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Archimid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1550 on: May 24, 2019, 04:38:24 PM »
Diversification is the reason the volatility of food decreased significantly at the turn of the century. The "global" nature of global climate change is a direct attack on diversification. That is, all our "diversified" agriculture is under attack at the same time, thus diversification becomes moot.

Of course when I say all our infrastructure is under attack all the time I don't mean literally all at the same time.

 I mean all over the globe, our infrastructure, including ag fields, have higher chances of adverse outcomes from climate and weather. This increases the chances of coincidences of events that spike prices up.  As the globe warms and the climate changes these any one of these spikes could precipitate all kinds of nasty events.

Good luck in your crystal palaces when the masses can't afford food.
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bluice

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1551 on: May 24, 2019, 06:33:41 PM »
Food scarcity is mainly a problem of poverty and inequality.

Demand will grow thanks to population growth.

All things equal supply should grow as well. However changing climate is expected to change weather patterns which may cause poor harvests. Emphasis on change. Simply having unusual weather at a given location may hurt farming there.

Enough poor harvests at the world’s major food producing regions will increase prices. The rich world will be fine but the world’s poor and middle income countries will suffer economic hardship if not malnutrition. This would have political consequences for everybody.
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1552 on: May 24, 2019, 07:22:59 PM »
Food scarcity is mainly a problem of poverty and inequality.
. . . Enough poor harvests at the world’s major food producing regions will increase prices. The rich world will be fine but the world’s poor and middle income countries will suffer economic hardship if not malnutrition. This would have political consequences for everybody.

Quite so.  Available data on decreasing cost and decreasing volatility of price over history might lull one into a false sense of security about global food adequacy.  Until the 20th century, periodic famines were the norm, not the exception.

Large-scale farming has brought efficiencies of scale and lower prices.  Transportation advances have evened out prices across the globe.  These are the advances that have lowered both price and volatility of price.  Neither of these, however, improve total global food production adequacy in any given crop year.

Food is an extremely "inelastic" commodity, in econ-speak.  People don't eat much more food just because it's cheap, nor eat much less when it's expensive.  Supply of food responds only slowly to changes in price.  Price is thus a poor measure of adequacy of supply, if one is assuming low price means plenty of reserve supply.

If the total global production drops precipitously in any given year (drought, floods, fire, UG99, other pathogens, civil strife, whatever) prices can skyrocket.  Those high prices will result in more acreage being planted, but there's a growing season of delay between changes in price and production.  There's plenty of time there for lots of poor people to starve to death.

I think it's plainly true that affluent societies need not fret much over food availability.  The poorer half of the world will starve before affluent societies feel any real pain. 

Wheat, rice, corn, and soy are the individual measures to look at in terms of risk of mass global starvation.  "Food" includes lots of other things that are fairly irrelevant in terms of global risk to life, even as (dollar-wise) they contribute quite a bit to totals.  Compared to other goods, these staples still show quite a lot of variability of price, indicating that there's not actually a lot of reserve of supply over demand.

So yes, yields in Africa are quite a bit below optimum.  But the individual farmers are doing their best with their resources at hand.  They'd be crazy to let production lag behind their possible yields, if they had any choice about it.  Raising those yields is a multi-year, pricey prospect.  This isn't a resource that can be tapped in the face of a famine of a couple of years.

I think, overall, it's plausible that the world can feed even a somewhat larger population for several decades.  I think, however, that it's about as plausible that catastrophic global starvation for the poor could happen in any given year.

I think sane governments should prepare for the "seven years of plenty, seven years of famine" right now.

Tor Bejnar

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1553 on: May 24, 2019, 08:28:20 PM »
Don’t jump to conclusions about climate change and civil conflict

Nature EDITORIAL · 13 February 2018
Quote
Many studies that link global warming to civil unrest are biased and exacerbate stigma about the developing world.

Climate cycles drive civil war
Published online 24 August 2011 | Nature| doi:10.1038/news.2011.501
News
Quote
Tropical conflicts double during El Niño years.

Natural climate cycles seem to have a striking influence on war and peace around the equator. Tropical countries face double the risk of armed conflict and civil war breaking out during warm, dry El Niño years than during the cooler La Niña phase of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), according to an analysis published today in Nature.

Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming
Nature  |  Published: 19 January 2014
Quote
Here we present climate modelling evidence for a doubling in the occurrences in the future in response to greenhouse warming. We estimate the change by aggregating results from climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phases 3 (CMIP3) and 5 (CMIP5) multi-model databases, and a perturbed physics ensemble. The increased frequency arises from a projected surface warming over the eastern equatorial Pacific that occurs faster than in the surrounding ocean waters, facilitating more occurrences of atmospheric convection in the eastern equatorial region.

So I guess climate change does cause civil unrest; the cause is just subtler than what some researchers claim.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1554 on: May 24, 2019, 08:37:01 PM »

I think it's plainly true that affluent societies need not fret much over food availability.  The poorer half of the world will starve before affluent societies feel any real pain. 


I think that "confidence" will be our doom. All that is needed is one bad year. Climate change makes it more likely.
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wili

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1555 on: May 24, 2019, 11:21:04 PM »
Well, even in the US, 12% of households were considered food insecure as of 2017.

I see these folks every day at our soup kitchen/community meal. And I'm in one of the least food insecure states in the union.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1556 on: May 27, 2019, 05:31:25 PM »
Quote
Food is an extremely "inelastic" commodity, in econ-speak.


This non eleasticity is only a charesteristic of food prices when food is abundant.

Quote
People don't eat much more food just because it's cheap,

No they don't.

Quote
nor eat much less when it's expensive.

People will spend all the money they have on food until their calories are met. If the food price surpasses their budget then they starve to death. The dynamics of high food prices can be much more complicated than "people eating less".
 
Quote
Supply of food responds only slowly to changes in price.

For all we know, all it takes is one bad season of low food supply to end the current world order. First world countries have no idea what it means to go hungry. Poor countries will fare better than rich countries for just this reason.

In poor countries the people are well adapted to survive. People in rich countries will experience things that haven't happened in 3 generations.
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1557 on: May 27, 2019, 09:11:58 PM »

For all we know, all it takes is one bad season of low food supply to end the current world order. First world countries have no idea what it means to go hungry. Poor countries will fare better than rich countries for just this reason.

In poor countries the people are well adapted to survive. People in rich countries will experience things that haven't happened in 3 generations.

I wouldn't be so sure.  The world has long been awash in cheap food from heavily-subsidized US and EU production.  Many developing world farmers have abandoned farming.  Returning abandoned, fallow fields to production isn't a quick process.  Switching from coffee or chocolate or agave production to real food isn't quick, either.

Meanwhile, everyone who isn't a farmer has to buy food.  When marketplaces determine who eats, the affluent are among the last to starve.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1558 on: May 27, 2019, 09:45:11 PM »
Quote
The world has long been awash in cheap food from heavily-subsidized US and EU production

Please. That represents a very small amount of time, probably less than the lifetime of some people on this board. In all the thousands of years before that food insecurity was the norm. Food security is a new phenomenom and how long it will last is unknown.

Quote
When marketplaces determine who eats, the affluent are among the last to starve.

Not the affluent. The powerfull and well connected. All powerfull people are affluent, but most affluent people are not powerful.

I don't you are correctly modeling what the world will look like with food scarcity. Money will be worthless, when there is not enough food to go around. Guns and fighting men do guarantee at least some form of food tho.
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nanning

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1559 on: May 28, 2019, 04:31:34 AM »
Just to add a thought to this food insecurity sub-discussion:
At some point the large electricity systems will go down. When there is no electricity, how are you going to cook your food? And heat your house? The gas infrastructure will likely not work anymore.
What if this happens in a large city? The petrol pumps probably won't work either. And the telecommunication systems will be dead. Public transport also. Median morality is very low, so no unity in solving problems. Just the shock of this happening will invoke wild mass panic. No news, no channels. Nothing but the street outside. Men with guns. Hell.
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Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1560 on: May 28, 2019, 03:16:35 PM »
Just to add a thought to this food insecurity sub-discussion:
At some point the large electricity systems will go down. When there is no electricity, how are you going to cook your food? And heat your house? The gas infrastructure will likely not work anymore.
What if this happens in a large city? The petrol pumps probably won't work either. And the telecommunication systems will be dead. Public transport also. Median morality is very low, so no unity in solving problems. Just the shock of this happening will invoke wild mass panic. No news, no channels. Nothing but the street outside. Men with guns. Hell.

