We are constantly hearing reports that a new revolution in agriculture is necessary to feed the world. With hysterical propaganda the media are hectoring us that global warming/climate change is going to make matters worse and reduce crop yields. In the June issue of National Geographic there is a special report entitled The end of plenty: the global food crisis. The article pays homage to the eighteenth century cleric Thomas Malthus as though he were a prophet, such as in his saying that “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man”. That was absolute rot in his day, and it’s absolute rot now. There was a ‘power in the earth’ that he knew nothing about – fossil fuels – that supported the greatest increase in subsistence, population and living standards this world has ever known, and can continue to do so even when the fuels are exhausted (as we shall see below). This world is never going to run out of carbon, water, nitrogen, phosphorous, or any other substance needed to grow crops, and when we can no longer get at them easily by using fossil fuels there will be another ‘power in the earth’ called uranium, and from that plutonium, that will enable us to extract them and produce them in the forms we need from all the materials at our disposal.
But such deranged thinking as Malthus committed to writing has been embraced by the neo-Malthusians, who are intent on reducing the population of the world by two thirds by getting the developed world to buy into evil policies such as reduction in fossil fuel use, introducing wasteful carbon capture and storage, embracing hugely inefficient and silly ‘renewable’ energy schemes rather than cheaper modern nuclear power, and use of biofuels, which take land out of food production and massively increase food prices, all in the end causing poverty, starvation and death to those at the bottom of the ladder in the developing world.
But what if we could introduce a supply of nutrient into farming as a by-product of improved lifestyles that would cost nothing, was completely harmless to all life forms, would need no human labour to apply, and would be effective at improving crop yields on all foods crops in every part of the world? This nutrient would improve crop yields by 30-100%, would enable crops to grow in arid soils with poor nutrients and little water, would make crops resistant to frost and heat damage, would enable crops to grow in areas of high salination and high air pollution, would speed up and shorten the growing cycle, would require less light, would allow most of the world’s crops to out-compete native weeds, would reduce the need for pesticide and weedkiller, would reduce soil erosion, would improve nitrogen fixation, and would reduce food prices…would you be interested? Unlike so-called ‘organic farming’, which permanently poisons the soil with copper salts and makes agriculture extremely inefficient, and food more expensive, and so plays into the hands of the Malthusians, this nutrient has massive benefits across the range. This wonderful nutrient is called carbon dioxide, and an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has all these wonderful beneficial effects without a shadow of a doubt.
There is a conspiracy of silence on this. The weedkiller and pesticide manufacturers don’t want this known; neither do those who are doing genetic modification; there’s no money in this for them. The fervent believers in the new Eco-religion, whether they know it or not, are in the pocket of the Malthusians and doing their bidding, and certainly don’t want this inconvenient truth known. The very policies of trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (or, with carbon capture and storage, taking them out of the atmosphere completely so that they can never be of any use to anyone – a very wicked policy) are directed towards robbing the world of the very benefits it needs to feed more people and reduce food prices.
This truly is a conspiracy of gigantic and horrific proportions: the article in National Geographic has not a single word to say about the direct effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on crop growth, robustness and resource requirements – that in an article about the future of global food crops, which are all made of carbon compounds photosynthesized from carbon atoms sequestered from atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, unlike the global warming hypotheses, which are scientific fraud and have been falsified, the positive benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2 can be – and have been – tested in laboratories and field trials for decades. Anyone can read the results of painstaking research in the literature, and any test centre can reproduce all the beneficial effects described in the previous paragraph, and within weeks and months can confirm the truth of them – this is real reproducible hard science. There are literally thousands of published papers detailing hard scientific results, going back decades. So important is this, and so completely are we being duped to adopt exactly the opposite policy on carbon dioxide to the great detriment of the world’s poorest, that we are dedicating several posts over the coming months to set out the actual scientific evidence for all to see. We will prove all of the points made in favour of CO2 above, and many more. The evidence is incontrovertible.
The agronomist Dr Sylvan Wittwer, Director Emeritus of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Michigan State University and Professor Emeritus of Horticulture, former Chairman of the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council, consultant for all International Agricultural Research Centers, and all U.S. federal agencies relating to agriculture and environment, and author of more than 750 peer-reviewed studies, in his excellent book Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide: The Global Environment and World Food Production (CRC Press, 1995) summarizes the situation as follows:
As far as food and agricultural crops are concerned with variables thus far imposed, most growth responses to elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are favourable. They include increases in total dry weight, root growth, higher root/top ratios, leaf area, weight per unit area, leaf thickness, stem height, branching and seed, and fruit number and weight. Organ size may also increase along with root/top ratios…Important for agriculture is that there is an increase in the harvest index and the marketable product, and a shortening of the growing season with earlier maturity resulting in reductions in both water and pesticide requirement.
But Wittwer saw that, going back to the 1970s (when the neo-Malthusians hit upon the idea of scaring the world with global warming and pinning the cause on industrial development),
There has been, and still remains, a great reluctance on the part of many climatologists and ecologists, and especially environmentalists, to accept the concept that the rising level of CO2 could be more beneficial than harmful for plant growth, food production, and the overall biosphere (Rozema et al, 1993). Yet the scientific evidence is overwhelming.
Since scientists are supposed to deal with factual evidence, Wittwer thus could discern what he describes a ‘mystery’, and expresses surprise with a touch of irony about ‘an educated and enlightened generation’:
One of the remaining mysteries of modern science and technology, and presumably an educated and enlightened generation, is that in the majority of studies of global food security (FAO, 1981, 1984, 1986; Meadows et al., 1972; Crosson and Anderson, 1992) there is a failure to factor in any climate variables, even though climate is the most determinative factor in agricultural productivity (Oram, 1989
Since Witter wrote that there have been a whole raft of reports that have included aspects of climate – but only the hypothetical negative ones concocted by the climate alarmists of course, and with the neglect of all the positive aspects such as increased CO2, which are hard scientific facts, not discredited hypotheses. This makes it no longer merely a deficiency in the analysis, which is bad enough, but a premeditated unscientific and wholly irrational negative bias on the analysis bent on promoting the reduction of CO2 emissions because of their alleged effects on climate change (the convenient lie), but in realty because of their actual beneficial effects (the inconvenient truth). It is now too kind to describe this as a ‘mystery’.
Furthermore, seldom, if ever, in textbooks and other documentaries on agricultural food production, are the fertilizing effects of atmospheric CO2 acknowledged. This was true over 30 years ago (Norman, 1962). Now, after more than a century [of controlled experiments, and the evidence of the benefits over the whole twentieth century], and with the confirmation of thousands of scientific reports, CO2 gives the most remarkable response of all nutrients in plant bulk, is usually in short supply [note well!], and is nearly always limiting for photosynthesis [i.e. its shortage rather than other factors usually sets the limits on the rate of photosynthesis]. Moreover, in some of the latest reports and projections on world food production and security, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2 as a contributing plant growth factor do not receive mention (Crosson and Anderson, 1992; Edwards et al., 1990; Per Pinstrup-Andersen, 1994; World Food Council, 1992.)
Yes, there’s a conspiracy of silence, but this issue is going to receive more than a mention on this site.