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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #400 on: March 31, 2014, 06:19:18 PM »
The operative IPCC chart.  Some yields will increase, but many more will decrease.
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Apocalypse4Real

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #401 on: April 06, 2014, 11:04:59 PM »
Something else that will have an impact in the short and long term is global drought.

Jim Kim of the World Bank, in an April 3 interview, stated that climate change impacts on water will translate into food shortages in this coming decade.

"The water issue is critically related to climate change. People say that carbon is the currency of climate change. Water is the teeth. Fights over water and food are going to be the most significant direct impacts of climate change in the next five to 10 years. There's just no question about it."

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/climate-change-battle-food-head-world-bank

I have posted on the drought severity for the past year in today's blog post.

http://a4rglobalmethanetracking.blogspot.com/

RaenorShine

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #402 on: April 07, 2014, 09:52:04 AM »
UN FAO Food price index up to 212.8 for March 2014. Increase of 4.8 points (2.3%) blamed on unfavorable weather conditions (including the upcoming el Nino) and Crimea.

http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/

BornFromTheVoid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #403 on: April 07, 2014, 10:07:20 AM »
Field study shows why food quality will suffer with rising carbon dioxide

For the first time, a field test has demonstrated that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants' assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies.
Findings from this wheat field-test study, led by a UC Davis plant scientist, will be reported online April 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change.
"Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing," said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.
"Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop," he said.
The assimilation, or processing, of nitrogen plays a key role in the plant's growth and productivity. In food crops, it is especially important because plants use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Wheat, in particular, provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet.



More here http://phys.org/news/2014-04-field-food-quality-carbon-dioxide.html

The paper itself
Nitrate assimilation is inhibited by elevated CO2 in field-grown wheat
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2183.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #404 on: April 07, 2014, 02:29:19 PM »
"Even with recent snowfall in the mountains, California’s agricultural industry has recently increased its prediction of crop losses and their economic impact. The California Farm Water Coalition estimated in mid-March that the state’s farmers will idle 800,000 acres this year, up from 500,000 acres, and that that will mean an economic loss to the state of about $7.5 billion, a 50 percent increase from previous forecasts."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/02/3421978/california-drought-wildfires/
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JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #405 on: April 07, 2014, 05:18:23 PM »
Food prices are on a roll

Quote
.....A separate foodstuffs index tracked by the American Farm Bureau Federation showed a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in March, largely thanks to double-digit increases in the price of bacon and ground chuck while basics such as bread, milk and eggs also posted gains in the high single-digits.

According to the Department of Agriculture, food prices here in the U.S. are expected to increase by between 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year.  If they do break the 3 percent mark, it will likely be the largest increase since 2011 and more than double last year’s 1.4 percent rise.

The rising cost of food isn’t an isolated U.S. problem. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s global food price index showed a big 2.3 percent year-over-year swing in March, hitting the highest level in nearly a year. If you drill down, the price of grains alone soared 5.2 percent to their highest cost since August. Sugar posted the largest increase of 7.9 percent with dairy prices being the only one to show a decrease in the month....

Now if we get a few crop failures this season and next due to the budding El Nino we might have an interesting situation develop.

http://www.testosteronepit.com/home/2014/4/5/inflation-watch-global-food-disruptions-commodity-prices-soa.html
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 #406 on: April 09, 2014, 06:19:56 PM »
I have read for what seems a long time that the percentage of food wasted in the US was about 40%.  Many others have quoted this figure as a likely target to improving food security.  As a former farmer I have pointed out that much of this loss is unavoidable and while there is obviously room for improvement that the potential is much less than it looks like.

New figures from the USDA now indicate that the percentage in the US is down to 31%.  That is a significant improvement (providing the 40% number was right.

The link shows an interesting chart of where the food losses occur.  Improving this is not going to be easy at all.

http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com/2014/02/usda-estimates-that-31-of-food-supply.html
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 #407 on: April 09, 2014, 07:34:31 PM »
"The link shows an interesting chart of where the food losses occur.  Improving this is not going to be easy at all."

Yes and no. The chart shows that nearly half of the waste is in meat, dairy and sweetener, none of which are necessary for a healthy diet (and all of which tend to lead to bad health outcomes). Eliminate or vastly reduce these, and you have also cut waste by nearly half.

See, easy. ;D

It does seem to me that the measure should not just be weight but total calories, in which case, these segments of the pie would surely be much more than half, since they are all much more calorie dense than vegetables, fruits and grains.
"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."

