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back to article Global warming worst case = Only slight misery increase

Agricultural brainboxes at Stanford University say that global warming isn't likely to seriously affect poor people in developing nations, who make up so much of the human race. Under some scenarios, poor farmers "could be lifted out of poverty quite considerably," according to new research. David Lobell, an agri-boffin at the …

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Poverty kills not Global Warming

Good article. Of course it is poverty that kills people not global warming (or cooling). Poverty means higher vulnerability to disasters, higher infant mortality rates, more preventable deaths.

So we need less poverty, regardless of what the climate is doing. The problem with the Greenies is that they want everyone to be poor. Jjust wait for all the usual racist Reg comments advocating the poor should be sterilised or exterminated. The Green-BNP merger will be along shortly.

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RE:Poverty kills not Global Warming

"The problem with the Greenies is that they want everyone to be poor."

Yep. That's their number one aim. Nothing to do with trying to protect the environment!

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Anonymous Coward

No, nothing at all.

That's why we have mercury in light bulbs.

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So the msg is...

"Even if the worst predictions come true, overall the world's poorest will still be only slightly worse off than they are now"

So if you;re poor, you;re ****ed either way?

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No, the msg is...

Even if the worst happens, whatever we're doing now to uplift the poor will continue to work just fine, so we should go on doing it. And whatever bad stuff is happening to poor people will not get so much worse that we can't help them handle it. They're screwed now, they'll not be worse off next year.

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counter-intuitive, but true?

OK, I know common sense usually gets a well deserved spanking from proper science, but something here seems very odd indeed... If I get it right, the gist of the article is that if crop yields increase, poor farmers are worse off; if however, they decrease, they become better off. Does that apply only to poor farmers, or more generally? Can I increase my earnings by producing less? I think I'll take the rest of the day off to celebrate!

P.S.: Well, I guess that is more or less how the stock exchange works: you don't actually produce anything useful, and get handsomely payed for your contribution to society.

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Scarcity is the key

No... you haven't thought it through.

Ignoring subsistence farming (which does not significantly affect the balance of trade), food is typically produced at a surplus in developed countries, thanks to advances in agriculture tech. This drives the prices down so far that the EU/US have to step in to protect the industry (in the name of guaranteeing food supply) with subsidies, import tariffs, etc. that artificially increase demand for EU crops, meaning external producers find it hard to compete.

If global production is affected, it will affect the overall food supply; and because there will be less food to go around, prices (and therefore profitability) for all farmers will increase. This, in addition to the relaxation in protectionism that the EU/US will have to accede to (again to guarantee supply), should allow external producers to benefit from a more even playing field, even if global warming does make it harder to produce.

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@Greenies.

Yep - you nailed it. People who care about the environment can be lablelled "Greenies" and our goal is fpr everyone to be poor and we get along great with the BNP. Also, my arse can play the National Anthem on the kazoo.

Moron. The only thing that you were right about is that it is a good article.

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Happy

So you agree then?

I've never met a Green who believed in economic development. Higher living standards and development are what get rid of poverty: so more people have less miserable lives.

Glad you agree with me. Shall I get your Afghan coat for you?

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RE: So you agree then?

"I've never met a Green who believed in economic development."

WTF are you talking about?

Green politics covers the entire spectrum. There are those who think green socialism is the way forward and those who think green capitalism is the way forward...

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Hmmm

> Also, my arse can play the National Anthem on the kazoo.

I don't think that would go down well on the X-Factor but you'd get a vote from Piers Moron on Britain's Got Talent for sure.

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Predict the results, but not their effect

The thing about climate change is that all it can do is tell us how much warmer (or not, depending on which vested interest you believe) the place will get. The next step: to say, with accuracy, what the effect of that rise will be is where the problem lies. While all the clever, clever scientists can prognosticate away they're still only producing theories. The problem is that we're in uncharted territory: not having a planet with our population and weather that's already gone through this effect to analyse and validate the theories. In fact the debate is still underway about what are the key factors that will turn a rise in temperature into real, live weather (and will be until the "oh, yeah" day when it actually happens). So while I firmly believe that climate change is real - just look at the photos of polar ice - what I have yet to be convinced of is which of the disparate forecasts of it's effects is the right one.

What we have here is just another shot in the dark.

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RE: Predict the results, but not their effect

Maybe I'm missing something but they didn't seem to take global sea-level rise into account when calculating the effect on poverty...

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Anonymous Coward

Sea Level Expert: Sea is not rising

There's no sea rise to consider.

New Paper in Science: Sea level 81,000 years ago was 1 meter higher while CO2 was lower.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol327/issue5967/twis.dtl

We The People have been lied to for so many decades now. It's time we stop listen to the global warming alarmists.

