Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Study Warns Of Food Catastrophe

People don't like being told about future catastrophes.  Actually they become inured by doomsaying religious sects who have been predicting the end of the world every few years for the last two thousand. 

Science is different.  If science had been around when the Americas were discovered by Europeans, and there had been scientists studying disease in the New World, we might have been able to predict the tragic decimation of the New World inhabitants to disease, and prevented it. 

Science is a better predictor than religion.  For example, the HIV plague.  But science reacted and HIV is now subdued.  Another prediction in the 1960's was the problem of the "population bomb," of being able to feed a soaring population, .  Well science found a way out, the Green Revolution.

But we are now onto a new level.  There will be 8 billion people on this planet by 2050.  And we don't know if science is going to come up with another solution.  There is a potential solution, GMO's, but it appears that the fight against GMO's is going to win, and we are then left with no ability to feed all those people.

What's aggravating this situation is global warming  Unless we do something about the CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere, the ability to feed people is going to dramatically deteriorate.  This is described in a new research

The new research is from the Global Resource Observatory, a project of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) partnering with the UK government’s Foreign Office; Lloyds of London; a “coalition of leaders from business, politics and civil society”; the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries; and both the Africa and Asian Development Banks.

“The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”

This is all described here.

The GSI group also does the scenario planning underpinning a new Lloyd’s of London report “Food System Shock: The insurance impacts of acute disruption to global food supply.”

Here is Lloyd’s summary of the impact of this shock:
Wheat, maize and soybean prices increase to quadruple the levels seen around 2000. Rice prices increase 500% as India starts to try to buy from smaller exporters following restrictions imposed by Thailand. Public agricultural commodity stocks increase 100% in share value, agricultural chemical stocks rise 500% and agriculture engineering supply chain stocks rise 150%. Food riots break out in urban areas across the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America. The euro weakens and the main European stock markets lose 10% of their value; US stock markets follow and lose 5% of their value.
All of this isn't some religious sect declaring the end of the world.  It's science.  The conclusions are sobering. Children who need a future, and their parents and their grandparents who care about them and their future, need to act NOW.  There is really no time to waste.