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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #350 on: February 15, 2014, 05:15:02 PM »
The "guano trade" before synthetic fertilizer manufacturing - somewhat interesting.
Ship High In Transit

I read that was an urban myth?

Regardless I think some wild animals - whatever wild animals are capable of surviving in the post climate change regime - are going to repopulate fairly fast. That's the typical progression:
- mass extinction happens, most things die
- "disaster taxa", resilient generalist species, rapidly colonise all the empty space
- over a very long time evolution diversifies species into niches (takes around a million years)

So whatever counts as disaster taxa (might include humans) will lay first claim to the remaining habitat once the more fragile species are gone.

JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #351 on: February 16, 2014, 03:26:36 AM »
The "guano trade" before synthetic fertilizer manufacturing - somewhat interesting.
Ship High In Transit

I read that was an urban myth?

Regardless I think some wild animals - whatever wild animals are capable of surviving in the post climate change regime - are going to repopulate fairly fast. That's the typical progression:
- mass extinction happens, most things die
- "disaster taxa", resilient generalist species, rapidly colonise all the empty space
- over a very long time evolution diversifies species into niches (takes around a million years)

So whatever counts as disaster taxa (might include humans) will lay first claim to the remaining habitat once the more fragile species are gone.
Have no doubt you read about "Ship High In Transit" in/on an urban myth web site.  BTW, the original spelling is not shit and then google "guano wars."
Beyond those did the USA seize island(s) because of bird poop?

You seem to write, "might be" NO Humans in a post climate change regime for re-population If that is what it comes too.

So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?


ccgwebmaster

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #352 on: February 16, 2014, 05:16:42 AM »
So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?

Personally? No, I think the odds of human survival are pretty decent. We're widely distributed globally, adaptable, omnivorous and with a proven track record of adapting to different environments. On our minus side we have fairly large bodies to support and aren't quite as omnivorous or fast breeding as, say, rats (which I also think have a good chance of making it).

Many people seem to conflate the loss of civilisation with extinction. I personally think civilisation is seriously threatened and likely to be largely lost (and point at history to show many examples of a loss of civilisation) - but that's an entirely different matter from going extinct (which cannot be ruled out entirely of course, just seems a lot less likely).

JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #353 on: February 17, 2014, 03:39:35 PM »
So, do you expect the human species is totally doomed?  Complete Extinction.
Zero breathing souls - nada - nobody?

Personally? No, I think the odds of human survival are pretty decent. We're widely distributed globally, adaptable, omnivorous and with a proven track record of adapting to different environments. On our minus side we have fairly large bodies to support and aren't quite as omnivorous or fast breeding as, say, rats (which I also think have a good chance of making it).

Many people seem to conflate the loss of civilisation with extinction. I personally think civilisation is seriously threatened and likely to be largely lost (and point at history to show many examples of a loss of civilisation) - but that's an entirely different matter from going extinct (which cannot be ruled out entirely of course, just seems a lot less likely).

Agree, I think human survival odds are very probable.

I do not agree civilization is threatened in my concept of what is civilization.
While some western (classical) civilizations fell and new world civilizations were decimated and I realize the preservation of knowledge could be a challenge (information storage and the weakness of current popular methods), but how far back into the "dark ages" would we regress and no longer print or re-print books?

What good would it be, such as a gold disc on Voyager, if technology regresses to where the disc could not be "played/understood?"  Was Sagan expecting discovering aliens to be much more advanced than us and be able to figure out anything and everything?

Loss of our use and love of modern conveniences I think could be mentally/morally debilitating to first or second generations, perhaps 3rd - 4th,  but a return to a quality of "quote" civilized life should not take a similar period of such as "early dark ages" to "middle or end of renaissance" if climatic conditions permit the smallest of strongholds to exist.
 

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #354 on: February 17, 2014, 05:03:41 PM »
Interesting quote from the head of the National Laboratory for Ag and Environment.


Quote
This warming trend and the shifting jet stream will have a dire impact on agriculture, especially in the farm-rich middle-latitudes in the United States.

"We are going to see changes in patterns of precipitation, of temperatures that might be linked to what is going on in the far north," said Serreze.

Jerry Hatfield, head of the National Laboratory for Agriculture and Environment in the midwestern state of Iowa, warned that this is not a phenomenon that affects only the United States.

"Look around the world -- we produce the bulk of our crops around this mid-latitude area," he said.

The main impact on agriculture and livestock will not come from small temperature changes, but rather from temperature extremes and the weather patterns that hold them in place for longer periods of time.

Droughts and freezes are already having "a major impact on animal productivity, it influences meat production, milk and eggs production," he said.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/topstories/jet-stream-shift-could-prompt-harsher-winters-scientists
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #355 on: February 18, 2014, 02:14:04 AM »
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #356 on: February 18, 2014, 02:57:58 PM »
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

Wili,
Hel-ov-a-life we have.

Some people claim lead poisoning from water pipes was a significant contributor to the Fall of the Roman Empire.  Perhaps we're all going to fiddle while the world burns.

I think we have solid evidence since "Silent Spring" and recovery among raptors (egg shells) that chemicals in our environment kill animals (indirectly ? directly).  Humans are animals IMO.

Will non-GMO and Organic become the standard for feeding the world's population?
Not IMO.

Any where you've picked-up on how long it will/might take for a super-majority ( >68.2% ) to become functionally incapable due to chemical poisoning ?

 

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #357 on: February 19, 2014, 08:23:13 PM »
Climate Change, Winter Storms, and the Future of European Wine

Quote
A cover story in Science News offers an in-depth look at how by 2050 climate change will render big parts of Italy, France, and Spain—the world’s three biggest wine producers—less suitable for growing wine grapes.

Wines such as sauvignon blanc and merlot will still be made, just in new parts of the world. “Some wine producers in Champagne or Bordeaux are already moving north and setting up vineyards in southern England,” which has similarly chalky soil,

From what I have heard the vineyards are on the move in the US also.  What will Australia do?  Where can they go?

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-13/climate-change-winter-storms-and-the-future-of-european-wine
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #358 on: February 19, 2014, 08:52:30 PM »
Canadian vineyards keep marching northward & we've palm shaded beaches in Ontario & BC now. Hope the ones near by made it through this winter - brutally cold here which makes it damn near impossible to get most people interested in Global Warming. The coming melt season in the Arctic may reawaken interest.
Terry

JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #359 on: February 20, 2014, 01:36:23 AM »
Canadian vineyards keep marching northward & we've palm shaded beaches in Ontario & BC now. Hope the ones near by made it through this winter - brutally cold here which makes it damn near impossible to get most people interested in Global Warming. The coming melt season in the Arctic may reawaken interest.
Terry
Terry,
I was in two different supermarkets (food stores) last week and could not find New Hampshire USA Maple Syrup, all was labeled as Product of Canada.

