Friday :: Feb 25, 2011

Failing Wheat Harvests Plague the Earth


by Mary

While Queensland floods, China's winter wheat growing region is suffering from a terrible drought according to the New York Times. 2010-2011 has been a terrible year for the world's wheat harvest with significant failures not only in Russia (from the catastrophic heat wave) and Australia's floods, but also from the extensive rains that reduced Canada's 2010 wheat harvest by 21%. With China's harvest now diminished, the raising prices for wheat could cause a bigger problem for the world than the increase in the cost of oil. As Lester Brown recently said if the US wheat harvest had been impacted at the same percentage as the Russian harvest, it would be very bad news for the world.

[I]f the heat wave that was centered in Moscow had instead been centered in Chicago, and we lost 40 percent of our grain harvest as the Russians did, we would have lost 160 million tons, not 40 million tons. If that had happened, there would now be chaos on world grain markets. Food prices would have been rising throughout the world. Grain-exporting countries would have restricted exports to keep their food prices down, reducing the exportable supplies. Most likely, the oil-exporting countries would have begun to barter oil for grain to make sure they could get the grain they needed. And much of the rest of the world, including lower income and developing countries, would have been left scrambling for the remaining crumbs. And that would have led to governments falling and food riots on a scale that we've not seen before.

The easy climate that we humans relied on is gone and the freakish weather predicted by the climate models and that is devastating the harvests has arrived. It's time for our politicians and our government to be doing more to address the problems arising from the climate chaos arising from our addiction to carbon based fuels.

Mary :: 5:00 PM :: Comments (0) :: Digg It!