Climate change might not starve us after all

Paul Raven @ 30-12-2009

oatsIn the hugely polarised sphere of debate around climate change, there are a few thinkers who float outside the two core camps of belief and skepticism. One of those would be Brian Wang, who seems pretty convinced that AGW is a genuine phenomenon, but who also thinks it’s not going to be an unmitigated disaster. For example, he has a post responding to suggestions that a global temperature increase would lead to mass famine and starvation, in which he lists currently available or imminent technologies and scientific developments that could cope with the changed climate and keep the planet’s belly full. [image by sarniebill]

Of course, it’s worth remembering that a large percentage of the Earth’s population doesn’t have enough to eat already… and that a small percentage consumes way more than it actually needs. Keeping up production levels will be important, sure, but efficient and fair distribution of food resources would go a long way toward helping us ride out the rough patch. But then the same applies to energy resources, and we’ve already seen how popular the redistribution idea is with those who have the most to lose…

[ Feel free to discuss Wang’s points in the comments, but as always with this sort of post, unqualified trumpeting of ideologies from either side of the fence will be deleted without prejudice – that applies to climate change denial and climate change doomsaying. I have better things to do than referee an unwinnable slapfight, I’m afraid, so check the comments policy before you post. ]

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3 Responses to “Climate change might not starve us after all”

  1. khannea says:

    Whatever the side of the debate, the time is imminent some countries (canada? new zealand? russia) may decide that even IF other countries may suffer consequences, they may significantly increase their national wealth if they increase carbon emissions. This is a simplification obviously, and the statement is loaded with left-right bias – but think about the international outrage it would trigger. But – what could you do about it IF it happened? In the current system – absolutely nothing.

  2. opit says:

    Whatever direction climate change may take – and I paid attention when Dr. Ian Plimer said that the problem was unpredictability because of oversimplification of chaotic inputs – it was also suggested people tended to migrate to usable climates and adapt to them both.
    Rainfall and its lack aren’t the only variables either. Not all land is suitable for agriculture, topsoil being an underappreciated marvel for city folk. Another is that solar energy varies with distance from the equator : not just in duration of the day but in energetic inputs available to stimulate photosynthesis. You remember that process : the one in which increased availability of carbon dioxide is likely to stimulate plant growth ?
    Nobody in mainstream press concentrates on the thousands of deaths of farmers.You want a ‘heads-up’ on danger to planetary food supply ? Corporate farming is literally unsustainable rape…which collapsed when Nelson Rockefeller performed experiments on a grand scale in Central and South America in the 1940s. Today the threat is actually worse.
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm#top
    Monsanto isn’t even all of it! Water and disease proliferation from factory farming are compromised as well as natural selection attacking monoculture.

  3. Evil Rocks says:

    One of my great hopes for the American economy’s recovery is a switch from cotton to hemp production to take advantage of increased rainfalls in the growing regions and to take advantage of the second plant’s weed-like characteristics over cotton’s need to be babied through every step of the growing process. Not to mention that hemp is way less ecologically intensive to produce than cotton.

    It could have happened a hundred years ago, but it might take dramatic climate change to push us out of industrially lobbied and government-sponsored bad-tech lock-in.