If we quit making molasses in Dixie, it will be a major wake-up call for "conservative deniers."


JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #360 on: February 21, 2014, 03:50:57 PM »
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

wili,
Another one for you.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Way above average number of Birth Defects ( parts of Brain and Skull Missing  anencephaly )
in  central Washington, near Yakima
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC )

Also, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986


Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #361 on: February 21, 2014, 05:10:10 PM »
Most positions claiming the likely survival of humans assume that we retain something like our current intellectual abilities. This may not be the case.

http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/02/silent-pandemic-toxic-chemicals-damaging-our-children-s-brains-experts-claim

A species of autistic, adhd dyslexics are not likely to be really good at preserving culture and writing, much less themselves.

wili,
Another one for you.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Way above average number of Birth Defects ( parts of Brain and Skull Missing  anencephaly )
in  central Washington, near Yakima
www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a5.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC )

Also, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/bizarre-cluster-severe-birth-defects-haunts-health-experts-n24986

Whenever hot spots like this show up, after intense studies, the medical community will usually be very cautious in attributing these to any specific environmental factor. This is not very different than climate scientists being cautious when attributing bad weather to climate change. It makes sense that they do this. Absent solid evidence, a scientist would be operating outside the realm of science. Having said this, I think all of the hotspots are clear evidence of environmental factors. We just cannot identify the causes.

I do not think these suggest, in any way, problems with the human species surviving. It is only in wealthy societies that these are even noticed and studied. As human civilization is battered by global warming, we will simply retreat to past practices. These kinds of infants will simply be abandoned. Only the strong will survive. You could argue that AGW will have the effect of strengthening the gene pool as we are culled by increasingly difficult habitats.

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #362 on: February 21, 2014, 05:38:23 PM »
But the "gene pool" will be and is under assault from all quarters--endless persistent toxic chemicals, myriad wide-spread heavy metals, and more and more radioactive isotopes as more and more nukes go fuku.

And as the scavenger society really gets underway and the knowledge of what materials are most dangerous goes away, more and more people will be engaged in handling more and more nasty stuff.

As for "we will simply retreat to past practices"--there was nothing 'simple' about most of those past practices. They relied on a knowledge base and an infrastructure that mostly isn't there any more.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #363 on: February 21, 2014, 09:03:13 PM »
But the "gene pool" will be and is under assault from all quarters--endless persistent toxic chemicals, myriad wide-spread heavy metals, and more and more radioactive isotopes as more and more nukes go fuku.

And as the scavenger society really gets underway and the knowledge of what materials are most dangerous goes away, more and more people will be engaged in handling more and more nasty stuff.

As for "we will simply retreat to past practices"--there was nothing 'simple' about most of those past practices. They relied on a knowledge base and an infrastructure that mostly isn't there any more.

It will be pretty easy to decide which weak infants and aging adults to dispose of.

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #364 on: March 04, 2014, 04:50:14 PM »
Crop diversity decline 'threatens food security'

Quote
"Over the past 50 years, we are seeing that diets around the world are changing and they are becoming more similar - what we call the 'globalised diet'," co-author Colin Khoury, a scientist from the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture, explained.

Vegetable stall, India (Image: BBC) Other crops provide the supplementary nutrients to diets that the major staple foods cannot deliver
"This diet is composed of big, major cops such as wheat, rice, potatoes and sugar.

"It also includes crops that were not important 50 years ago but have become very important now, particularly oil crops like soybean," he told BBC News.

While wheat has long been a staple crop, it is now a key food in more than 97% of countries listed in UN data, the study showed.

And from relative obscurity, soybean had become "significant" in the diets of almost three-quarters of nations
.....

....They added that estimates from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggested that "the diversity of cultivated crops declined by 75% during the 20th Century and a third of of today's diversity could disappear by 2050".

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26382067
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #365 on: March 13, 2014, 07:57:36 PM »
Quote
The prospect of meat as it is produced in the modern farming system, however, is not so appealing. In Farmageddon, Philip Lymbery – chief executive of the charity Compassion in World Farming – suggests that mass market meat is leading to ‘the death of our countryside … and billions starving’. For two years Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott, political editor of the Sunday Times, travelled the world to investigate ‘factory farming’. The horrors they witness will come as little surprise to anyone who has read Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Felicity Lawrence, Eric Schlosser or any of the previous exposés of factory-farmed meat, but they make grim and startling reading even so.

Quote
If you can get beyond the title, the great virtues of Farmageddon are its global reach and eyewitness accounts of the many grotesque landscapes – seabeds without oxygen, fields without wildlife, chickens without beaks – generated by our love of meat....

In Taiwan, Lymbery and Oakeshott see half-dead chickens being scooped into rubbish bags; in Argentina, they meet tribespeople forced off their land to make way for soya farms growing animal feed; in India, they track the wave of suicides among peasants no longer able to make a living; in California, they hear of children who have asthma because they live near a ‘mega-dairy’ housing around 10,000 cows; in China, they see a village where there is no clean water because of the excess of pig effluent from a nearby farm, run by a company producing a million pigs a year. Near the farm, they notice some strange poplar trees, whose trunks are bare and leaves and branches wilting. ‘We scrambled along the edge of a maize field, and then up a steep bank, and there we saw the source of the problem: a huge lagoon of putrid watery muck.’ This farm, ‘ironically’, had received accreditation from the UN ‘on the basis of its environmental record’.

Quote
Fishmeal is one of the filthiest secrets of the factory-farming industry, an environmental catastrophe that involves sucking millions of tonnes of small fish out of the sea and crushing them into fish oil and dry feed for farmed fish, pigs and chickens. The process deprives millions of larger wild fish, birds and marine mammals of their natural prey, drastically depleting stocks of important species. It also pumps vile fatty waste into ocean bays, creating ‘dead zones’; pollutes the atmosphere around processing plants, causing widespread human health problems; and diverts what could be a highly valuable source of nutrition for people to industrially farmed animals.

