Rushing headlong into an uncertain future

This article by Viv Forbes has been sitting open on my desktop for almost a month, so it is high time I shared it. Quote.

Famine has haunted humans for most of their history.

In the days of the Pharaohs, whenever the Nile River failed to flood, Egypt starved. Joseph was called in and he organised stockpiling of grain for famine relief.

Even mighty Rome suffered famines ? in 436 BC thousands of starving people threw themselves into the Tiber.

The cold Middle Ages in Europe were haunted by famines. In the 11th and 12th century, famines averaged one in 14 years. Even in England there were 22 recorded famines in the 13th century. In 1235, 20,000 people died in London and people ate horse flesh, bark and grass. There were great famines in India, Bengal, France, China and Russia. […]

Famines eased in Europe and North America from about 1860, partly because crops improved with warmer weather and also because of the great increases in land opened up in the Americas for farming and grazing.

But the biggest expansion in food production started with the invention of the coal-powered steam engine ? the iron and steel smelted with coal, and the engines, generators and machines powered by coal and then oil, created a food and population explosion. End of quote.

Evil, evil “fossil” fuels had been unleashed and, from that point on, we were all doomed! Quote.

First hunters armed with carbon-powered gunpowder decimated the wild herds of bison, antelope and deer grazing the prairies of the Americas, replacing them with barbed wire and beef cattle. (Most people today probably disapprove of such species slaughter; but it happened, and the food produced on that land now supports farmers, towns and millions of people.)

Then were the steam-powered traction engines which pumped water and pulled iron ploughs, planters, harvesters, freight wagons and forest logs. Millions of crop-eating draught horses and oxen went to the butchers and no longer consumed half of the farm crops produced.

The cumbersome steam tractors were replaced by internal combustion engines burning kerosene, petrol and diesel.

The model T utility and Fordson tractors created another farming revolution with more food produced with fewer food-consuming draft animals and farm labourers. End of quote.

In New Zealand, it was the good old Massey Ferguson. Quote.

 

Coal-powered trains and petrol-powered trucks and buses moved food, and motorised artillery, cavalry, baggage trains and ambulances moved armies. Millions of ever-hungry and ever-thirsty horses, mules and oxen were removed from the food and water queues.

The vast crop-lands which had been used to produce food for draft animals now produced meat, eggs, milk, butter and grains for humans.

Galvanised iron, steel and concrete (all made using two carbon emitting raw materials, coal and limestone) became invaluable for hay sheds, dairies, cold rooms and silos allowing farmers to store farm produce for droughts and winters.

Engines were soon powering refrigerated trucks, road trains, trains and ships that moved food quickly from farms, factories, abattoirs and mills to refrigerated storage in distant cities, thus greatly reducing the amount of food wasted.[…]

The next revolution in food production was the discovery and manufacture of nitrate fertilisers and urea using the natural gases nitrogen, methane and carbon dioxide. These fertilisers, assisted by vast irrigation schemes, gave a huge boost to crop growth.

This stunning food revolution based on combustion engines, hydro-carbon fuels, natural gas fertilisers, irrigation and refrigeration has banished famine from the first world.

But every system has its limits. Famine is always just a season or two away. It bides its time, waiting for a failure in the complex carbon-fuelled agricultural, transport and storage network that supports every city.

When hunter-gatherers experienced food shortages, they followed the rains, scavenged for food and largely survived. When farmers and fences replaced hunter-gatherers they cultivated large areas of land […] but it also tied the farmers to the land ? when drought struck, they could not follow the storms.

As farming grew, so too did the dependent cities of factory workers, merchants, tax collectors, rulers, bureaucrats, policemen and soldiers, none of whom produced food. More recently this hungry overhead has been joined by a growing army of welfare and aid recipients, political immigrants and refugees. However, when drought or severe cold threatens the food supply, the cities cannot move away.

Just one thing is now required to create a modern famine ? widespread crop failure.

What causes crop failures? Unsuitable conditions in one or more of just three key atmospheric conditions: temperature (unseasonal frost, snow or heat); moisture (extreme floods or droughts); and carbon dioxide (too little to sustain healthy plant growth). […]

All we hear from the climate industry and the dark green media are the claimed dangers of global warming. However it is global cooling that poses a dire threat to world food supplies.[…]

The Green energy they idolise is intermittent and unreliable ? it breeds network instability and power failures.

The fierce dog of famine is tethered outside the city gate. Our abundant supplies of reliable energy for the production, harvesting, transport, processing, storage and distribution of food have kept him at bay. But still he waits patiently for foolish politicians or dreadful weather to let him loose.

A natural disaster affecting key Asian oil refineries or a naval blockade of the fleet of tankers carrying petroleum products to Australia would stop road transport of food to Australian cities in a few days.

Just one decent regional blackout would empty supermarket shelves and create long queues at every service station; two frigid winters would see food prices soar; and a return of the Little Ice Age or worse will see starvation stalking the cities. End of quote.

In New Zealand, banning the search for energy independence is our equivalent.? Natural Gas is a feedstock for fertilizer, a transport fuel if we lost access to oil imports, a source of electricity to keep commerce ticking over, the supermarket freezers running as well as the EFTPOS machines, the pumps pumping etc.

And who do we have in charge? Just Another Climate Idiot?Now Damning All.

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