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #408 on: April 10, 2014, 04:10:39 AM »
LOL. Eating meat is right up there with the 2nd amendment. In a way they go together.

Vegetables, fruit and dairy are in general much harder not to lose to spoilage though.  Especially vegetables.  When I went to the market with say 200 bags of cut greens and came home with 50 I had a great day.  25% wastage right there as those 50 bags go in the compost pile.  Not counting the waste in harvest, cleaning and packaging, nor what the customer wastes when they get home.  Probably the best overall you can do with that crop is 50% ever. 

There are so many problems with cutting food wastage dramatically.
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 #409 on: April 10, 2014, 08:30:56 PM »
Good points. But would it have been impossible to drop those off at a food shelter before heading home? Perhaps there wasn't one in the are? Or are there legal restrictions on that sort of thing in your area. IIRC, Second Harvest regularly comes in as the charity that gets the largest # of donations just because there is so much food out there that can fairly easily be 're-purposed' in enough time to be useful, and I'm pretty sure they are just scratching the surface. Lots of other wastes can go to pig feed, so they are still going toward ultimate food (though I guess you could essentially say the same thing about composting the stuff). But then we're back to meat eating again, and not even kosher meat eating! :)

It does seem to me that the vegetable waste issue is another argument for having lots of home/victory gardens, especially if people coordinate some with neighbors so everyone isn't planting zucchini at once so there's no on to give the (sometime vast) excess away to.
"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."

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #410 on: April 10, 2014, 09:32:48 PM »
In retail numbers we probably gave about $200/wk to the various food banks. 

But many farmers don't contribute much as they determine that what is best for the farming operation is that produce which does not bring in revenues is better off in the compost pile where it eventually gets recycled into another crop which can be sold.  There is good and bad with either direction.

In an ideal world all the spoiled or wasted food would end up in compost and be recycled.  Most ends up in landfills. 

Everyone should have gardens who can grow one.  In the not too distant future I am sure that will be the case.  Growing and shipping regular vegetables makes is crazy in a sustainable sense.
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 #411 on: April 11, 2014, 02:23:13 AM »
"Most ends up in landfills." That there is the real tragedy. Doubly so since it is not just an utter waste, but the product of that decomposition is much more likely to be methane, a much stronger ghg than the (mostly) CO2 that compost produces a bit of.
"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."

adelady

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #412 on: April 11, 2014, 08:03:57 AM »
Adding insult to the injury of declining crop yields and food wastage, it looks like nutritional quality of food will also be adversely affected. 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140406162420.htm   

Wheat, rice, barley, potatoes.  Considering how many people in the world rely very heavily on one of these crops for a very large part of their diet, this is unhappy news.   



Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #413 on: April 11, 2014, 03:29:09 PM »
I like this model:  Colorado Springs Food Rescue

"Not only do volunteers collect donations of day-old bread and blemished produce from local bakeries and stores such as Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, they also salvage uneaten cooked food from the school cafeteria and deliver it, primarily by bicycle, to agencies that feed the poor."

http://gazette.com/support-growing-for-colorado-college-students-efforts-to-rescue-food-waste/article/1515030#AvS8GeCIqEIZ1xXi.99
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JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #414 on: April 11, 2014, 05:00:49 PM »
Another little item to consider in salvaging food as mentioned above is the means used to perform that function.

Depending on the resources used (vehicles and such) the expenditure of energy can impact the EROEI of the produced food in a very negative manner.   One food bank that I was familiar with ran around in a big box truck picking up an amount of produce which would have easily fit into a van.   But conversely one outfit had an industrial bicycle and a aluminum trailer about 8 feet long it pulled.  Pretty effective in the city.
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 #415 on: April 11, 2014, 11:34:23 PM »
http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2014/04/fao-food-price-index-rose-sharply-for.html

FAO Food Price Index rose sharply for a second consecutive month

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 212.8 points in March 2014, up 4.8 points, or 2.3 percent, from February and the highest level since May 2013.
"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."

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #416 on: April 12, 2014, 03:54:40 PM »
Scooped you wili!  Post 405.  lol
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

RaenorShine

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #417 on: April 12, 2014, 04:12:39 PM »
Scooped you as well Jim! Post 402 ;p

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #418 on: April 12, 2014, 09:07:25 PM »
lol Well at least we are all paying somewhat to attention!