Quote
Global meat production creates a bloated demand for grain, which exacerbates the effects of inflation when harvests are hit, as they were in 2010-11 thanks to hot dry conditions across Europe, Africa, America and Australia. It is the poor who live with the direct consequences of industrial meat production: they are the ones whose homes are on the banks of pig lagoons, whose babies suffer respiratory disease from pesticide spraying. In Argentina, Lymbery and Oakeshott see what happens when a field with a picturesque duck pond and a fig tree is replaced with a cattle feedlot consisting of thousands of cattle in a sea of mud. ‘Around us was GM soy, interspersed by a lot of weeds and more mosquitoes than any of us had ever seen in one place.’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n06/bee-wilson/how-much-meat-is-too-much
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #366 on: March 14, 2014, 04:38:52 PM »
JimD, I am a fisherman and a farmer. Cruel treatment, an understatement, of animals is a very sad statement about our general inhumanity as well as a disconnect from our farming roots. Factory farms are a result of  markets driving moral standards and peoples willingness to bury their heads and ignore their own responsibilities in where food comes from. I noticed you didn't comment and I am a little gun shy because I got jumped the last time I did but as they say " only fools march in". I can't understand why some posters on this forum apparently support energy and commodity price supports as both of those things facilitate the horrors described in your farmageddon article. Diving into our moral shortcomings without acknowledging the market drivers of our corporate food system is neither effective at changing it or honest about our culpability. Cheap grains are a product of subsidies and factory farms are a direct result.
   

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #367 on: March 14, 2014, 05:51:08 PM »
Bruce

You and I are on the same page I think.  Sometimes I just toss stuff out there for people to see and also to see if anyone finds it interesting enough to respond.

If we had mandatory trips for all high school students to one each of a CAFO operation for producing eggs, chicken meat, beef, pork and milk I am pretty sure that the number of vegetarians would go up by a factor of at least 1-2 orders of magnitude.  LOL

I must admit that I still eat meat from the grocery store, but I long ago quit eating ocean fish due to my concerns about overfishing and how things like mercury get concentrated in fish (this resulted from my wife who ate lots of fish getting low level mercury poisoning some years ago).

People often support things they would be against because they have swallowed the propaganda fed to them by the media and do not know what is actually going on.  Witness our former poster who wanted to fight me all day over whether the US was an empire.  He had swallowed the propaganda that our country is a force for good in the world and our troops are protecting our freedoms.  Complete ignorance.  When only about 1% of the population are farmers god knows how their knowledge of how food is produced is going to be skewed.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Anne

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #368 on: March 15, 2014, 10:38:11 AM »
If we had mandatory trips for all high school students to one each of a CAFO operation for producing eggs, chicken meat, beef, pork and milk I am pretty sure that the number of vegetarians would go up by a factor of at least 1-2 orders of magnitude. 
I'm not a vegetarian either, but have cut down on meat a lot and try to eat it only from ethical sources. This clip from Samsara is fairly well known but still packs a punch. I can't post a link directly on the board for some reason, but if you put http colon slash slash in front of this, you should get it:
vimeo.com/73234721
or else Google "Samsara food sequence". Powerful stuff, and all done without speech.

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #369 on: March 15, 2014, 04:15:34 PM »
Corporate ownership of farm land. The trend leading to us all becoming sharecroppers.

Quote
That may be on the verge of changing. A recent report by the Oakland Institute documents a fledgling, little-studied trend: Corporations are starting to buy up US farmland, especially in areas dominated by industrial-scale agriculture, like Iowa and California's Central Valley. But the land-grabbing companies aren't agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill. Instead, they're financial firms: investment arms of insurance companies, banks, pension funds, and the like. In short, Wall Street spies gold in those fields of greens and grains.
.
Why are they plowing cash into such an inherently risky business with such seemingly low profit potential? For Wall Street, farmland represents a "reassuringly tangible commodity" with the potential for "solid, if not excellent, returns," the Oakland Institute notes—something clients are hungry for after being recently burned not long ago by credit-default swaps and securities backed by trashy mortgages. As the saying goes, you can't make more land; and as the Oakland Institute notes, "over the last 50 years, the amount of global arable land per capita shrank by roughly 45 percent, and it is expected to continue declining, albeit more moderately, going toward 2050."

And this shows you how the corporate folks take care of their land as well.

Quote
Of course, one advantage of owning farmland in California's is its Wild West water-pumping regulations. California's Central Valley, now parched by its worst drought in 500 years, is the site of much of that booming nut production. Almonds and pistachios are thirsty crops, as my colleagues Alex Park and Julia Lurie recently showed, yet acreage devoted to almonds rose by more than 25 percent between 2006 and 2013, while pistachio acres jumped 50 percent over a similar time frame.

For about a decade, Central Valley farmers there have been pumping groundwater much faster than it can naturally be replenished, to make up for reduced irrigation flows from the state's rivers and streams, researchers at the University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling recently found. The trend has dramatically increased since the current drought's onset in 2011, the team says. The overpumping has gotten so bad that 1,200 square mile swath of the Central Valley—a landmass more than twice as large as Los Angeles—has been sinking by an average of 11 inches per year, a 2013 US Geological Survey study found. And here's the kicker: USGS hydrologist Michelle Sneed, who worked on the study, tells me that it's not on land owned by family farms that most of the water sucking in the part of the Central Valley is occurring; rather, she said, it's on land owned by large finance firms.

She added that the switch from row crops like broccoli to tree crops like nuts have worsened the situation, because crop growers can fallow fields during a drought, while nut growers have to keep their trees watered or risk losing them altogether. The pumping frenzy is made possible by a regulatory free-for-all—Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a leading think thank on water issues, says California has no statewide limits on how landowners can exploit the water under their land—a state of affairs he calls a "recipe for disaster."

Texas lets someone pump all they want as well.  Stupid beyond belief.

BTW this has  been going on for years and is not a new phenomenon.  They will be buying up the excellent farmland in Ukraine soon.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/03/land-grabs-not-just-africa-anymore
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #370 on: March 17, 2014, 01:54:22 AM »
Climate impacts to hit crop yields from 2030s

   
Quote
Predictions that climate change will deliver sizeable benefits for the economy through much of this century will be challenged once again this week with the publication of new research showing that crop yields could be hit from the 2030s onwards.

    Research by a team from University of Leeds published today in Nature Climate Change predicts that climate change will lead to reduced crop yields earlier than previous models have shown. Scientists have long warned that climate impacts such as droughts and floods will damage crop yields, particularly in tropical regions. But it had been thought that any reduction in yields in some geographies would be compensated by longer growing seasons in other regions as a result of higher temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide.

    However, the new paper, entitled 'A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation,' predicts that just 2C of warming will be "detrimental" to crops in both temperate and tropical regions from the 2030s onwards.

    "Our research shows that crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected," said Professor Andy Challinor of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, in a statement. "Furthermore, the impact of climate change on crops will vary both from year-to-year and from place-to-place - with the variability becoming greater as the weather becomes increasingly erratic."

http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2334385/study-climate-impacts-to-hit-crop-yields-from-2030s?