I believe this is overly pessimistic.  During the northeast U.S. and Ontario blackout of 2003, nothing of this sort occurred.  Emergency generation restored power to critical areas, and people coped.  There was no "shock" effect, nor wild mass panic.  Without mass communication and air conditioning, people were forced to venture out and actually talk to their neighbors.  Granted it was only two days, but civilization did not dissolve into chaos, even though some large cities were involved.  But it would take a prolonged power outage to arrive at your scenario, if ever.

kassy

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1561 on: May 28, 2019, 03:32:36 PM »

I believe this is overly pessimistic.

And also off topic.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1562 on: May 28, 2019, 05:27:42 PM »
Sorry Klondike Kat for not responding. I think kassy is right.
"It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly"

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1563 on: May 28, 2019, 05:48:57 PM »
Quote
When there is no electricity, how are you going to cook your food?

Residential and local solar power, with battery backup.  Also, solar ovens.  And grills or wood fires.
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sark

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1564 on: May 29, 2019, 04:42:29 AM »
The US just blew threw the record for prevented planting of corn. 

On May 26, the United States still had 99 million acres of both #corn and #soybeans left to plant. That is the most ever by far.  https://twitter.com/kannbwx/status/1133479088860073984

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4266796-binary-event-shaping-grains-complex
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 04:48:51 AM by sark »
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El Cid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1565 on: May 29, 2019, 08:33:08 AM »
Let's just add that corn (and soybean for that matter) production are among the most harmful and stupid practices of mankind. We grow corn to feed enclosed animals. Since those animals are kept in unhealthy, overcrowded places trampling on their own shit, they need to be heavily drugged with antibiotics. Result: antiobiotic resistant strains dangerous for humans and animals as well plus unhealthy animals, unhealthy food for us and a huge pressure on natural resources.
Instead, we could keep those animals on pastures without drugging them and having them do useful work for us (cleaning up land, etc)...see Joel Salatin: "Folks this aint normal", etc. 

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1566 on: May 29, 2019, 04:24:37 PM »

Diversification is the major reason that we will not see a food crisis any time soon.  As stated in the two previous posts, we currently grow excess food globally. 

Quite true for the past roughly 60 years--which is unprecedented in human history.  There is, however, a problem with increasing global instability across multiple dimensions:  political, economic, and environmental/climate.  It's not hard to imagine, say a war between Saudi (+US and Israel) with Iran (+Syria/Iraq and Shiite groups around the world) that could halt petroleum production and export from the entire Middle East.  This might plausibly occur in tandem with regional crop failures from flood/drought/fire/disease (like UG99), combined with acute diesel fuel shortages. 

This is where the inelasticity of food price may have lulled us into a false sense of security.  Decades of overall food surplus have kept prices low, squeezing out low-productivity producers who might otherwise be more resilient producers absent diesel fuel availability.  Given a few years, such backyard producers would ramp up production--but only in regions not torn by civil strife.  There's potential globally for food shortages to lead to widespread civil strife, leading to loss of agricultural productivity--a positive feedback loop.

I'm not a doomsayer.  I'm suggesting the world needs better attention to resilience in the face of potential "fat-tailed" risks.  A single year of widespread crop failures could have dire consequences.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1567 on: May 29, 2019, 05:55:58 PM »
Steve, I suppose I have tendencies towards being a catastrophist . The reason we have an abundance of cheap food in the US is cheap Diesel and fossil fuels. The whole monitory easing and super low interest rate finance of the shale play era has kept the economy rolling for the last ten years. All that excess liquidity will come to an end at some point and if the shale play doesn't return profits or rates increase then the effort at borrowing from the future to fuel our economy will run into trouble . Without cheap fuel we won't have cheap food so I suppose the government will step in and buy the equities that support our oil infrastructure when too many shale companies start to go belly up. One more stopgap but direct government intervention in the equity market , nationalized oil, will be the last desperate step before collapse. That will be the end of cheap food and the point where my being a catastrophist comes in. Dealing with concerns about that ultimate downturn leads me to educate myself on how to live without fossil fuels. That is if the world won't deal with resilience then it is the individuals responsibility to do so.

