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."
11:01 AM, Apr 14, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
What we usually hear about when the subject is climate change is stuff meant to scare you out of your socks. Rising oceans, violent storms, draughts, famines, plagues of locusts … and so forth. The implied alternative is austerity so severe – no cars, rationed electricity, smaller houses, once-a-week cold showers, etc.
8:26 AM, Oct 15, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The past two weeks have been filled with stories of government offices, agencies, services, workers, monuments, websites, memorials, and parks that have been closed, suspended, furloughed, and even barricaded.
1:26 PM, Dec 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
A "Green Inaugural Ball" has been scheduled to celebrate President Barack Obama's second inauguration, according to an invitation of the event. The ball will be held January 20, the day of Obama's second inauguration, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.
10:01 AM, Oct 16, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
According to Bloomberg, the heavily subsidized battery maker, A 123, has filed for bankruptcy protection, making it the latest in a long line of green failures that have produced very little renewable energy and very heavy losses for the American taxpayer. Been good for the bankruptcy lawyers, though.
8:41 AM, May 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Juan Williams and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
And here's the Internet-only after-show:
4:22 PM, May 10, 2012 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
The Los Angeles Times reports that, “A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls' soccer team in October 201
Every picture tells a story.9:16 PM, Apr 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The 411,618 square foot Solyndra building in Fremont, California has been put on the market:
4:34 PM, Sep 29, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Earlier this year, Wesley J. Smith reported in THE WEEKLY STANDARD on the drive among environmentalists to make "ecocide" an international crime:
But what is ecocide, precisely? Practically any business activity that environmentalists loathe, from large scale resource development to nonrenewable energy generation, along with any accidental ecological disaster would potentially qualify as a crime against peace. As envisioned by ecocide’s rising star, Polly Higgins, who recently addressed the United Nations promoting a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights, the This Is Ecocide website states:
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.
Now with extra Science!1:00 PM, Jan 24, 2011 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Like the nearly simultaneous release of Deep Impact and Armageddon, Chemical Engineering News also ran a cover story last week about the expunging of phosphates from dishwasher detergents.
Raiders of the lost self-awareness. 10:41 AM, Apr 30, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Harrison Ford owns seven airplanes, but only flies "one at a time." For environmentalist critics who say this is a contradiction, he has this message:
"I’ll start walking everywhere when they start walking everywhere.”
Ed Begley's coming for him! But really slowly, on a bicycle, so he doesn't have that much to worry about.
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