Thanks to Graeme at POForums for this link and quote.

Does this change your 2050 time frame, JimD?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #371 on: March 17, 2014, 03:33:42 AM »
wili

Well that is certainly interesting.  I can't find a way to read the actual article nor can I get the graphs to display well enough that I can read them. 

It will be interesting to see how this paper is received and I want to read it first, but yeah it sounds like the research is indicating lower yields than previous studies.  But I am always cautious until I see the actual paper as reporters are very unreliable.  The phrase in the link which says this concerns me:

Quote
Predictions that climate change will deliver sizeable benefits for the economy through much of this century will be challenged once again this week with the publication of new research showing that crop yields could be hit from the 2030s onwards.

What does this mean?  Did the authors give a range, is that the worst case number and the median number is what?  Reporters often go awry on the details like that.

If the new median number on all the yields going south is much earlier than the roughly 2050 timeframe then that would require some research to see if an earlier date was warranted.

When is the median date estimate of when we hit +2C right now?  The article indicates the research said at +2C the yields go negative everywhere.  Was 2030 picked as that is the earliest we could hit +2C?

Do you have any links which can be read?
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #372 on: March 17, 2014, 03:41:18 AM »
wili

The below is the most recent large scale work on crop yields before your link.  It was done by collaboration at the Potsdam Institute.  Their numbers indicated at +2C the grain yields in the high latitudes were still positive.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,714.0.html
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #373 on: March 17, 2014, 04:17:33 AM »
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2153.html

A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation

    A. J. Challinor, J. Watson, D. B. Lobell, S. M. Howden, D. R. Smith & N. Chhetri

    Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2153

Abstract:

Quote
Feeding a growing global population in a changing climate presents a significant challenge to society1, 2. The projected yields of crops under a range of agricultural and climatic scenarios are needed to assess food security prospects. Previous meta-analyses3 have summarized climate change impacts and adaptive potential as a function of temperature, but have not examined uncertainty, the timing of impacts, or the quantitative effectiveness of adaptation. Here we develop a new data set of more than 1,700 published simulations to evaluate yield impacts of climate change and adaptation. Without adaptation, losses in aggregate production are expected for wheat, rice and maize in both temperate and tropical regions by 2 °C of local warming. Crop-level adaptations increase simulated yields by an average of 7–15%, with adaptations more effective for wheat and rice than maize.

 Yield losses are greater in magnitude for the second half of the century than for the first.

Consensus on yield decreases in the second half of the century is stronger in tropical than temperate regions, yet even moderate warming may reduce temperate crop yields in many locations. Although less is known about interannual variability than mean yields, the available data indicate that increases in yield variability are likely.

Well, the sentence I bolded, at least, certainly would seem to support your theory. Yeah, it's hard to pin down who is making the assumptions about when these temperature thresholds might be reached. And I can't get the graphs to load.




« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 04:23:08 AM by wili »
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #374 on: March 17, 2014, 07:05:16 AM »
I have mentioned  before a book by Walter Haugen" The Laws of Physics Are On My Side"
In it he documents K/cal out for a garden he maintains with a rototiller and he also documents
K/cal in of gas consumed with his tiller. His total are 2,106,593 K/cal in vegetables produced from a mixed variety of crops( no grains) and 667,375 K/cal in fuel consumed for an EROEI of 3.16
If those K/cal figures can be reduced further with a solar charged electric tiller to say 210,000 Kcal the EROEI can be increased to ~ 10.  I understand the tiller , solar panels and battery need to be accounted for in these energy calculations but they can be amortized over several seasons. So would the EROEI of the solar panels increase since they are contributing to producing food calories?
These figures are for about an acre of land and Walter claims this production results in $ 22,139.50 of gross income.
 An acre is most certainly maintainable by one man and K/cal numbers would change depending on crops grown. Energy costs for water are another issue that would also be variable depending on rain verses pumping costs but I am wondering if achieving an energy return of ~ 10 and providing enough food calories for several people from one mans work is a game changer?
 I am trying to run my two tillers long enough to answer some questions. First is ,do the tillers hold up to use ? The more years they work the more fixed costs can be reduced. Solar panels last many years so they can outlast the tiller and batteries . The other question for me is how many acres can be maintained with a few extra tricks like biodegradable paper mulch, trellising ,and crop selection.
I have had people say these questions might be of interest to an agriculture college like Cal-Poly ...  a local college.
  I would be interested to hear from anyone on this forum with advice or criticism . I will push forward because I am rather obsessed and I already have all the tools paid for with the exception of solar panels but that will happen soon. Should I go off grid with a relatively small number of panels or take the plunge and buy enough to run my well pumps also? An electric car for deliveries isn't out of the question and everything sells within three miles but first things first. 
 It is exciting to watch things begin to grow this season. I am loath to make promises and I am not going to make any claims until I have good numbers to quote but it is exciting to be farming in a very different way this season. 
   

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #375 on: March 17, 2014, 04:40:19 PM »
Bruce

He has some interesting claims.  I have a lot of doubts about his numbers.  I performed this very type of analysis on my farm a couple of times.  His numbers, to me, do not sound credible.

My guess is that he has failed by a large amount in taking account of all of the energy/cost inputs.

His $22K gross income from an acre is not all that high and indicates he is toward the low technology end of the spectrum.  I was over $30k per acre and knew of some who hit $40K acre.  But we all used a lot of machinery.

Your quote indicated he figured his EROEI on just fuel use.  There are a "lot" more energy inputs and costs which need to be taken into account to come up with a realistic number.

As you mentioned there are the inputs related to watering.  Is he using pumps, drip tape, piping, sprinklers, buckets, just rain, what.  Since he sold his produce and was not just growing for his own uses what were his transportation costs, does he have a truck he uses, just from a farm stand, what.  Does he preserve any of the produce for himself, canning jars, energy for the stove. etc?  You mentioned amortizing the tiller, but one also has to amortize all tools and equipment used in the farming.  Did he have to build deer fencing?  Electric fences?  Does he have a refrigeration unit to help preserve the produce?  What about a washing station to clean the produce?  How does he package his produce for sale?  Does he have a greenhouse?  Do his numbers on calories produced include crop wastage and loss or is that the amount he actually sold?

The point I am getting to is that his real EROEI is highly unlikely to be anywhere near as high as 3.16.  It is most certainly well below 1.0.  As soon as one introduces anything beyond hand tools and just human labor the embedded energy in all the items I mentioned above guarantee a number very low.  The reason what we used to do was called subsistence farming is that with just hand tools and human labor it was a struggle to achieve an EROEI much above 1.0.  I just do not believe what he is claiming.