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1568 on: May 29, 2019, 06:39:20 PM »
Bruce, Steele, how long after nationalized oil do you think it will take for food prices to soar? Days, weeks, months?

EDIT: Of course we may not have to wait that long...here is the latest on the flooding and its effect on food production:
https://www.axios.com/historic-flooding-swamps-oklahoma-relentless-storms-5d14f33d-fc44-4f6f-8b47-b7959bde59e6.html
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 08:15:20 PM by Tom_Mazanec »
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1569 on: May 29, 2019, 08:22:49 PM »
Tom, In 2015 the US collected about 3.5 trillion in taxes and up through 2014 there was about 1.6 trillion loaned out to the fracking boom. If those loans go bad and the Federal government steps in to guarantee the bad debt by buying them the taxpayers will need to chip in potentially trillions of extra taxes or the government will need to seriously devalue the dollar. So I think food prices will already be on the rise before the government openly intervenes in the equity markets because lots of turmoil will precede such drastic actions.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1570 on: May 29, 2019, 08:27:25 PM »
Thanks, Bruce.
What should I look for as the first crack in the dam?
And BTW, here is a report abstract on world food insecurity:
http://www.fao.org/emergencies/resources/documents/resources-detail/en/c/1190473/

EDIT: And don't forget overfishing:
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-fishing-vessels-fish.html
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 08:44:33 PM by Tom_Mazanec »
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1571 on: May 29, 2019, 10:37:37 PM »
... Without cheap fuel we won't have cheap food so I suppose the government will step in and buy the equities that support our oil infrastructure when too many shale companies start to go belly up. One more stopgap but direct government intervention in the equity market , nationalized oil, will be the last desperate step before collapse. 

Could be, but I think it would play out according to standardized rules.  When a company liquidates from unserviceable debt, the assets get sold at market rates.  These would be the wells, leases, and other infrastructure of the operations.  These would likely continue to operate, under new management.  The debt-holders get paid from the proceeds--perhaps pennies on the dollar.  Shareholders get nothing.  So the people to suffer would be debt-holders and shareholders.  I think political considerations would likely preclude the federal government from massive bailouts.  Populists, even right-populists, hate taxpayer bailouts of the 'elites.'

This is the kind of disruption that tends to reduce wealth inequality, by evaporating assets disproportionately of the wealthy.  Of course, there are no winners here, just worse losers.

vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1572 on: May 29, 2019, 11:09:34 PM »
... Without cheap fuel we won't have cheap food so I suppose the government will step in and buy the equities that support our oil infrastructure when too many shale companies start to go belly up. One more stopgap but direct government intervention in the equity market , nationalized oil, will be the last desperate step before collapse. 

Could be, but I think it would play out according to standardized rules.  When a company liquidates from unserviceable debt, the assets get sold at market rates.  These would be the wells, leases, and other infrastructure of the operations.  These would likely continue to operate, under new management.  The debt-holders get paid from the proceeds--perhaps pennies on the dollar.  Shareholders get nothing.  So the people to suffer would be debt-holders and shareholders.  I think political considerations would likely preclude the federal government from massive bailouts.  Populists, even right-populists, hate taxpayer bailouts of the 'elites.'

This is the kind of disruption that tends to reduce wealth inequality, by evaporating assets disproportionately of the wealthy.  Of course, there are no winners here, just worse losers.

Substitute financial institutions for fossil fuel corporations and see if that logic holds up.

https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/list
http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Katz_PDF.pdf
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Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1573 on: May 30, 2019, 12:52:18 AM »
Some of you cited futures prices as evidence the flooding threat is exaggerated.
Well, corn futures up:
https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/grains-corn-futures-jump-to-3-yr-high-as-us-farmers-struggle-to-plant
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gerontocrat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1574 on: May 30, 2019, 09:25:27 AM »
An article like this appears every so often, but usually does not have the overall data to tell us how bad things are and how well the progress to improve matters is going.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/30/topsoil-farming-agriculture-food-toxic-america
The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing
Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet’s population

Quote
The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system. But thanks to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the most productive soil has disappeared in the world in the last 150 years, threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones and erosion. In the US alone, soil on cropland is eroding 10 times faster than it can be replenished.

