Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Heat's On

Thomas Homer Dixon writes this morning that the hot weather we have endured over the last decade has taught us something about crop yields:

In the past few years, agricultural scientists have shown that crops critical to humankind’s caloric supply – including corn and soybeans – are extremely sensitive to even short periods of high temperature. Output of these crops increases as the temperature rises to about 30 Celsius, but then it falls sharply as the temperature keeps rising. For instance, just one day of 40-degree weather will produce a 7-per-cent drop in the annual yield of corn compared with its yield if the temperature stays at 29 through the growing season.
That phenomenon has a direct effect on food prices:

The drought and heat wave have already led to record corn prices. The world’s integrated grain markets will transmit these higher prices around the world, in time affecting just about everyone.

It may be easy for people to deny climate change. But they can't deny rising food prices. Unfortunately, as is always the case, rising prices always affect those who can least afford them the most. Combine those rising food prices with a burgeoning human population, and you have a humanitarian crisis such as the world has never faced before.

The heat is on. Either we take climate change seriously or we will turn the planet -- literally -- into hell on earth.

This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.


Anonymous said...

Well. Good luck with that one.

You couldn't beat that into Harper, Enbridge and Alberta's heads, no matter how hard you try. They completely ignore the extreme weather patterns. Their greed and stupidity, trumps common sense every time.

I plant my own vegetable garden.
A root cellar, keeps vegetables through the winter. I also have an extra freezer, where I have frozen vegetables and fruit. I can my own jam and pickles. My son has winter greenhouses. So we have, green onions, red and green peppers, lettuce, radishes, strawberries and many other fresh garden greens. My son also has, pigs, chickens, eggs, geese, ducks, turkeys, and an incubator to brood more fowl. They also barter for beef, and other goods.

There will be a very bad, global shortage of food. It doesn't help, when greedy politicians, sell off valuable farmland either. For hydro dams, urban sprawl and other such foolishness.

We have an excellent underground system. Communities should be able to feed, everyone within a 100 mile radius. Some of us plant extra, to give to the food banks.

We saw this coming long ago, and have prepared for the worst, which will certainly be upon us soon.

Owen Gray said...

I'm afraid you're right, Anon. Worse is coming. And while it may be bad for us in North America, it will be a lot worse in sub-Saharan Africa.

Someone will have to answer for what will happen. And hungry people are dangerous people.

Anonymous said...

I remember the so-called gasoline shortage in California in the late 1970's I could not believe it...

We were working building homes in Calgary that I'm now ashamed of just because of what Alberta has become in the hands of Harper. (Red Chinese Alberta)

And the natural gas furnaces were turned on 24/7 in the cold Calgary winters long before the building even had windows and doors so we could go in and warm our hands and toes during our break...

And meanwhile in California they were shooting each other because of the gas rationing, you could get 1 US gallon per day. But only every second day. Here is how it worked if your license plate ended in even number you could only get gas on an even numbered calendar day. And the odd number on the odd day. There were huge line ups and tempers flared and they were pulling out their guns and killing each other over gas...

I don't get it'''

When the stupidest distribution of food supply in the world (modern world today) shuts down it will be total chaos...

You are quite correct Owen.

And anon my hat is off to you keep up the good work.

Owen Gray said...

Lots of people forget how crazy things got during the first Arab oil embargo, Mogs.

When things get scarce, people can get mean. That's why Anon has the right idea.

Anonymous said...

Yes sir...

The Mound of Sound said...

Many years ago I travelled extensively and I invariably recoiled a bit at regions that were parched and seemingly barren. Places like Spain, North Africa, the American southwest, Mexico - they all seemed to be hanging on by a thread.

I suppose that's why I love coastal BC despite the annual rain festival (October-June). Everything is green and there is so much life of all descriptions. You don't need to be much of a gardener here. Stick it in the ground, it grows and grows and grows. Green, to me, defines life. Yet it's actually water that is life.

Owen Gray said...

Quite true, Mound. Before we were married, my wife worked in Vancouver -- where rain was a way of life, and where it was as natural as a sunrise.

Take away the rain, and everything dies.