Quote
Beef Prices Hit Highest Level Since 1987

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn't likely anytime soon.

A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.

Everything that's produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based information group. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to replenish pastures....

High demand and tight supply.  Should promote growth.

I wonder if the big ranching operations are expanding fast in places like Brazil again.  A family whose kids I went to JH & HS with own one of the 10 largest ranching operations in the world.  Ranches all over the US, Australia and South America.  I can only imagine the mess of responsibilities that should be weighing them down.  But as their basic wealth is in oil/gas I doubt they lose any sleep.
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 #419 on: April 12, 2014, 10:30:35 PM »
Doubly scooped! :-[
As Jim said, at least we're paying attention...just not to what each other is saying. ;D

It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.
"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."

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #420 on: April 13, 2014, 03:52:27 AM »
It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.

Where in the US was this the norm?  I highly doubt that such a diet was practiced by anyone who was not so poor that they could not afford meat.  There was/is no culture which eats that way that I am aware of in the Western world.  It is certain that no rural/farming family ever ate that way as a general rule.  Everyone who could afford to ate meat.

As I have mentioned before I was raised eating meat at every meal.  Not to have any kind of meat at a meal would have only occurred at lunch when I wanted only peanut butter and jelly.  And usually my mother put a meat sandwich in the bag anyway.  And in our family chicken and fish (which we did eat also) did not count as meat.  I don't think I met a vegetarian until I was 15 and I remember having them explain why they were against eating meat about 5 times before I decided that they had no idea what they were talking about.

I know lots now of course and my son and his wife are both vegetarians (for political reasons like AGW and being anti-CAFO, but not because they think it is more healthy).   

I don't think there is any real prospect for a massive conversion of the population to not eating meat.  As people get poorer and cannot afford it they will naturally cut back of course. But it is part of most cultures, we evolved eating meat so our bodies are designed for it, and it certainly tastes good.  Getting people to cut back will be very difficult.

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 #421 on: April 16, 2014, 05:08:29 PM »
The has US winter wheat problems due to the unusual cold weather.

Quote
....This late-season cold blast is hitting the nation’s winter wheat crop at just the wrong time, as winter wheat that is jointing is extremely susceptible to frost damage.

On April 13, 80% of Oklahoma’s wheat was jointing, along with 31% in Kansas and 6% in Colorado. In Texas, 16% of the wheat is headed. This morning’s temperatures dipped to 32°F or below throughout Oklahoma and western Texas, with numerous readings below 25°F.

Overall, 5% of the nation’s winter wheat crop is headed. Winter wheat conditions are pretty dismal, as only 5% of the crop is rated excellent and 30% rated good. The majority, 34%, is rated fair, while 20% came in at poor and 12% at very poor.

It might be an interesting season.

http://www.agweb.com/article/winter_wheat_hit_hard_by_widespread_cold_snap_NAA_Sara_Schafer/
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

ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #422 on: April 16, 2014, 05:37:23 PM »
[snark] But Jim, we'll just move ag production north... [/snark]


JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #423 on: April 16, 2014, 06:53:33 PM »
[snark] But Jim, we'll just move ag production north... [/snark]

Exactly!
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

carmiac

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #424 on: April 16, 2014, 08:00:18 PM »
It would be interesting to see how many families, even if they haven't not totally vegetarian, have gone back to what used to be the norm for most people: meat consumption largely restricted to a weekly meal--chicken on Sunday--or to holidays and other special occasions.

Where in the US was this the norm?  I highly doubt that such a diet was practiced by anyone who was not so poor that they could not afford meat.  There was/is no culture which eats that way that I am aware of in the Western world.  It is certain that no rural/farming family ever ate that way as a general rule.  Everyone who could afford to ate meat.


wili is right, actually, if you go back far enough. My great grandparents were fairly well off cattle ranchers, and even they ate mostly vegetarian meals much of the year. There was a pot of vegetable and grain stew plus wild berries and greens for most meals during the year. They added whatever meat they shot when they found it, but the cattle they were raising were far too valuable for them to just eat. Sunday dinner was a big deal, because it was always a meal with meat, usually a roast of some sort, and everyone would travel to the neighboring ranches so that each family shared the costs.

If you go back even farther into say, the 14th century (a particular hobby of mine), you find the same thing, except that weekday meat is even more rare (except for the 1%) and Sunday dinner is of even bigger importance.

JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #425 on: April 16, 2014, 08:56:23 PM »
carmiac

I think you sort of prove my point about meat eating being more related to affluence rather than cultural habits.

My mother grew up on a homestead in the center of ranching country in Wyoming.  She said she never had beef at home until she moved to Michigan after high school.  However, they had meat all the time as they hunted and fished extensively.  They killed multiple elk, deer and antelope every year and would catch large numbers of fish and dry and salt them.  Plus they raised chickens and an occasional hog.  She said they even had rattlesnake several times a year.  So meat most meals and definitely every day.  But growing vegetables was difficult in that climate (it had not warmed yet) and depending on meat was essential.

I have a book which consists of the diaries of a Quaker boy from 1790 to the early 1800's, who grew up about 5 miles from where my farm was located in Virginia.   It has very good descriptions about how they lived and what they ate.  Lots of meat.  Just not fresh very often.  Any animal they slaughtered had to be mostly preserved due to lack of refrigeration.  Lots of dried meat and fish, sausage, bacon.   The typical farm in the old days in our area had a smoke house just for preserving meat (our old stone one still existed).

Did not in the middle ages the nobility own all of the wild game and the peasants were largely prohibited from harvesting any?  I know this was the case in Great Britain and think it was so on the Continent.
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 #426 on: April 17, 2014, 01:41:35 AM »
I agree that in most cases meat eating corresponds and corresponded to affluence.

But looking at data, I do think I was extrapolating from what I had heard about the history of poultry consumption. Eating chicken had been restricted to special occasions--"chicken every Sunday." Since it has always been a relatively cheap meat, I had assumed that other meats were even rarer. But that proves not to be the case in the US. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters

But since most people most places through most of history were relatively poor, I still think a mostly vegetarian diet was and still is the norm in most places. Meat is a treat.
"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."

ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #427 on: April 17, 2014, 01:58:07 AM »
But since most people most places through most of history were relatively poor, I still think a mostly vegetarian diet was and still is the norm in most places. Meat is a treat.

I think we're oversimplifying this. In modern(ish) times, I'd agree that affluence impacts diet. At one point in the US, salmon was the cheap meat and was as ubiquitous as tuna was 10 years ago (stuff's getting expensive now!).

However, in times gone by in the Pacific Northwest, native people at a lot of meat (deer, birds and salmon). Many nomadic tribes in other, less hospitable parts of the world ate goats (only thing they could get to grow!), ate milk, blood, etc. Far northern peoples depended far more on protein than they did on plants for caloric intake. Island people ate fish extensively. All this to say, eating meat isn't necessarily bad. The mass manufacture of meat is bad. Now what was my point.....  ???

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #428 on: April 18, 2014, 07:20:03 PM »
Australia tabulates agricultural damage due to the summer heat waves.

"Summer is officially over but local horticulturalists are still reeling from the consequences of January and February heatwaves. Citrus, avocado, apple and fig crops were particularly affected, with reports of lower yields, delayed or absent fruit set, smaller produce and defoliation."

"Avocadoes were also badly affected at nearby Binderee Grove, on the Murray Valley Highway. “We usually produce around 600 avocadoes, but they cooked on the trees and we lost not only the fruit due to be picked over summer but also that set for October. Sadly we won’t get a crop for 18 months,” said orchardist Glenda Minty. Their 50 apple trees were also compromised. “Our main problem was that apples were half their usual size, but different varieties were affected in different ways, young Jonathons fell off, older Jonathons didn’t grow properly, English varieties went brown on the tree and others scorched.” Mrs Minty also reported problems with grapes that fried on vines, figs that were delayed and down in volume and South African bulbs that are later than usual."

http://watch.id.au/2014/04/02/media-release-impacts-of-heatwaves-on-border-region-24-3-14/
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wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #429 on: April 19, 2014, 03:25:03 PM »
Ritter, note that I said 'for most people.' Eskimos survive on an almost exclusively meat diet, iirc, but they hardly qualify as 'most people.'

In any case, here's a reminder of where we are headed:

Quote
We conclude that a global-mean warming of roughly 7°C would create small zones where metabolic heat dissipation would for the first time become impossible, calling into question their suitability for human habitation.

A warming of 11–12 °C would expand these zones to encompass most of today’s human population.

http://web.science.unsw.edu.au/~stevensherwood/PNAS-2010-Sherwood-0913352107.pdf

(Thanks to Rob Honeycutt at SkS for reminding me  of this important paper.)

