drive an electric car. I haven't bought a gallon of gas nor paid an electric bill in three years.

Chuck Swackhammer
1st August, 2014 @ 07:12 pm PDT

I also believe there will be a huge decline in crop yields but there are other dangers beyond global warming and air pollution. I helped my Dad farm back in the day when crops were intensively tilled, rotated every year, and 1/7 of the land was sown in clover and allowed to rest for a year. Average yields of corn were about 100-110 bushels an acre. Then over the years 36 inch rows were reduced to 30 then to 28. Rotating with beans no longer provided enough nitrogen. We had to use ammonia or other chemicals to support the greater planting rate. To conserve the effects of residual chemicals, the crops were no longer rotated. This resulted in insect and disease problems. As a result more chemicals were used. Production was now in the 160-180 bushel range. Then along comes no-till and genetically modified corn. Up again went the amount of fertilizer and other chemicals to support 200-230 bushels an acre. Erosion problems decreased but the farm well is now contaminated with nitrates from all these chemicals leaching down into the ground. Since many of these chemicals are made from oil, the cost goes up dramatically with the price of oil. So what happens when oil gets more scarce or too expensive? What happens when the residual chemicals build up in the soil to the point that not even genetically modified crops can thrive there? What happens when all the runoff continues to build up in the oceans? What are the effects of all this contamination in our food? A few years ago I visited a farming area that was quite dead and barren but there was rusty irrigation equipment everywhere. When I asked if they ran out of water, the answer was no. It seems that their underground water supply contained a trace amount of salt. After years of great crop production, that tiny amount of salt accumulated in the soil until it reached the point that the crop production gradually went down to the point that the land is now barren and worthless. They had realized too late what was happening but were caught in a trap. To stop using the water meant no crops while continuing meant that they could make it year to year until it failed completely. I think that most of the American farmers are on the same road now with the over use of chemicals to increase yields and profits. They can't stop now and stay in business but how long can this continue?

Bob
2nd August, 2014 @ 09:06 am PDT

@Mel Tisdale

The consensus amongst scientists are a bit inflated in your sources. There is a lot of scientific evidence of cooling and warming cycles having affected the planet over hundreds of thousands of years. There were times where the weather was much warmer and the CO2 much lower and there were times when the temperature was much cooler and the CO2 much higher. The C02 level has a very tiny affect on the temperature in comparison to the Sun(the distance we are from the sun in our elliptical cycle, the sun's activity - this is very low at the moment and a cause for all the record cooling experienced ) Here in South Africa we had countrywide snow for the first time in my lifetime (54 years). Johan believes a theory is a theory until it is confirmed by some real data - not the count of scientist who believe in it. Antarctica is breaking daily records of ice and sea ice cover since recording began. America has recorded the coldest temperatures and longest winter temperatures since records began in some places. If you get off your manipulated main stream media channel a bit and do a bit of independent investigation you will get access to a wealth of relevant information and theories that are in fact being confirmed by actual data. I do not want to enter a public argument on the topic waiting some more and seeing some more has been a very rewarding modus operandi for my 'less scientific' belief about the climate on our planet. If 100% of climate scientist can't get it right for 1 day, one month, 1 year, 10 years, now 17 years since they manufactured their warming theory... You will be continuing to buy into it more and more by yourself. And you are entitled to do that.

Johan Smit
3rd August, 2014 @ 01:16 am PDT

The denialists are right about one point of logic. 97% consensus doesn't "technically" prove the experts are right. Even scientists can make mistakes. What they ignore, among other things, is the use of the scientific method to guard against or catch such mistakes.

Remember around the turn of the century when a couple scientists thought they'd discovered cold fusion? Turn's out, their results could not be repeated using the scientific method, so they were proven wrong, end of discussion. No ongoing "conspiracy." Obviously no one has done this regarding global warming, using the scientific method. Many THINK that they have using the "watch a few TV shows, google some stuff, cherrypick data they don't fully understand, copy and paste" method.