I think we have to accept that we cannot live sustainably in a strict sense as soon as we start utilizing technology more advanced than hand tools.  Getting energy inputs as low as possible is very important as we cannot live without farming and that means some level of carbon emissions.  But  if we lower population sufficiently and let the natural world regrow we can possibly achieve balance and still not be a zero carbon emissions while growing food and maintaining some level of civilization. And maybe not.

 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #376 on: March 17, 2014, 05:34:14 PM »
JimD, Thanks for the comeback. I look around and see all those things you noted. Even buying used fencing, used equipment, and minimizing inputs as best I can makes me wonder if I am just blowing blue smoke. The fact remains however that when I speak of the horrors I see with my acidification issue it makes a great deal of impact to my audience to explain how I am trying to react. My boat uses more fuel in a day that my farm for a year and refrigeration , airfreight, trucking, etc. drives the footprint of producing some seafood even higher. I take no pleasure in scaring the shit out of people but I am a scary dude. I look this monster in the eye every day and most people either throw their hands in the air or mentally block the pain and as a consequence live out a life of fantasy.
 I agree completely that seed to table energy calculations are necessary to make claims but you would have to admit in a relative way there are ways to make those food / energy numbers closer to the hoe and shovel minimums than buying T.V. dinners and cheetos. As it turns out wealthy people are willing to pay more for specialty foods, organics and heritage meats and they for the most part aren't spending any time behind a shovel. Poor people who never got much land and never left the farm may be doing better than I do on these energy questions already but they aren't pushing the climate
message . I traveled the eastern block before I decided to forgo the pleasures of plane flight and I know survival and minimalism share common roots. I could walk away and live that life and maybe be a bit less a hypocrite but I haven't. I am surrounded by vast wealth but those are the people we need to change. Complicated problems, conflicted, and still smiling. To the fields 
 

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #377 on: March 17, 2014, 05:50:14 PM »
I have mentioned  before a book by Walter Haugen" The Laws of Physics Are On My Side"
In it he documents K/cal out for a garden he maintains with a rototiller and he also documents
K/cal in of gas consumed with his tiller. His total are 2,106,593 K/cal in vegetables produced from a mixed variety of crops( no grains) and 667,375 K/cal in fuel consumed for an EROEI of 3.16
If those K/cal figures can be reduced further with a solar charged electric tiller to say 210,000 Kcal the EROEI can be increased to ~ 10.  I understand the tiller , solar panels and battery need to be accounted for in these energy calculations but they can be amortized over several seasons. So would the EROEI of the solar panels increase since they are contributing to producing food calories?
These figures are for about an acre of land and Walter claims this production results in $ 22,139.50 of gross income.
 An acre is most certainly maintainable by one man and K/cal numbers would change depending on crops grown. Energy costs for water are another issue that would also be variable depending on rain verses pumping costs but I am wondering if achieving an energy return of ~ 10 and providing enough food calories for several people from one mans work is a game changer?
 I am trying to run my two tillers long enough to answer some questions. First is ,do the tillers hold up to use ? The more years they work the more fixed costs can be reduced. Solar panels last many years so they can outlast the tiller and batteries . The other question for me is how many acres can be maintained with a few extra tricks like biodegradable paper mulch, trellising ,and crop selection.
I have had people say these questions might be of interest to an agriculture college like Cal-Poly ...  a local college.
  I would be interested to hear from anyone on this forum with advice or criticism . I will push forward because I am rather obsessed and I already have all the tools paid for with the exception of solar panels but that will happen soon. Should I go off grid with a relatively small number of panels or take the plunge and buy enough to run my well pumps also? An electric car for deliveries isn't out of the question and everything sells within three miles but first things first. 
 It is exciting to watch things begin to grow this season. I am loath to make promises and I am not going to make any claims until I have good numbers to quote but it is exciting to be farming in a very different way this season.

I think this would deserve a thread of its own.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #378 on: March 17, 2014, 07:36:32 PM »
Neven, I will take up that challenge this evening. Good thing about blogging is it is a nice break from farm labors but gotta get back out there right now.
 Briefly, I think the best way to get good numbers is defining a parameter  and keep it small for starters.
To really get EROEI numbers up one needs to do as much as possible by hand with the solar, batteries and tiller as an assist. Removing complications of markets and planting high calorie crops will also increase those numbers.Crops that can resist pests without worrying about food safety issues ,as I must for commercial sales, will make this easier. Potatoes for example.
 Start small, keep it simple, have patience.
I do appreciate JimD as an honest critic and I know I have people in support( that includes JimD) as well as locals. 

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #379 on: March 17, 2014, 09:07:08 PM »
Bruce

I am just playing devil's advocate and mostly for the purpose of enlightening those readers who are not familiar with what goes into farming (I know you are).  It is easy for them to misunderstand a snippet of information and think an easy solution is right around the corner.  So I pick at things a bit.

The type of thing that used to bother me a lot was the energy expended by my customers in coming to the farm or markets to buy my food.  As you indicated many of them were quite well off and had no consideration of what they were doing.  Hop in the 6000lb SUV and drive a round trip that was often worth a couple of gallons of gas just to buy $30 worth of vegetables.  From an EROEI standpoint we are far better off if people buy at the grocery store on their regular trips.  An approximation of sustainable farming would mandate that regular vegetables only be marketed within walking/bicycling distance from where they are grown.  Only modern civilization could consider shipping vegetables great distances.  Thus the explanation for why pretty much almost all of what was shipped prior to recent times was bulk grain.   Survival food.  What we really need people to do is grow their own vegetables in their gardens (seasonal produce only) and only have grains (including potatoes) and meats shipped any significant distances.  And don't even get me started on shipping water all over the world disguised as fruit and wine!  If they can't raise orchards and vineyards near where you live you will just have to make do with local berries and whiskey!

But to be more serious the time is coming when we will have to adapt and stop a lot of the ways of growing food we do now and return to older methods.  We are going to pull out all stops to save Central Valley agriculture to little point.  A great amount of their problems are self inflicted; planting vast acreage there in orchards was stupid.  Plant only annuals and adapt to  the water variabilities by taking land out of production when it is dry and adding in on the wet years and they would be much more secure. Grow only the vegetables they can consume on that side of the country and let everyone else grow their own.  Put the rest in grain.  The US east of the Mississippi can easily grow all the vegetables needed on that side of the country.  Things like that.