If we continue to degrade the soil at the rate we are now, the world could run out of topsoil in about 60 years, according to Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Without topsoil, the earth’s ability to filter water, absorb carbon, and feed people plunges. Not only that, but the food we do grow will probably be lower in vital nutrients.

The modern combination of intensive tilling, lack of cover crops, synthetic fertilizers and pesticide use has left farmland stripped of the nutrients, minerals and microbes that support healthy plant life. But some farmers are attempting to buck the trend and save their lands along with their livelihoods.
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vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1575 on: May 30, 2019, 03:14:54 PM »
Colombia Could Lose 60% of Lands Suitable for Irrigated Rice Due to Climate Change   
https://phys.org/news/2019-05-colombia-suitable-irrigated-rice-due.html

Without significant global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, Colombia will have 60 percent less land suitable for rice production by the 2050s, according to a new study by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Due primarily to increased temperatures and decreased rainfall—as opposed to sea-level rise, which is the driver of projected change to rice production in some Asian countries—the research shows suitable conditions will need to be found at higher elevations when low-altitude fields are too hot or dry for irrigated rice production.

The study found that Colombia's suitable arable land for rice is currently 4.4 million hectares but could be reduced to 1.8 million hectares in a few decades. Mitigation could require complex decisions around land-use change, changes in crop cultivation, and food security, said the authors. The study is the first of its kind for a Latin American country and was published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.

F. Castro-Llanos et al, Climate change favors rice production at higher elevations in Colombia, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2019)
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SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1576 on: May 30, 2019, 03:34:39 PM »

Could be, but I think it would play out according to standardized rules.  When a company liquidates from unserviceable debt, the assets get sold at market rates.  These would be the wells, leases, and other infrastructure of the operations.  These would likely continue to operate, under new management.  The debt-holders get paid from the proceeds--perhaps pennies on the dollar.  Shareholders get nothing.  So the people to suffer would be debt-holders and shareholders.  I think political considerations would likely preclude the federal government from massive bailouts.  Populists, even right-populists, hate taxpayer bailouts of the 'elites.'

This is the kind of disruption that tends to reduce wealth inequality, by evaporating assets disproportionately of the wealthy.  Of course, there are no winners here, just worse losers.

Substitute financial institutions for fossil fuel corporations and see if that logic holds up.

https://projects.propublica.org/bailout/list
http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Katz_PDF.pdf
[/quote]

I'm aware of this history.  There's a huge policy difference between the government being a backstop lender for financial firms in the face of a sudden global shock vs. bailing out firms that simply operate under a failing business model.  The former is a political-economic necessity, the latter is simply stupid.

Note that the financial "bailout" was loans that, overall, were repaid with interest.  The taxpayer made a net profit.  And the world avoided a domino effect of bank failures that would have made the Great Recession look like a picnic.

The current administration is certainly stupid and venal enough to *try* to bail out the frackers, but Congress holds the power of the purse, and the House isn't stupid enough to allow this.

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1577 on: May 30, 2019, 04:08:26 PM »
SteveMDFP, you have a lot more faith in Congress than I have.
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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1578 on: May 30, 2019, 04:19:06 PM »
The former is a political-economic necessity, the latter is simply stupid.

The former is a myth. It was not a necessity.

The later is done all the time, legitimized by all houses.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1579 on: May 30, 2019, 04:35:18 PM »
The former is a political-economic necessity, the latter is simply stupid.

The former is a myth. It was not a necessity.

The later is done all the time, legitimized by all houses.

Providing liquidity during financial shocks has a history behind it.  See:

Banking Panics of 1930-31
November 1930–August 1931
The US appeared to be poised for economic recovery following the stock market crash of 1929, until a series of bank panics in the fall of 1930 turned the recovery into the beginning of the Great Depression.
https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/banking_panics_1930_31

"The crises also generated deflation because they convinced bankers to accumulate reserves and the public to hoard cash (Friedman and Schwartz 1964). Hoarding reduced the proportion of the monetary base deposited in banks. Accumulating reserves reduced the proportion of deposits that banks loaned out. Together, hoarding and accumulating reduced the supply of money, particularly the amount of money in checking accounts, which at the time were the principal means of payment for goods and services. As the stock of money declined, the prices of goods necessarily followed.

