Emissions Trading and Agriculture

[An abbreviated version of this article first appeared at Quadrant Online: http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/08/viv-forbes]

Most of human history has been a struggle for food and energy.

The abundance of food in the western world during the last century or so is not the normal human condition. Snow and ice, drought and famine have been regular and persistent visitors to mankind.

We are lucky to live in a time of recent natural global warming. Warmth increases plant growth rate, lengthens the growing season, expands plant habitat and makes more land arable. As the oceans warm, they expel some of their vast reserves of carbon dioxide, the essential atmospheric plant food. Warm oceans also produce more evaporation, and thus more precipitation for adjacent land masses. Man’s recent production of carbon dioxide from burning coal and oil and calcining limestone has also helped to unlock buried carbon and restore valuable carbon dioxide to the biosphere.

Warmth, water and more abundant carbon dioxide have been the main causes of the 20th century Green Revolution which has enabled farmers to feed the growing millions on earth.

All these beneficial developments are threatened by two things – the distinct possibility of a return to natural global cooling, and silly government policies all over the western world that will slash food production.

Read the full document here [PDF, 50KB]

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