Best of luck on any more rain this spring.  At my house in AZ we have had about 1/10th inch since the 1st week of Dec.  We are almost to the dry season.   
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #380 on: March 18, 2014, 06:50:52 PM »
DD picked up the 'meta-analysis' article and has a clearer version of some of the graphs:

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html

Wheat and corn in the tropics show the greatest declines, corn starting soon, wheat at about 2 degrees.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 06:56:32 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #381 on: March 18, 2014, 11:28:42 PM »
wili

Thanks.  The graphs actually are very similar to the ones from the big study I mentioned earlier.  I think what it boils down to is when the temperatures reach the 2C level and how much more variable the weather becomes making everything more unpredictable.

It sure does look like the tropics are in for it first no matter what happens.  As we have all sort of expected.  Collapse will come there the fastest and hardest I expect.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #382 on: March 19, 2014, 12:39:23 AM »
DD picked up the 'meta-analysis' article and has a clearer version of some of the graphs:

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/03/climate-change-will-reduce-crop-yields.html

Wheat and corn in the tropics show the greatest declines, corn starting soon, wheat at about 2 degrees.

If this is the recent paper that I watched a video presentation by someone explaining - there are still multiple significant factors (all negative...) that aren't included in the modelling they're doing to make these predictions - suggesting to me that they still haven't captured the probable rate and severity of agricultural output decline we should expect.

Increasingly extreme weather, resource constraints (particularly phosphate but also oil), and conflict were three I'm sure weren't in. I'm wondering if water (as a resource) was now that I think about it...

So we're still going to end up saying "worse and faster than predicted", though I appreciate it isn't the job of the scientists to speculate and ask those sort of "what if" questions (even where they're pretty obvious - they must be quantified and treated scientifically to produce a paper or solid prediction). That doesn't mean policymakers (and us) shouldn't do so though... provide we're clear what is science and what is speculation.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #383 on: March 19, 2014, 03:29:16 PM »
ccg

The other big meta study I have quoted before did have a paper that included water issues in relation to future yields.

There is some info on it in this topic

Science / ISI-MIP (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project)

Until we get our hands on the full study we can't compare apples to apples, but it does not appear that there is a significant difference between these two large scale efforts.  It looks like median estimates for yields falling significantly in the high latitudes start to occur around +2C and earlier for the low latitudes.  When +2C happens seems to be the key.

It is really hard to have an idea what is going to happen give or take a decade when we are talking about 45 years out.  I think that they are doing a pretty good job.  One thing that will likely help a lot for future projections is if we get our strong El Nino later in this year.  After a period of a flatter rise in surface temps getting a spike would go a long way towards helping see how the rise is going to effect growing conditions in many places.  We're toast for sure we just don't know when.
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How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #384 on: March 19, 2014, 04:41:29 PM »
wili

Thanks.  The graphs actually are very similar to the ones from the big study I mentioned earlier.  I think what it boils down to is when the temperatures reach the 2C level and how much more variable the weather becomes making everything more unpredictable.

It sure does look like the tropics are in for it first no matter what happens.  As we have all sort of expected.  Collapse will come there the fastest and hardest I expect.

I am not certain this is the case. The subtropics may suffer far more. This has been linked to here before but I thought I would link it again. As the Hadley cell expands, the tropics will see generally more rain while the sub-tropics will receive less. This suggests that the droughts we are seeing occur in the southwestern and southeastern U.S. may intensify.

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/10-11/biomathstat/Langford_W.pdf

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #385 on: March 19, 2014, 05:10:16 PM »
SH

I think that the determining factors which make the low latitudes see significant declines in yields before the high latitudes are primarily two; temperatures and water supplies.

The average temperatures in many of the low latitude areas which are locations for large scale grain production are already near or at the level which result in drops in yields.  All crops are evolved to be viable in a range of temperatures.  There is both a low and high limit.  And an optimum temperature for germination, growth and producing seeds.  Thus heat waves can cause real problems as well as average temperatures.  When averages rise there is also a natural increase in the ill effects of heat waves which occur on top of the average temperatures.  This situation will occur in the low latitudes on average before it does at the high latitudes.  Local conditions at a specific location can run counter to this of course.

Water comes both in the form of rain and via groundwater for agriculture.  One of the big issues everywhere is the future ability to obtain ground water for irrigation.  The situation in many of the low latitude regions is actually worse than it is in the high latitude ones thus that is one point making the low latitudes worse.  Another is that AGW is going to change precipitation patterns but it is also believed that arid areas will see drier conditions and when they get rainfall it will be more intense, while the opposite will occur in wet areas. Thus the water situation is not advantageous to the low latitudes either.

I am not trying to say that agriculture in the southwest is going to  be fine.  Just the opposite, it is going to shrink significantly over time.  The southeast will however remain very viable for some time due to the high average rainfall it is starting from.  Temperatures there will likely cause the greatest problems I think.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #386 on: March 19, 2014, 05:27:10 PM »
wili

Your post over in the other topic is relevant here.

Quote
Re: AVOIDing dangerous climate change. Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?

« Reply #49 on: Today at 07:47:27 AM »


If the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, global warming will rise 2 degrees Celsius by 2036, crossing a threshold that many scientists think will hurt all aspects of human civilization: food, water, health, energy, economy and national security.


--M. Mann

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mann-why-global-warming-will-cross-a-dangerous-threshold-in-2036/

So at current rates we hit +2C in 2036.  As I do not expect we will change that metric much this does indeed imply consequential shortfalls in food production starting soon after that date excepting extraordinary efforts being made (possible but who knows) in places like the US to change what we grow to increase global food supply. 

It does look like the data is leaning towards earlier dates.  It will be interesting to see how the numbers will change assuming we have the strong El Nino.  Will folks start to panic and make some intelligent changes or do we even more double down on BAU?  Or are things so far gone as to be fubar'ed.   
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #387 on: March 20, 2014, 05:05:27 AM »
So at current rates we hit +2C in 2036.  As I do not expect we will change that metric much this does indeed imply consequential shortfalls in food production starting soon after that date excepting extraordinary efforts being made (possible but who knows) in places like the US to
change what we grow to increase global food supply. 

Subject to the previous caveats, of course.

The flip side of course is increasing demand - if memory serves the leaked IPCC stuff (suspect it's on the forum somewhere) was something like +14% demand per decade vs -2% production.

So even if this were accurate, if absolute yields were to be dropping around 2036 (for sake of argument), demand would have shot up well ahead of that (indeed, around about now...). So food availability peaks and falls before production does due to increasing demand (part of which is of course population, the rest is consumption driven).

