7:01 AM, May 22, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry recently told the graduating class of Boston College that climate change is threatening "nothing less than the future of the entire planet." Now another State Department official is asserting that even if the planet dodges the climate change bullet, the earth may be done in by agriculture.
Jack Bobo, chief of biotechnology and textile trade policy and senior advisor for biotechnology in the Department of State's bureau of economic and business affairs, recently wrote a two-part article for ArcticApples.com, the website of a Canadian company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. The article, entitled "Can Agriculture Save the Planet Before It Destroys It?," were republished recently on DipNote, the official U.S. Department of State blog (the original source of the article was not noted).
Mr. Bobo's concern revolves around earth's growing population against the backdrop of the "negatives consequences of agriculture -- from polluted waterways to disappearing rainforests":
With the global population expected to reach nine billion in less than 40 years, the sustainable production of agriculture will be increasingly on the minds of governments, private industry, and even many consumers. Not only do we have to increase the amount of food available, we have to find ways to minimize its footprint on the planet. There is no activity that humankind engages in that has a bigger impact on the planet than agriculture. This is true in terms of impacts on land and water resources as well as in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
Therefore one of the great challenges that confront all of us in the next 40 years is to figure out how to maximize the production of food while minimizing the negatives consequences of agriculture -- from polluted waterways to disappearing rainforests.
Mr. Bobo notes the tremendous advances in agriculture particularly over the past century and concedes that the "rapid pace of technological development suggests that scientists may, indeed, be able to sustain the growth of the past." However, he notes:
In order to sustainably feed 9 billion people, global agriculture will need to produce 60 percent more food using less land, less water, less fertilizer and fewer pesticides. In other words, we will need to do everything better than we are doing it today and our rivers and lakes are already running dry.
According to Mr. Bobo, between now and 2050 will be the "most important 40 years there have ever been in the history of agriculture." On the up side, if earth can make it to 2050 when population growth is projected to crash, "we will be good forever" in Mr. Bobo's words:
The good news is that after 2050 population growth will slow dramatically and everything will get easier. So, if we are able to get to 2050 without cutting down our forests and draining our rivers and lakes, we will be good forever. The next 40 years are not only the most important 40 years there have ever been in the history of agriculture. They are also the most important 40 years there will ever be in the history of agriculture.
While Mr. Bobo is worried, he places great faith in science to help solve the agricultural crisis, noting that while he is the "first to admit that science doesn’t always get it right. It’s also true, however, that you can’t get it right without science." The article ends on an optimistic note that, if everyone does his part, "agriculture just might save the planet."
12:12 PM, Apr 25, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Darren Samuelsohn of Politico rhapsodizes over the utter wonderfulness of Al Gore who is, these days, “richer and skinnier than ever.”
10:01 AM, Mar 12, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new Gallup poll shows the American people say climate change is one of the problems they worry about the least.
The polling firm asked Americans how much they worry about 15 separate issues facing the country, with the economy, federal spending, and health care ranking at the top. Fifty-nine percent said the economy and jobs were an issue they worried about "a great deal," and 58 percent and 57 percent said the same for federal spending and health-care affordability, respectively.
1:14 PM, Jul 1, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Today is Susan Rice's first day on the job as National Security Advisor. And already her portfolio has been expanded.
President Obama signed today an executive order on "Combating Wildlife Trafficking." The directive reads, "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to address the significant effects of wildlife trafficking on the national interests of the United States, I hereby order as follows:"
His administration was greener than you think. Jun 17, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 38 • By ELI LEHRER
Mention Ronald Reagan to an avowed environmentalist, and you’ll generally elicit a groan. In the conventional telling, the Gipper appointed right-wing extremists to key environmental positions and proceeded to give timber companies and energy interests a free hand to despoil nature. Had Congress not stopped him, the tale goes, all of the environmental progress of the 1970s would have been swept away in the 1980s.
Good news on natural gas is bad news for a Democratic party full of environmental true-believers Apr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By ROBERT H. NELSON
Much has been said recently about the deep tensions within the Republican party. Far less has been said about a sharp division arising inside the Democratic party.
11:05 AM, Dec 28, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It’s symbolically appropriate that one of President Obama’s preferred forms of “green energy” crony capitalism has the effect of killing off the national bird.
11:56 AM, Dec 1, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A top adviser to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, was heckled at a speech yesterday to grassroots organizers by a "climate activist."
3:16 PM, Nov 27, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The world's greatest deliberative body (just ask any of its members) got hung up over what is called a "Sportsmen's Bill." The impasse came on the first day after the Thanksgiving holiday, which is, traditionally, a time when hunters like to be in the deer woods and duck marshes, which the bill supposedly would have expanded and made more accessible. This is one of those bills that is said to "enjoy wide, bipartisan support."
Obama deserts coal; Democrats desert Obama.Sep 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 02 • By HENRY PAYNE
Charleston, W. Va.
The billboard high over I-64 outside the capital of this blue-collar state minces no words: “Obama’s NO JOBS ZONE: The President talks about creating jobs but his EPA is destroying jobs.”
Businessmen across nearly every American industry cite the Obama administration’s regulatory assault—from Obamacare to bank lending restrictions to fuel-economy mandates—as a cause of America’s jobless recovery. But perhaps no industry can count job losses the White House is causing like the coal industry.
1:31 PM, Nov 28, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes, “Here’s one good way to consider the vote in 2012: It’s about whether to re-elect President Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, which these days runs most the U.S. economy.” The Journal observes that the Obama EPA has now decreed that “America’s fleet of passenger cars and light trucks will have to meet an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, a doubling of today’s average of about 27 mpg.”
3:08 PM, Sep 23, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon kicked off today in Washington on the National Mall, under inauspiciously dark rainy skies.
Sep 26, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 02 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
To find a metaphor for the failed Obama presidency, look no further than Solyndra. Before it went bankrupt, the solar panel manufacturer was more than the recipient of a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government. It was the model for the White House effort to put the American economy on a “new foundation.”
11:41 AM, Jun 23, 2011 • By ADAM J. WHITE
This week, climate change activists suffered a major loss at the Supreme Court, which unanimously threw out their highly publicized lawsuit against power companies. Although—or perhaps because—the Court's opinion was clear and direct, the losing activists have sought desperately to spin a loss into a win. And the press's lackluster coverage of the decision only has helped obfuscate the Court's decision.