Guest essay by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels It’s hard to say how many punny posts we came up with using those words when Carol Browner was Bill Clinton’s EPA Administrator, but here we use it in the context of a recent Science paper by J-F.
Would have saved taxpayers $1.8 billion
3 Republicans Defect To Reject Bill To Repeal Obama-Era Methane Limits — Interior Dept. says it will scrap regs anyway
By Alexander C. Kaufman
Republicans’ bid to roll back an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from drilling rigs on public lands narrowly lost in the Senate on Wednesday after three GOP senators voted against the repeal.
In a 49-51 vote, the Senate preserved the rule, strengthened after last November’s election, that limited the amount of the powerful greenhouse gas methane that can be vented and burned from oil and gas extraction sites on federal lands.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were expected to vote against the rule, but the surprise defection of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) helped tilt the scales on a vote environmentalists are hailing as a rare victory over President Donald Trump’s assault on policies that address climate change.
“Improving the control of methane emissions is an important public health and air quality issue, which is why some states are moving forward with their own regulations requiring greater investment in recapture technology,” McCain said in a statement. “While I am concerned that the BLM rule may be onerous, passage of the resolution would have prevented the federal government, under any administration, from issuing a rule that is ‘similar,’ according to the plain reading of the Congressional Review Act.”
By Michael Bastasch
Former President Barack Obama told those gathered at an agricultural conference that man-made global warming was already impacting agriculture on a global scale, shrinking crop yields and raising food prices.
“Our changing climate is already making it more difficult to produce food,” Obama said at the Seeds & Chips conference in Milan, Italy Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
“We’ve already seen shrinking yields and rising food prices,” the former president said in his first speech outside the U.S. since leaving office in January.
But is global warming already hurting agriculture? There’s not a lot of evidence for that claim.
In fact, 2016 was a record year for crop yields, which have basically doubled since 2007.
Production of wheat, coarse grains and rice hit record levels in 2016, according to United Nations data. Cereal production is set to shrink 0.4 percent in 2017 “from the 2016 record high,” but “supplies are likely to remain large with next season’s cereal ending stocks remaining close to their record high opening levels,” the UN reports.
As for food prices, they’re well below recent highs hit in 2010. UN data shows the inflation-adjusted food index — the average of five commodity price indices — is just below where it was in 1965. the food price index peaked around 1975.
Some scientists predict global warming will shrink crop yields as extreme weather events, like droughts, storms and floods become more common. Crop production may improve marginally over higher latitudes, but countries at mid-and-lower latitudes could see food supplies crumble.
The Guardian reported “across Africa, yields from rain-fed agriculture could decline by as much as 50% by 2020,” summarizing UN findings.
Other experts say global warming, at least in the near-term, will be good for agriculture since increased carbon dioxide will boost plant growth. Current evidence suggests a “global greening” trend from increased CO2 from fossil fuel combustion.…
Reader David Reich left a comment in response to Kenneth Richard’s post on grape harvests and climate . I’ve decided to upgrade it as a post below. Both stories show that today’s climate is well within the range of our climate’s natural variability over the past 100 and 1000 years, and that today’s weather events aren’t unusual.
On her campaign trail for a recent movie, Jolie spent her down time in Cambodia “educating” a group of children on how to fry and eat scorpions and tarantulas. Crickets were also on the menu, and she joked that when starting to consume insects you always start with “crickets and a beer.” The rationale behind all of this is that consuming insects is apparently more “environmentally stable” than conventional animal foods.
Climate Change threatens to make bread less tasty Over at The Conversation the panic is rising. Life is not going to be the same. Get ready for the bland future — if we stop all plant breeding tomorrow, and don’t change our fertilizers at all, it possible, by 2050, in dry years, wheat may have a 6% decrease in protein.
Here’s some CO2-free food for thought.
One single loaf of bread contributes as much to global warming as one pound of carbon dioxide, according to a new study published Wednesday in Nature Plants.
Food production and consumption is the cause of approximately one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions. This factoid led a research team at University of Sheffield to delve into the supply chain process of bread.
“We found in every loaf there is embodied global warming,” Liam Goucher, lead author of the study, said in a statement. He added that consumers are likely aware of the environmental impacts of a product’s plastic wrapping, but not of the product itself.
The scientists analyzed a single loaf of bread’s CO2 contributions, including growing and harvesting the wheat, milling the grain, producing the flour to baking the bread and finally, packaging the loaf.
Once the ingredients for a 1.8 lb. loaf of bread are grown and harvested and the finished product is baked and wrapped, the atmosphere will have received 0.4 pounds of CO2 from baking, .06 lbs from milling and a whopping 0.56 lbs from the fertilizer used to harvest the wheat.
Wheat is fertilized with ammonium nitrate, which releases N20, nitrous oxide, into the atmosphere. N20 is a greenhouse gas that some experts say is 300 worse than C02 in terms of trapping heat. Global agriculture uses more than 110 million tons of fertilizers a year.
Cutting back on fertilizer might help, but that means slashing wheat production, which means less food. And the study notes that currently, there aren’t any incentives in place to encourage cutbacks.…
Testifying before Congress, former UN climate scientist Dr. Patrick Michaels says increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are causing a ‘remarkable greening of planet Earth’. Michaels says previous government calculations of the “Social Cost of Carbon” erroneously ignore the substantial benefits of increased CO2.
DR MICHAELS: “There is another systematic error in the previous calculations of the SCC [Social Cost of Carbon]. We live on a planet that is becoming greener because of the direct physiological effects of increasing carbon dioxide on plant photosynthesis. A massive survey of the scientific literature by Dr. Craig Idso shows this caused a $3.2 trillion increment in agricultural output from 1961 to 2011.”
Hearing: At what cost? Examining the Social Cost of Carbon
Subcommittee on Environment
US House Science Committee
February 28, 2017