Hence it's really hard to see how the world avoids shortfalls in food production long before this date - and being a pretty inelastic commodity - that has important ramifications for food prices and social stability. High energy costs are another factor stimulating food prices of course (which I think will become increasingly relevant, as will resource depletion in terms of phosphate in the sort of timeframes you're talking about).

It does look like the data is leaning towards earlier dates.  It will be interesting to see how the numbers will change assuming we have the strong El Nino.  Will folks start to panic and make some intelligent changes or do we even more double down on BAU?  Or are things so far gone as to be fubar'ed.   

Intelligent changes? Looking at the level of politics being played out between the US and Russia over the last few years - I can't say there's much sign of that happening...

In general I've concluded that anyone hoping any single event (however catastrophic) will lead to changes in behaviour (especially productive changes) is placing their hope in a pretty unlikely place. Years of watching catastrophic events unfold, watching the little ripples that (sometimes) get into the media wash over people and then fade away into the oblivion of forgetfulness leads me to this conclusion.

Bad news is normal news. What's new? And then of course, defeatism and apathy rear their disgraceful heads...

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #388 on: March 20, 2014, 04:30:05 PM »
ccg

One thing that wili often brings up is that by converting a large part of US production (and the same could be done in other parts of the world as well) from animal feed to human crops would have a huge impact on the date of when we run short of food.  Even taking into account the increase in demand of population growth.  I have opined that this will not happen to a huge extent due to the lack of concern by rich people and the demand for meat by those of rising influence.  But the possibility does exist to extend the date significantly via this means.  It and other such factors can and some will impact the actual date.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #389 on: March 20, 2014, 10:20:15 PM »
One thing that wili often brings up is that by converting a large part of US production (and the same could be done in other parts of the world as well) from animal feed to human crops would have a huge impact on the date of when we run short of food.  Even taking into account the increase in demand of population growth.  I have opined that this will not happen to a huge extent due to the lack of concern by rich people and the demand for meat by those of rising influence.  But the possibility does exist to extend the date significantly via this means.  It and other such factors can and some will impact the actual date.

While I would grant that beef production in the US is dwindling (presumably due to a combination of adverse weather in producing regions and diminishing purchase power amongst the population), it is not happening as an intelligent response to the greater problems faced - but as a forced reduction that punishes the poor disproportionately compared to the rich (ie they can afford protein less and less while the rich can still eat as they wish).

I don't think such things will have a lot of impact on the date therefore?

If I thought the world would pull together and deploy collectively intelligent responses like rationing meat (and cutting back overall production) and ceasing diversion of food crops to biofuels, and providing baseline support for the poorest to retain social stability - I would push my timeline for collapse much further back (potentially 1-3 decades).

If I thought people would peacefully fade away as the carrying capacity diminished instead of fighting over the remaining resource base - I would postpone collapse almost indefinitely, as we would just gracefully degrade and maintain a high enough technology base that I wouldn't consider it to be a collapse (except perhaps in terms of raw population). In any event, with enough collective intelligence applied we would also be able to start reducing the population with more pleasant methods...

Unfortunately my life experience (relatively limited as it may be compared to many of the older commentators around) suggests it is unrealistic of me to harbour such hopes.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #390 on: March 21, 2014, 06:08:15 PM »
ccg

I just had a Pulitzer Prize winning post all done up in response and inadvertently deleted it.  Now you will have to put up with my regular writing.

I sincerely hope you turn out to be right on an early collapse and that I am not right on a medium term collapse.  I am certainly not against nor have I lost hope or I would not be here.  But hope and magical thinking are not the same thing and many have lost sight of that.  We need to keep dragging each other back to reality when someone drifts off into dreamland. 

I know we have somewhat different definitions of collapse and maybe somewhat definitions of what civilization is.  I go by the encyclopedia definition of civilization (i.e big cities, large scale agriculture, very complex structures, state rule, mining, trade, religious institutions) and consider collapse to be manifested when there are large population decreases and big drops in the complexity of civilization.

Having been a follower of environmental issues since 1970 and having spent my professional career gaining a broad range of experience in analysis of risk-benefits and executing plans based upon that analysis which put peoples lives on the line I feel I have relevant expertise  to make contributions to these rather important discussions.  I am pretty emotionless about the results of the analysis -it just is what it is.  I have gotten pretty good at looking at things objectively and leaving out the fluff.  My salary, religion, mental/physical world does not depend on my not understanding what the data and logic says.  An insurmountable problem for the majority of people (I am not including you in that statement).   That leads me to think that it will take longer than many others think but it also makes me certain there is no avoiding it.

Collapse is certain if one just looks at the numbers and the causes of those numbers.  There is no technology which does not result in  significant carbon emissions and thus there is none that can prevent collapse.  Renewables have somewhat less emissions than fossil based power sources, but no where near zero.  9 billion people living like the average African would have carbon emissions near 10 gtonnes.  An unacceptable number.

It all boils down to population numbers. 

Our population exists because of access to very high EROEI fossil energy sources.  They also were the  prime factor in us being able to build this very complex civilization.  They are also the main cause of AGW along with shear population numbers.  We no longer have access to very high fossil energy and that alone will eventually result in drops in population and  civilizational complexity.  When the EROEI numbers drop below approximately 12 it will no longer be possible to maintain population and current complexity.  We are very close to that number.  We are way above carrying capacity and heading higher all the time.  AGW is quickly spinning out of control due to high carbon emissions and current emissions will eventually result in large population reductions and complexity reductions.  Continuing high carbon emissions guarantee to result in AGW conditions which will be devastating to the climate and have potential to result in population and complexity reductions continuing for centuries.  In this situation there is no point in deploying vast new technologies to replace the fossil technologies that are still significant carbon emitters.  It does not get you anywhere you want to be.  Green-BAU technologies like  vast wind/solar installations and electric cars will result in carbon emissions several times higher than the African average of today and there is no prospect for anything much lower than that.  This is not acceptable if we want to leave a world for our descendants.

We have to make conscious decisions on a global  basis to dramatically reduce population (a human impossibility in my opinion - please prove me wrong) or we need to find a way to get to collapse as quick as possible.  I am in favor of nothing that extends the current paradigm in any way as it clearly leads to the worst possible disaster.

 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #391 on: March 22, 2014, 02:55:29 AM »
I'm sticking this in here just because it seems to me an interesting point that there is significant lawn area available for theoretical cultivation...

http://healthylandethic.com/2013/11/17/why-prairies-matter-and-lawns-dont/

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #392 on: March 22, 2014, 03:08:01 AM »
I just had a Pulitzer Prize winning post all done up in response and inadvertently deleted it.  Now you will have to put up with my regular writing.

Not to worry, I seem to have inadvertently left the Pulitzer with your name on it somewhere...

