Once again, the shrill calls for CO2 abatement to save us from starvation need closer examination…..Grain yields in most countries (other than Georgia) are climbing despite modest increases in global temperature. From a guest post on “Watts Up With That”.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I keep reading these claims that we’re all going to starve because of global warming. People say it’s going to be the death of agriculture, that increasing temperatures will cause significant drops in crop yields. Here’s a typical bit of alarmism (emphasis mine):

A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), indicates that climate change would hit developing countries the hardest, leading to massive decline in crop yields and production.

Whoa, a massive decline in crop yields due to increasing temperatures, sounds scary. So I thought I’d review the facts. Here is the global situation, showing the global yields of rice, corn, and wheat, along with the change in global temperature.

grain yields and temperatureFigure 1. Changes in global grain yields and global temperatures 1961-2011. Data Sources: FAO, BEST, Photo 

Now call me crazy, but what I see going on…

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Schmallenberg Virus Causing Heavy Losses in European Sheep Flocks

Heavy losses in European sheep flocks are being experienced due to Schmallenberg virus, for which it is unknown if the existing Akabane vaccine will be effective. This video from the UK’s Farmers Weekly explains the impact on one farmer in England.

Global food – Waste not, want not | Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers of the United Kingdom has published a well-researched and thoughtful report in post-harvest losses of food, which they estimate to be roughly half of the world’s annual output. This roughly matches the post-harvest losses experienced in Georgia also. Private investment in grain dryers, grain silos, cold storage and refrigerated trucks is badly needed in Georgia’s regions. Antiquated Soviet-era crop harvesters often leave over 20% of grain spilt on the ground, so upgrades of farm machinery can make a huge difference to financial returns and national food security .

Global food - Waste not, want not | Institution of Mechanical Engineers

“By 2075, the United Nations’ mid-range projection for global population growth predicts that human numbers will peak at about 9.5 billion people. This means that there could be an extra three billion mouths to feed by the end of the century, a period in which substantial changes are anticipated in the wealth, calorific intake and dietary preferences of people in developing countries across the world.

Such a projection presents mankind with wide-ranging social, economic, environmental and political issues that need to be addressed today to ensure a sustainable future for all. One key issue is how to produce more food in a world of finite resources.

Today, we produce about four billion metric tonnes of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach. Furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands.

Read the Global Food report [PDF, 1MB] “

via Global food – Waste not, want not | Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

New Shade of Green: Stark Shift for Onetime Foe of Genetic Engineering in Crops

An interesting presentation. Georgia currently does not permit agricultural use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). We have no dog in this fight but it is good to see rational debate on whether to use these products based on science rather than emotion and myth.

…..Watch Mark Lynas, the British writer and environmentalist who once helped drive Europe’s movement against genetically engineered crops, apologize for those actions and embrace this technology as a vital tool for ending hunger and conserving the environment. He spoke yesterday at the Oxford Farming Conference at Oxford University….. Here’s his remarkable preamble:

For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely.

From NY Times Blog “DotEarth”