CO2 is neither good nor bad. Simply put, too little and the earth is too cold, too much, and it's too warm. Going from 300 ppm to 400 ppm of CO2 makes the heat trapping blanket thicker, warming the atmosphere and oceans. One of the results of this increased energy retention is stronger winds, more powerful storms, even the polar vortex.

So to be a denialist, you have to misunderstand or ignore the scientific method. Then you have to believe some things so absurd, I'll call them the Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbass theories of denial:

Dumb - That somehow, someway, tens of thousands of scientists are pranking us. It's an elaborate "scheme", for, some say, a few dollars in research grants, vs the tens of billions at stake for the fossil fuel industry. Right.

Dumber- That somehow, in a manner never explained, they have kept this big secret, among tens of thousands of people across the globe, for years. Wow! People are notoriously bad at keeping secrets. What, do they have secret skype sessions? How again have they done this?

Dumbass - Using google and cherrypicked data they do not fully understand, that THEY, laymen, can "prove" that scientists, experts in the field, with millions of years of combined research hours, who know the difference at an atomic level between CO2 from volcanoes and from burning fossil fuels, THEY have found the mistakes that these experts have either overlooked or hidden from us? Really? That they are smarter than all these really smart people with PhDs(7+ years of school), decades of research afterward, using real, raw data found in the field. Using the scientific method. My only question here is are they more stubborn, arrogant, or stupid?

daman
3rd August, 2014 @ 08:58 am PDT

@Damian

Your claim of 97% consensus is absolute BS. It is a quote from a politician, the same crowd that had the most importand life sustainig gas on the planet classified as a pollutant. There is specifically no consensus that C02 causes warming. In fact the evidence in the ice records actually indicates that higher C02 follows warming. This also satisfies logic and the average intellect. Huge amounts of C02 is released from the oceans when it is warmed up, not cooled down. Similar to your warm coca cola. The average 10 year old can figure this out.

I don't mind you calling me a denialist, I would be concerned If it came from a more intelligent source. At least I am not denying the facts.

The facts of the solar cycles that has left evidence of our cyclic climate for hundreds of thousands of years. Ongoing measurable evidence. Denied by yourself. Focussing on the 0.04 percent of C02 while cloud cover is clearly a far bigger player of reflecting sun away from the planet and trapping heat. > 10000x bigger effect than C02.

The biggest denial that is going on here is of coarse the evidence over the last 2 decades of increased C02 emmisions with absolutely no increase in global temperatures.

The other important things being denied is the failure of increased storm activity as professed. The daily all time record breaking ice sheet growth.

The consensus here that AGW is bullshit is overwhelming and nobody had to jinks the numbers. It is taking America much longer to realise this than the rest of the world. Why?

Donating your warm clothes to those in denial of your coming warming catastrophy would clear you from being suspected a closet denier.

I live completely off the grid and have for some years. I love the environment and I love being completely self sufficient. C02 is not the poison. Killing our forests to make burgers is. The forests are the lungs of the planet. On the route the politicians are steering the ship, being self sufficient is a good choice. It also feels good and it solves the crop and energy issues immediately. It does nothing to global warming as global warming does not exist on the planet at this time or the forseeable future.

Johan Smit
3rd August, 2014 @ 11:36 pm PDT

Large chemical seed companies have made food a commodity. We shouldn't lie to ourselves......there is enough food being produced for the whole world. Grain and foodstuffs rot in sea cans in ports and bumper crops here in my province in Canada lay out to rot. Chemical seed companies and Monoculture systems, in concert with potential global warming and poor air quality form the destructive equation.

(Monoculture systems require huge petrol burning equipment to lay seed and fertilize with poisonous chemicals....just in case you didn't see the relation)

Solution: Create sustainable food production systems, that contain many elements working in concert with eachother to produce diverse yield. EARTH CARE. PEOPLE CARE. RETURN TO SURPLUS.

Revolta78
4th August, 2014 @ 09:37 am PDT

The population of the Earth has doubled in my lifetime.

Its sad that people can deny we're stuffing the place.

So what if no one can agree on a 'currency' to count the cost.

Go look at all the places where glaciers used to be.

Ozuzi
5th August, 2014 @ 06:06 pm PDT
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