Even as President Obama attempts to throw out some kind of jobs plan tonight — the hornet’s nest in the US economy right now — one problem that’s quickly creeping worse strikes at the heart of life — food.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports global food prices remain high — especially wheat, rice and corn, the foundation for eating — and with weird, calamitous weather the norm, lack of availability will drive prices much higher.
And amongst those GOP nit-twits debating bullshit topics Wednesday night, one aspect Republicans hate is the very mention of climate change, the very things that keep foodstuffs so high — even the US is feeling the impact in its gut — the Midwest’s so-called breadbasket of the world.
(Illustration found here).
The US has indeed been the last half century the world’s breadbasket — this year, this country planted 2,839,000 acres in oats, 3,018,000 acres of rice, 16,792,000 acres of wheat, and 92,178,000 acres of corn (amongst other major crops like soybeans, hay, barley, etc.), the vital substances for any foodstuff menu.
The US accounts for 50 percent of the world’s corn and 30 percent of wheat.
Corn is the biggest US cash crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, USDA data show, and exported 46,360 metric tons of that corn so far this year — and corn production has declined: National Ag Statistics reported a U.S. average corn yield below trend value due to adverse planting and growing conditions in many parts of the country and extremely high temperatures in July…
And it’s going to get worse.
Changes in climate is already taking place and it has/will have a major impact on the breadbasket.
Some scientists and agronomists are becoming increasingly concerned about the real effects they see now on growing conditions in the Midwest, the vast black-soiled region long the core region of the U.S. agricultural miracle.
They also say that not only skeptical farmers but also government authorities are trying to quietly adapt, from equipment to planting to research.
“We don’t have a long-term reserve. We have a global food supply of about 2 or 3 weeks,” said Eugene Takle, Professor of Agricultural Meteorology and Director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.
“We’ve become insensitive to climate — with air conditioning, irrigation and better practices,” he said. “Well, I think we need to rethink that.
Just how vulnerable are we?”
Takle and others say the future is now.
“It’s not the long-term climate trends,” Takle says,
“It’s the variability.
It’s the extreme events that have brought the vulnerability of agriculture to climate into the forefront. We think about, and wring our hands for awhile.”
In June 2009, the science academies of the G8 countries, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, demanded action to address global climate change that “is happening even faster than previously estimated.”
Takle said Midwest farmers are already adapting.
“Farmers say they don’t believe in climate change, but you look at how they spend money and are adapting,” he said.
And from the US Global Change Research Program:
Agriculture covers 70 percent of the Great Plains.
As temperatures continue to rise, the optimal zones for growing certain crops will shift.
Pests will spread northward and milder winters and earlier springs will encourage greater numbers and earlier emergence of insects.
Projected increases in precipitation are unlikely to be sufficient to offset decreasing soil moisture and water availability due to rising temperatures and aquifer depletion.
Climate change is likely to combine with other human-induced stresses to further increase the vulnerability of ecosystems to pests, invasive species, and loss of native species.
Breeding patterns, water and food supply, and habitat availability will all be affected by climate change. Grassland and plains birds, already stressed by habitat fragmentation, could experience significant shifts and reductions in their ranges.
Can a hoax pull off this shit?