Sunday, June 14, 2009

The road to starvation

Building on our pieces about global weather conditions and the harvest prospects, Booker launches into the issue today in his column.

The simple thesis is that accumulated evidence points to the beginnings of a global cooling trend which, inevitably, is having an impact on food production. But so besotted are out politicians with their myth of CO2-induced global warming that they have not noticed what is happening in the real world.

Booker also notes that it is more than 200 years since the great astronomer William Herschel observed a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. When the latter were few in number, he noted, the climate turned colder and drier, crop yields fell and wheat prices rose. In the past two years, he tells us, sunspot activity has dropped to its lowest point for a century.

Right on cue comes another article on sunspot activity from Watts up with that, adding strength to the overall thesis, which tells us something serious and disturbing is happening.

It really cannot be stressed enough how close are the margins of global food production. With total world consumption of grains in 2009/10 forecast at 1,736 million tons, actual production is expected to reach only 1,721 million tons – and even that is an optimistic forecast which is being revised downwards as each month passes.

This means that the global community will, over the next year, be living off accumulated stocks, currently standing at 344 million tons, representing 17 percent of total production.

That is a healthy enough position for the moment, except that most experts believe that global production has peaked while consumption can only continue to increase. Even without the weather effect, it will not take very long at all for global stocks to erode but, if the harvest conditions are replicated next year and beyond – which looks increasingly likely – it will not be at all long before we are looking at real shortages.

Increasingly though, it is not only the politicians who are wrapped up in the global warming myth. Just as the so-called science begins to crack apart and the warmist religion looks less credible each day, The Daily Telegraph appoints as it environment editor Geoffrey Lean, a fading refugee from the bankrupt Independent on Sunday, to promote the discredited creed (this marking a further stage in the newspaper's retreat from conservative values).

Grasping at the last gambit which the warmists hope will rescue their creed, Lean tries to make the case that promoting green issues is actually good for the economy, jobs, the universe and everything. He fails to note, of course, that Spain's drive for renewable energy has cost 2.2 jobs for every job "green energy" created, and that much of the capacity is now off-line to avoid destablising the grid.

What Lean is actually doing though is pointing up the fact that greenery is now big business, something we have pointed out before, presenting the corporates with yet another opportunity for plundering the private purse. As The Times noted last March, "green" investment is making a lot of rich people even richer

Now wonder, as Lean points out, the chief executives of 100 top companies ranging from Dupont to Deutsche Bank have called for tough measures to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. And to drive the point home, we also learn that WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) now enjoys an annual income exceeding $650 million. Green activism is seriously big business.

On the other hand, agriculture and food production are mature industries, fragmented and delivering poor margins, without the opportunities for government-sponsored "rip-offs" which characterise the green movement. Thus, the "smart money" is still in global warming because that is where the fortunes are to be made. That a very significant proportion of the world faces starvation is clearly a small price to pay for the greed and stupidity of the green lobby.