ETA: More specifically to the stated topics of this thread:


Rising CO2 Levels Threaten Entire Marine Food Chain

Quote
Escalating carbon dioxide emissions will cause fish to lose their fear of predators, potentially damaging the entire marine food chain, joint Australian and U.S. research has found.

A study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University and the Georgia Institute of Technology found the behavior of fish would be “seriously affected” by greater exposure to CO2.

Researchers studied the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally occurring CO2 vents in Milne Bay, in eastern Papua New Guinea.

They found that fish living near the vents, where bubbles of CO2 seeped into the water, “were attracted to predator odor, did not distinguish between odors of different habitats, and exhibited bolder behavior than fish from control reefs.”

The gung-ho nature of CO2-affected fish means that more of them are picked off by predators than is normally the case, raising potentially worrying possibilities in a scenario of rising carbon emissions.

More than 90 percent of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere is soaked up by the oceans. When CO2 is dissolved in water, it causes ocean acidification, which slightly lowers the pH of the water and changes its chemistry. Crustaceans can find it hard to form shells in highly acidic water, while corals risk episodes of bleaching.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 04:00:28 PM by wili »
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JackTaylor

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #430 on: April 20, 2014, 10:16:53 AM »
Rising CO2 Levels Threaten Entire Marine Food Chain
NPR Article by Robert Krulwich on Anthropogenic Impact of Fish Size
not actually about CO2 destruction - just another example of us doing bad to make it worse, (especially sport fishing).

With a nice summation in a PDF of quoting Professor Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia "shifting baseline syndrome" - because these changes happen slowly, over a human lifetime, they never startle. They just tiptoe silently along, helping us all adjust to a smaller, shrunken world.

We are eating bait instead of asking "are you going to cut bait or go fishing?"

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #431 on: April 21, 2014, 01:58:24 AM »
"Scientists are warning that wheat is facing a serious threat from a fungal disease that could wipe out the world’s crop if not quickly contained. Wheat rust, a devastating disease known as the “polio of agriculture”, has spread from Africa to South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with calamitous losses for the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice. There is mounting concern at the dangers posed to global food security."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wheat-rust-the-fungal-disease-that-threatens-to-destroy-the-world-crop-9271485.html
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #432 on: April 21, 2014, 05:11:56 PM »
Offshore fish farming, done carefully, could increase food supply and decrease its carbon footprint.

“We spend 130 million dollars a year on air freight for the 300,000 metric tons of salmon that get flown into the U.S. from Chile. Think of the carbon footprint associated with that,” he says. “There’s absolutely no reason why that brazino shouldn’t be a white sea bass grown three miles off the coast. And then imagine the carbon footprint that’s saved in doing that.”

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/21/3422486/big-ag-takes-to-the-ocean/
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ritter

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #433 on: April 21, 2014, 05:51:34 PM »
Ritter, note that I said 'for most people.'

Noted. I was just being a pill!  ;D

Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #434 on: April 22, 2014, 06:12:01 PM »
Reduced snow cover threatens species.

http://m.jsonline.com/206681191.htm

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #435 on: April 24, 2014, 01:28:16 AM »
A humorous look at trying to eat healthy and sustainably based on information from the internet.  Hope you like kale...    ;)

http://read.feedly.com/html?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nwedible.com%2F2012%2F08%2Ftragedy-healthy-eater.html&theme=black&size=medium
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 12:28:32 PM by Sigmetnow »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #436 on: April 24, 2014, 01:29:55 PM »
I fear we will be seeing many more articles like this in the coming months.

Price of a Carton of Milk Hits $4
http://247wallst.com/consumer-products/2014/04/24/price-of-a-carton-of-milk-hits-4/#ixzz2znnjjIEz
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Shared Humanity

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #437 on: April 24, 2014, 03:33:31 PM »
Due to persistent drought in the U.S., cattle herds are at a 63 year low as ranchers bring to market undersized cattle due to the high price of feed. This had the initial effect of lowering the price of beef but we are now going to see rising prices for years. Until the drought eases, it will be very difficult to increase the herd size.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/u-s-cattle-herd-shrinking-to-63-year-low-means-record-beef-cost.html

RaenorShine

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #438 on: April 26, 2014, 07:25:11 PM »
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/26/3431215/coffee-apocalypse-drought/

Quote
The Coffee Apocalypse Is Nigh: Brutal Brazilian Drought Forces Starbucks To Pause Purchases
The worst drought Brazil has seen in fifty years is pushing coffee bean prices to new heights. As a result, Starbucks, the largest coffee company in the world, has halted coffee purchases over the past few weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

They are waiting for the price to come down, but with the El Nino approaching they may not be that lucky....

Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #439 on: April 26, 2014, 07:59:18 PM »
Chinese farmers, energy firms, and individuals are urged to buy climate change insurance.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/millions-of-chinas-farmers-now-buy-climate-change-insurance/
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #440 on: May 07, 2014, 01:04:35 PM »
Some interesting stats on US agriculture here.  Besides the expected:
Quote
Large farms with over $1 million in sales account for only 4 percent of all farms, but 66 percent of all sales.
There's these:
Quote
Sales of organically farmed food have increased 82 percent since 2007, to $3.1 billion in 2012.

The census also said animal agriculture accounts for 45 percent of all industry sales. Grains, oilseeds, beans and peas make up a third, while fruits and vegetables account for 11 percent of sales.
...
Fresno County [California] was No. 1 in the U.S., with nearly $5 billion in sales in 2012 — which is bigger by itself than the sales of 23 individual states.
...
Both sales and production expenses reached record highs in 2012. U.S. producers sold $394.6 billion worth of agricultural products, and it cost them $328.9 billion to produce those products.
...
But there's one census statistic that stands out above all that's a true positive sign for the industry, said Middle Tennessee State's Gardner — farms with Internet access rose to 69.6 percent in 2012 from 56.5 percent in 2007.
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/eroding-middle-puts-farming-fewer-hands-n98426
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JimD

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #441 on: May 07, 2014, 05:40:10 PM »
Sig

As a former farmer (and I think our current farmer Bruce might agree with this) I long for the day when the consolidation of farming into larger and larger operations ends and we start growing the number of farmers again.  It would be so very healthy for the world.

As it goes today the opposite is happening.  Check the below link out on farm statistics.  It is easy to see that the vast majority of what are counted as farms are not in any way real farms.  A very large number are actually pet horse operations which has been set up to fit into ag laws.

The farms which have sales less than 10,000 make up almost as many farms as all the rest put together.  For reference I was intensively working 4 acres of ground before I retired and was generating 100K in sales and mostly feeding myself and my workers. And not making a living wage either.  I fell into the 3rd largest farm category.

BTW on the organic number.  It is always wise to remember that almost all of the organic produce grown in the US is from industrial farming operations.  Not little organic farms like mine.  If you drove by one of the big organic farms it would be almost impossible to tell it from a standard industrial farm.

The average age of a farmer in the US is right at 60 years old.  A scary number.

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Farms_and_Land_in_Farms/fncht2.asp 
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #442 on: May 07, 2014, 08:24:53 PM »
I find my situation fairly typical. Average age and farm income and less than what JimD was grossing but I work alone. I think the billion $ 394.6 gross income verses $ 328.9 invested also tells a story.
Farming can be a large tax write-off. Because large commodity operations have government price supports small operators like me are forced into the margins. Selling perishables that make transport difficult or direct sales to markets that pay a price premium are a couple ways around the scale issues that favor large farms. To be honest we small farmers are also less energy efficient so there are probably extra fossil fuel costs in those specialty crops and products. Very much energy is tied up in transport of small loads of food. 
 I was reading a risk analysis paper this morning( human risk from acidification) that maybe JimD would find interesting. Risk is based on several factors but adaptability seems to be a factor that elevates developed countries and puts uneducated, underdeveloped countries at greater risk. The one thing I didn't see was how those same analysis would perform if the fossil fuel that powers western societies were to become expensive or hard to afford. We make the assumption it seems that the effects of cheap energy are constant rather than a huge variable.
 Small farms will again rule the commodity sector when cheap transport and refrigeration are fairly priced with the damage from excess Co2 emissions factored in. Small farms will somehow have to avoid current Co2 transport costs but that also assumes there is adequate farmland and water resources near markets. I don't think we designed our population centers that way but in third world situations maybe they have? By chance if not design.

Here is the acidification risk paper.. It's 68 pages
   http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/8477/Doherty_MP_220414.pdf?sequence=1

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #443 on: May 07, 2014, 09:35:00 PM »
Quote
Small farms will somehow have to avoid current Co2 transport costs but that also assumes there is adequate farmland and water resources near markets.  I don't think we designed our population centers that way but in third world situations maybe they have? By chance if not design.