Deflation harmed the economy in many ways. Deflation forced banks, firms, and debtors into bankruptcy; distorted economic decision-making; reduced consumption; and increased unemployment. The gold standard transmitted deflation to other industrial nations, which contributed to financial crises in those countries, and reflected back onto the United States, exacerbating a deflationary feedback loop."

I'm unaware of any serious economic analysis that disagrees.  Financial panics can have devastating impacts, greatly increasing human suffering.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1580 on: May 30, 2019, 04:36:28 PM »
But isn't a " national emergency " now utilized to empower the executive branch to ignor congress, weapons to the Saudi's or " the wall."  If Trump wins another term then maybe my prediction will happen on a timescale that we can all watch . Congress is currently backstopping the executive branch trade war with ~ 30 billion in additional agriculture subsidies, are the Dems even complaining ?
 Without the fracking boom the US would be in deep trouble and to some degree we are already supporting the boom with loans that are paid back with more loans. I firmly believe the federal government will guarantee these loans should a Chevron or Exxon  threaten bankruptcy . Too big to fail.

 

vox_mundi

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1581 on: May 30, 2019, 04:40:52 PM »
I don't want to derail this thread OT anymore than it is so this will be my last response on this subject:

...  operat[ing] under a failing business model ... is the key phrase.

Financial institutions creating (infinite) fiat currency unattached to (finite) resource limits and frackers using this same fiat (infinite) currency to extract (finite) resources are the crux of the problem. It was covered in LTG 50 years ago.

The taxpayer made did not make a net profit.

Numbers appeared on ledgers, giving an illusion of profit.

Money was moved from the ledger of the 'have-not's' to the 'have's', but the world, from a resource perspective, ended up poorer.

At the end of the day, all of us can only exist off resources, not numbers
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 07:21:10 PM by vox_mundi »
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Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

SteveMDFP

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1582 on: May 30, 2019, 05:42:13 PM »
I don't want to derail this thread OT anymore than it is so this will be my last response on this subject:

...  operat[ing] under a failing business model ... is the key phrase.

Financial institutions creating fiat (infinite) currency unattached to (finite) resource limits and frackers using this same fiat (infinite) currency to extract (finite) resources is the crux of the problem. It was covered in LTG 50 years ago.
 

I'd agree in part and disagree in part.  Whether an economy is structured around a fiat currency or gold standard, the activities of that economy can (or might not) be focused on unsustainable resource extraction.  I can't see that this structure determines the function of an economy.  We all did a lot of resource extraction while on the gold standard, too.

Whether on a gold standard or not, most money comes into existence through lending/borrowing.  This creates inherent instability, as systemic fear leads to reduced lending/borrowing, contracting the money supply, leading to further reduction in lending/borrowing.  A positive feedback loop.  Positive feedback loops tend to cause oscillations, here called the "business cycle."

Dampening these financial oscillations requires that major banks have access to a "lender of last resort." 

Frackers are like all other economic entities and unlike banks in this regard.  If a fracker becomes insolvent, their debts evaporate, and their assets transfer to buyers who are freed of that prior debt.  The productive activities (in this case, destructive resource extraction) tend to continue with little pause in operation.  A sequence of frackers going insolvent is rather like Sears becoming insolvent.  No panic ensues.

This might not hold for a very large concern, like Exxon.  My understanding is that the fracking "boom" was initially dominated by smaller firms, that operated by incurring rather huge debt burdens.  These players are extremely vulnerable, and sometimes considered as Ponzi schemes by investors. 

My understanding is that large corporations like Exxon and Chevron have been entering the fracking scene without incurring crushing debt.  I'm highly skeptical that any collapse of smaller fracking companies would threaten insolvency of these.

All this is tangential to global food security.  In the event of a Middle East conflagration that might interfere with diesel fuel availability, the interests of, e.g., Exxon, would increase in value and profitability.  US production of diesel would continue, and perhaps be subject to a ban on exports.  US farmers would muddle through the higher costs, food prices would rise, and the poorer countries of the world would experience famine.  Europe would struggle with diesel fuel shortages, but likely has sufficiently deep pockets to keep their agriculture going. 