I sincerely hope you turn out to be right on an early collapse and that I am not right on a medium term collapse.  I am certainly not against nor have I lost hope or I would not be here.  But hope and magical thinking are not the same thing and many have lost sight of that.  We need to keep dragging each other back to reality when someone drifts off into dreamland. 

People (including you if memory serves, albeit with incomplete confidence on that point) do note that the longer you spend looking at these issues the more the collapse timeframe tends to widen out. Inasmuch as I have only really focused on them for slightly over 6 years, I don't yet have the width of perspective you would. So far I think events are proceeding slower than I would have thought they would - although I can also note large and fundamental changes that have occurred in those years.

It's reasonable to suspect I'll fall into the same category as many people who initially expect failure faster and sooner, by that token - and perhaps reality will be somewhere in the middle of where we're pitching views. That said, I'm withholding major adjustment of my views until 1. It becomes clearer if the more aggressive PIOMAS extrapolations are valid and 2. I get to see if the impacts on agriculture are as dire as I think they will be. The next few years should answer those points (or at least the first one).

I'm pretty confident we will see another iteration of collapse (similar to the Arab spring, but larger) soon - but what I have no grasp of is how many total iterations of collapse we should expect. It seems unreasonable to expect everything to go with the next one, even though I do think positive feedback effects ultimately apply.

My hopes for earlier collapse are similar to you in reasons - but I'm also hoping for a fairly rapid collapse (as I expect) as it's increasingly clear that gaining the capability to try to implement plans over a longer timeframe is likely to be difficult to say the least.

We have to make conscious decisions on a global  basis to dramatically reduce population (a human impossibility in my opinion - please prove me wrong) or we need to find a way to get to collapse as quick as possible.  I am in favor of nothing that extends the current paradigm in any way as it clearly leads to the worst possible disaster.

I actually personally think the key priority should be to raise the collapse floor and try to put in truly long term planning for a sustainable and ultimately civilised outcome.

The main reason I think that is that the population adjustment pretty much comes for free. We don't need to trigger it or cause it - nature will do it for us.

Long range planning for our species not only does not come for free, but virtually nobody thinks it worthwhile or will do it in the context of immediate and pressing major problems (people necessarily focus onto the short term in these situations). To me it is therefore the area of work more ultimately necessary?

wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #393 on: March 22, 2014, 09:45:30 AM »
ccg, thanks for that link about lawns vs prairie. I've long known and loved the graphic:



It's why one of the first things I did when I got a house with a yard was to kill most of the lawn grass and replace it with various native graminoids and forbs. Many have now spread to untended pockets of other yards in the neighborhood, I noticed. I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #394 on: March 22, 2014, 03:45:30 PM »
Quote
I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.

A mini dustbowl?

ccg

Quote
I actually personally think the key priority should be to raise the collapse floor and try to put in truly long term planning for a sustainable and ultimately civilised outcome.

....Long range planning for our species not only does not come for free, but virtually nobody thinks it worthwhile or will do it in the context of immediate and pressing major problems (people necessarily focus onto the short term in these situations). To me it is therefore the area of work more ultimately necessary?


I would love it if we got heavy into that.  It makes a lot more sense than most of the changes people grab onto.  Sort of in the same class as the Bugout Kit or the Earthquake Kit on a larger scale.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #395 on: March 23, 2014, 01:37:44 AM »
I would love it if we got heavy into that.  It makes a lot more sense than most of the changes people grab onto.  Sort of in the same class as the Bugout Kit or the Earthquake Kit on a larger scale.

I've tried to steer topics that way (or even added them) a few times but interest still seems rather limited. Too many techno-optimists and people in varying degrees of denial floating around, at least once you're into the collapse-y stuff (not to mention too many of the "it's all hopeless so I give up" crowd).

While I think the topic generally relevant - and somewhat complex as it depends on what degree of collapse you want to predicate your views upon (obviously I am looking at virtually complete collapse) - I'm biased in favour of ideas and things that can be done by individuals of limited resources.

The main reason being that I think actual actions are considerably more important than idle discussions and talking. Doesn't mean the stuff that is more hypothetical and requires more powerful resources and engagement isn't interesting and worth discussing - just limits the immediate value of such.

RaenorShine

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #396 on: March 27, 2014, 03:31:46 PM »
Dr Challinore appears on this week's Radio Ecoshock discussing the recent paper mentioned above.

http://www.ecoshock.info/2014/03/the-center-sees-edge-methane-science.html

Quote
CLIMATE THREAT TO WORLD FOOD PRODUCTION - DR. A.J. CHALLINORE

We've all got the sinking feeling. Climate change could mean food shortages in the coming decades. But we don't really know how, or how much. An international team of scientists has plowed through vast numbers of studies, trying to add up what we know. They've published a first look at their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. the Nature Climate Change letter titled "A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation" was published online on March 16, 2014.

This is the third item in the show but the others are worth a listen as usual!

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #397 on: March 30, 2014, 05:52:10 PM »
ccg, thanks for that link about lawns vs prairie. I've long known and loved the graphic:

It's why one of the first things I did when I got a house with a yard was to kill most of the lawn grass and replace it with various native graminoids and forbs. Many have now spread to untended pockets of other yards in the neighborhood, I noticed. I may have to cut back a bit on some of those native areas to expand my vegetable garden this year, though.

wili,

Nice to see again the graphic you shared, repeated at following Nature link. 

More 'talk' on the rhizosphere (root zone as called by us less educated) highly recommend
http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-rhizosphere-roots-soil-and-67500617
also
https://www.google.com/#q=rhizosphere

Vlad Jovanovic @
http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/group/fish-less-systems/forum/topics/dual-root-zone-possible-for-ap
sums it up nicely
Quote
"Research shows that plants in nature tend to specialize the function of their roots.
To make a long story short, we’ll divide the rhizosphere into two categories:
upper roots, and lower roots.
The upper roots tend to spread throughout the top soil specializing in seeking and up-taking nutrients,
while the lower roots go downward seeking out moisture, specializing in water up-take."
When it's hot and dry, that's why "pretty green lawns" with short roots, usually need extra watering (irrigation) to stay Pretty and Green.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 05:58:02 PM by JackTaylor »

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #398 on: March 31, 2014, 04:09:16 AM »
Looks like more support is growing for the view that climate change is already impacting food supplies?

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/31/climate-change-food-supply-un?commentpage=1

It was a rather contentious debate even here a year or two ago if memory serves.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #399 on: March 31, 2014, 06:02:41 AM »
The article draws on the IPCC WDII now available on the IPCC website.