The above bolded part points to one of the many issues I have with advocates of permaculture, hydroponics, home/balcony gardening, and other ways of growing food in cities, as solutions to replacing industrial agriculture. 

Take into account that there are approximately 500 cities in the world today which have populations which exceed 1 million people.  More than 30 of those cities exceed 10 million people, 13 top 20 million and 2 or 3 top 30 million.  Tokyo has the same population as California!  Take further into account where many of those cities are located - Phoenix and Riyadh are good examples.  Then try and imagine a low-to-no carbon, sustainable, non-industrial farming way of feeding them.

It is just not going to happen.

Whether people agree or not with my point that industrial civilization cannot be sustainable I think we can all agree that there is no way that places of this scale can be made to work that way. 

I have never seen an argument that I thought made sense which contradicted the conclusion that our vast population was the result of access to vast quantities of high EROEI fossil fuels and their application in industrial agriculture.  It is simply not possible to grow enough food in a sustainable fashion to feed as many people as we have today.  There are simply too many of them to move to where we could operate sustainable farming and food delivery systems.  There is not that much good land in the world to feed that many people.

In a sustainable world Bruce's produce would be bought or traded for by people who walked over to his place to pick it up.  That means we live in villages for the most part - not cities.     
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Neven

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #444 on: May 07, 2014, 09:48:12 PM »
Now that we have Internet, there is no more need for cities, right?  :o
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #445 on: May 08, 2014, 12:19:33 AM »
Quote
In Ireland before the famine, potatoes, with some milk and pigs could support a population density approaching 10 people per hectare (1).

The world now has about 0.5 people per hectare.

That’s about 5% of the population density of pre-famine Ireland.

So the problem is not food (calories, protein & etc.) per. se.
http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/food-whos-right-scientists-or-amateurs/

And it's the poor that starve

http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/its-the-poor-that-starve/

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jai mitchell

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #446 on: May 08, 2014, 12:37:37 AM »
Conversion of current municipal water and land uses from golf courses to high-intensity permaculture farms would produce a significant proportion of the food needs of local regions.

combining this with urban gardening, solar-powered electric rail transport and greywater capture/recycle and you will be approaching sustainability for most urban areas simply by using the food grown in the suburbs.  Granted, in the most high-density cities, they would have to import tons of food from further regions.

most cities grew up near waterways, a small fleet of electric powered barges would be very successful in transporting food from nearby regions with near zero carbon footprint (if they were charged by solar or wind (nuclear?)  power.

Otherwise, an electric powered light rail system would transport the food very effectively from lower population density regions. 

but really, in a fully decarbonized economy, who would want to live in a big city anyways?





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wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #447 on: May 08, 2014, 03:34:34 AM »
"but really, in a fully decarbonized economy, who would want to live in a big city anyways?"

I like many things about urban living. But from any kind of longer historical perspective, large cities are quite the exception. Before about 1800, there were only a handful of cities with over a million people in the world and throughout history, and those were generally the centers of vast empires or very major trading centers.

I rather doubt a post-carbon world can be sustained with over half the global population living in cities.
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #448 on: May 08, 2014, 06:51:58 AM »
Jai, I think you are correct about water transport and low carbon options. There are still plenty of cities benefiting from optimized placement at water transport hubs. The future may benefit those population centers that can still use water transport for both trade and supplying food for it's citizens.
Cutting off the highway infrastructure that connects those water transport hubs to the hinterland isn't in the planning however. So suburbia is going to need to think about plan B and walking over to the local farmer, winemaker,baker then home. Those will be your neighbors. Doesn't sound so bad from a comfortable distance.
 I think Sigmetnow's post that says the top 4% of farms are producing > 1 million in revenue and account for 66% of production is an indication of where we really stand. As with so many trends we are still consolidating farm acreage , wrong direction, no plans to change.   
 

RaenorShine

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #449 on: May 08, 2014, 10:32:18 AM »
the UN FAO Food Price Index fell in April....

Quote
The FAO Food Price Index averaged 209.3 points in April 2014, down 3.5 points, or 1.6 percent, from March and 7.6 points, or 3.5 percent, below April 2013. Last month’s decline was mostly caused by a sharp drop of dairy prices, although sugar and vegetable oil also fell. By contrast, cereals and meat prices firmed slightly. 
http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/