Mind you, I'm not cheering for Exxon.  We need to stop extracting fossil fuels, pronto.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1583 on: May 30, 2019, 06:10:50 PM »
I think the fracking boom is hugely important to US interests but according to this piece only ten percent are profitable. Don't know if it includes the heavyweights like Exxon.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Only-10-Of-US-Shale-Drillers-Has-A-Positive-Cash-Flow.html

interstitial

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1584 on: May 30, 2019, 06:34:28 PM »
This was OT in climate change, the ocean, agriculture and food so I posting my response in who should be democratic nominee for president in 2020
  Note that the financial "bailout" was loans that, overall, were repaid with interest.  The taxpayer made a net profit.  And the world avoided a domino effect of bank failures that would have made the Great Recession look like a picnic.


I was having trouble with the server doing wierd things when I was posting a response. :P
I posted my response to stevemdfp in who should be democratic nominee in 2020
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 08:53:13 PM by interstitial »

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1585 on: May 30, 2019, 06:39:30 PM »
interstitial, I don't quite "grok" the point of your post  ???
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sidd

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1586 on: May 30, 2019, 08:30:44 PM »
Is there a thread on agriculture and financing thereof ? I personally know several farmers (runnin a few hundred to several thousand acres) who will not, I think, survive this year.

But food shortages will not occur. Not this year. The price of meat will go up, that is clear. But most food is not grown for humans.

sidd

Tom_Mazanec

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1588 on: May 31, 2019, 11:05:20 AM »
Fossil zooplankton indicate that marine ecosystems have entered the Anthropocene

Researchers from MARUM -- Center for Marine Environmental Sciences of the University of Bremen, and from the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment at the University of Oldenburg, have now shown that the associations of marine plankton in the present are markedly different from those of pre-industrial times. It can be said that marine plankton has now entered the Anthropocene epoch. The researchers compared the compositions of fossil plankton (foraminifera) assemblages in sediments of the pre-industrial era with those of more recent times. The team has published their results in the journal Nature.

....

"The exciting result was that this difference is not accidental, rather it reflects a signal of global warming. Modern communities in areas that are becoming warmer are similar to pre-industrial communities from warmer regions, indicating that species communities have shifted their distribution in a direction consistent with temperature change," explains Lukas Jonkers.

for details see
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190528120605.htm

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1589 on: May 31, 2019, 01:42:14 PM »
The FAO's food price index has been rising all year so far, and is currently at a 10-month high, although it's still lower than last year was in the same month: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/

Dairy prices in particular have shot up lately.

Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1590 on: May 31, 2019, 01:48:40 PM »
The FAO's food price index has been rising all year so far, and is currently at a 10-month high, although it's still lower than last year was in the same month: http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/

Dairy prices in particular have shot up lately.

Dairy is the only area that has changed significantly.  The rest of the prices are relatively flat.  In total, food prices are still trending lower over the past decade.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1591 on: May 31, 2019, 01:57:07 PM »
Food prices in REAL terms (which means adjusted for inflation) are where they were in the 60s and 70s, and only 50% higher than at the multidecade lows around 2000, when oil prices were only a third of today's. That is quite amazing in itself since oil prices drive food prices very much.


Archimid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1592 on: May 31, 2019, 10:12:44 PM »
Food prices in REAL terms (which means adjusted for inflation) are where they were in the 60s and 70s,

Wrong. Look at it again. Prices are today about the same as during the 70-75. The 60's had lower prices (even with much lower technology) as did all the years up until 2007.

Quote
and only 50% higher than at the multidecade lows around 2000, when oil prices were only a third of today's.  That is quite amazing in itself since oil prices drive food prices very much.
.

I don't find it amazing at all. According to the luke warmist thesis for inaction the great prosperity we enjoyed will protect us from food price volatility, but that prosperity seemed to peak during the 80's and 90's. We supposedly have greater technology, more farms and more diversification but the prices do not show it. What they do show is that food prices, even today, are subject to price stress.
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Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1593 on: May 31, 2019, 11:51:46 PM »
Food prices in REAL terms (which means adjusted for inflation) are where they were in the 60s and 70s,

Wrong. Look at it again. Prices are today about the same as during the 70-75. The 60's had lower prices (even with much lower technology) as did all the years up until 2007.

Quote
and only 50% higher than at the multidecade lows around 2000, when oil prices were only a third of today's.  That is quite amazing in itself since oil prices drive food prices very much.
.

