Role of Agriculture in Global Warming

January 16, 2010 · Filed Under Peak Food in the News 

Peak Food author John Gossop this week had this article printed on pages 28 and 29 of the Farmers Weekly under the topic of the week section. Dated 8th January 2010, the article was entitled ‘Agriculture has a key role in taking heat out of global warming debate’. The issues raised were then then debated on the Farmers Weekly Forum.

Agriculture's role in takingt heat out of global warming

Agriculture has a key role in taking heat out of global warming debate  by John Gossop
(Article published in Farmers Weekly 8th January)
 
Charlie Flindt’s article about man-made global warming ( Farmers Weekly, Qpinion, 18 December) will have struck a chord with many readers, because if he is right – and the overwhelming number of climate scientists are wrong – we can happily continue with our fossil-fuelled living standards and our fossil-fuelled farming systems until those finite resouces become scare.
Unfortunately, the physics and the evidence clearly favour the scientists.
The present level of greenhouse gasses trap heat energy, reducing the amount that is radiated from the earth back into space, acting as a partial blanket and causing a difference of about 21 degrees C between the average temperature that we would have and the average earth temperature.  Without the greenhouse effect the earth would be uninhabitable.
 
By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere we are enhancing the greenhouse effect.  The earth is responding just as we would expect it to, with a well-proven warming trend.  Experts never expected every year to be warmer than the one before.  Does anyone really believe that we can increase the blanket by more than 40% with no effect?

The need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time slow the depletion of finite oil and gas reserves has massive implications for the future of farming, which has become nothing more than a system of converting cheap, plentiful calories into a much smaller amount of expensive food calories.  As oil and gas supplies are finite, and their production is expected to peak soon and then decline, our present farming system must be regarded as temporary.

As the world moves to collecting and using more of the abundant solar energy that reaches us every day, the most important method will be to use plants to collect solar energy to synthesise simple carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water – in other words agriculture.  But to feed the nine billion people predicted by 2050 with fewer fossil inputs, we will need to grow more of our input energy, fix more of our nitrogen and recycle more nutrients.  It will be a massive challenge, but agriculture will surely become the most important industry in the world. 

Comments

Leave a Reply