I don't find it amazing at all. According to the luke warmist thesis for inaction the great prosperity we enjoyed will protect us from food price volatility, but that prosperity seemed to peak during the 80's and 90's. We supposedly have greater technology, more farms and more diversification but the prices do not show it. What they do show is that food prices, even today, are subject to price stress.

Actually, I will agree with El Cid.  There are quite similar, and the recent rise has less to do with price stress, than fuel prices.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1594 on: June 01, 2019, 01:18:24 PM »
The US breadbasket states are in trouble.
However, other places, e.g. South America, are looking at record crops.

The perfect storm of several of the world's bread and rice baskets in trouble at the same time is not going to happen this year. (This is the nightmare scenario believed by the FAO to be inevitable due to Global Heating sometime this century)

https://beta.canada.com/news/world/extreme-weather-plaguing-agriculture-across-central-u-s/wcm/b33c63fb-78ae-4b5a-a194-fc413c197dc2/amp

Extreme weather plaguing agriculture across central U.S.
Quote
Extreme weather across the central United States over the past several weeks has led to delayed corn and soybean planting, damage to wheat and major flooding.

Corn and soybean planting has progressed at a record slow pace this season, with the planting window closing across the cornbelt. Wet weather will continue to limit planting through the weekend.

“In Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, where planting is furthest behind schedule, rainfall is forecast for 7 of the next 10 days, which will continue to severely limit planting progress,” said Kyle Tapley, Maxar’s Senior Agricultural Meteorologist. “Major reductions in corn acreage from expectations prior to the planting season are a near certainty given the historic planting delays across the corn belt.”

he wet weather is also posing a threat to the winter wheat crop in the Plains and the Midwest, with many areas in the central U.S. recording 200-300% of normal rainfall over the past month.

“The excessive wetness across the central Plains and much of the Midwest will increase the threat for disease and may also reduce the quality of the winter wheat crop,” said Tapley.

River flooding continues along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, nearing or exceeding historic levels in many locations.

The Mississippi River in St. Louis is expected to crest at its second highest level on record early next week, ranking behind only the Great Flood of 1993.
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Archimid

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1595 on: June 01, 2019, 01:36:12 PM »
Fuel prices alone can put stress on food prices. You are assuming the food system is resilient enough to take the incoming bombardment of calamitous weather all over the globe, but just one variable, oil prices, can make a huge difference in the prices.

The system is not as resilient as you think. But I understand. There is no good data for a globally stressed food system, because it has never happened before.
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Klondike Kat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1597 on: June 01, 2019, 04:24:31 PM »
How AGW is affecting crop production:
https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/phys.org/news/2019-05-climate-affecting-global-food-productionunequally.amp?amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fphys.org%2Fnews%2F2019-05-climate-affecting-global-food-productionunequally.html

Interesting article.  The overall decrease is driven by losses in Europe (especially Russia), South Africa, and Australia.  Increases were found in China, North and South America.  I wonder how much political influences affected the yields.

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1598 on: June 01, 2019, 05:36:32 PM »
The US breadbasket states are in trouble.
However, other places, e.g. South America, are looking at record crops.

The perfect storm of several of the world's bread and rice baskets in trouble at the same time is not going to happen this year.
...
Sure about that? (Yes, "several" implies more than two.)
Australia to import wheat for first time in 12 years as drought eats into grain production
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gerontocrat

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Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« Reply #1599 on: June 01, 2019, 06:27:17 PM »
The US breadbasket states are in trouble.
However, other places, e.g. South America, are looking at record crops.

The perfect storm of several of the world's bread and rice baskets in trouble at the same time is not going to happen this year.
...
Sure about that? (Yes, "several" implies more than two.)
Australia to import wheat for first time in 12 years as drought eats into grain production
From the FAO https://reliefweb.int/report/world/food-outlook-biannual-report-global-food-markets-may-2019
Quote
Major food commodity trends

While noting that the fast-changing global trade environment and the rapid spread of ASF** constitute important uncertainties, the underlying picture is that world markets for many commodities are well supplied and likely to contribute to lower food import bills.

** ASF = African Swine Fever -
Quote
The arrival and rapid spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China, home to half the world pig herd, will have a noticeable effect on world markets both for meat and animal feed.

Also talks about Brazil (pity about the rainforest) and Russia.
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