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Nice analysis

And some reported as distorted as the best of what the IPCC has to offer, well done.

The peasants who have it so go are those that are (a) not subsistence farmers by definition [as those cannot sell what they have, higher or lower prices] and (b) oh, not actually those who lost their crops [because someone has to lose their crops for shortages and pricerises to occur].

That added to the obvious observation that the problems lie mostly in the disruption [like the worst famines are not characterized by the least calories available, but by problems in distributing those due to local security situation, typically warlords] as the individuals cannot control timing [what good is a suddenly valuable crop if the neighbours cannot pay for it and you cannot store or transport it].

Another nicely avoided issue is that a change in local climate means a change in optimal local produce/seed type [against local culture/recipes, and against availability]. So even if it gets milder and wetter and theoretically more productive, fat lot of good it does you if your own seed crop becomes useless and you have to import expensive new types of grains [presumably having become useless in a neighbouring zone]. Since it takes a few seasons of underproductivity before you give up on the produce type your family has grown for generations, and choosing an unknown alternative for which you don't have the expertise, even a hypothetical exchanging of locally-obsolete-elsewhere-suddenly-useful seeds will be only on a fraction of the local needs.

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Stop

So what do you suggest?

Be real. It's not so dramatic as that. Hardly any for-profit farmers are the 1-family 1-field 1-cow type farmers you seem to think they are.

For-profit farmers in regions that are so fragile and sensitive to disruption (let's face it, you're hardly going to turn up one year and find that your crop which was growing so lush and verdant last year is now barely managing a single green shoot in a dusty ash wasteland) shouldn't live there then because it's obvious that they're living on a volcano or behind a dragon's arse or something.

If they can't see it coming (declining year-on-year yields would be a BIG hint) or can't make a switch to a different crop (I think you'll find that generally the expertise and ingenuity magically appears when you're trying to make ends meet) then they need to get out of the agriculture industry. If they're farming for profit they should be treating it as a business anyway and hedging their bets across a diverse selection of crops.

And if they are living somewhere where only one thing grows at a time and is only fertile with the greatest of effort (presumably this would necessitate you being a subsistence farmer anyway) you need to get out and find another line of work or become an economic migrant or something.

(Not that they should should all of the blame of course, reducing farming subsidies/import tariffs in the EU would go far as well...)

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@pe*t*rodude

"For-profit farmers in regions that are so fragile and sensitive to disruption [...] shouldn't live there then because it's obvious that they're living on a volcano or behind a dragon's arse or something."

"If they can't see it coming [...] then they need to get out of the agriculture industry."

"And if they are living somewhere where only one thing grows at a time [...] you need to get out and find another line of work or become an economic migrant or something."

That's right, because it's so easy for the poor agricultural classes in the developing world to just liquidate their share portfolio and move to the city in their newly bought Mercedes and BMWs. What kind of mobility do you think these people have, and what kind of opportunities do you think are open to them as "economic migrants"? Even farmers who can make a go of an agricultural lifestyle are getting the shaft from corporations like Monsanto, which is pertinent to other comments in this discussion about the developing world becoming dependent on agribusiness to do anything: another nice way alongside subsidies to screw those countries.

Yes, I think the *petro* influence is quite telling, here. In the developed world with the subsidised, intensive farming and increasingly perverse farming methods ("let's genetically engineer stuff which can't reproduce and can survive increasingly brutal pesticides so that the farmer, erm, customer has to have more stuff shipped to them every season"), it's just a matter from sucking on the oil pipe (and having one's military sustain the pressure on the other end) and prancing around in a consumer society from one opportunity to the next.

Sure, there needs to be an end to unfair subsidies and dumping, but to claim that people in developing nations should just adapt (while the developed world chooses something else to whine about) ignores many of the reasons why they're in such a predicament in the first place, if it isn't just flat-out patronising.

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Grenade

What about the bugs?

I live rural. The neighbours all farm. What once was a set of nicely hedgerowed fields is now practically planted to the horizon as a massive strip of land. Deep plough? Rarely. Fields left to rest? Nope. Not even in winter when it is harrowed (barely "turned") and planted with a cover crop. Oh, but wait, what about the winter breaking down the dirt? Well, perhaps that's why two feet down its so bloody hard the farmer considered explosives to break it apart - and this is not a guy in possession of a sense of humour.

Hedgerows? Ripped and levelled.

Nearby meadows? Ploughed and planted to maize, apparently for biofuel so crop success is not as important as it might be otherwise (said maize usually ends up smutty and mouldy).

Observation? Why is it the last two summers we've barely had any bees? The white-tail fuzzy types seem to have completely vanished, while the wasp-like ones are usually to be found on the ground dying. We used to have a problem with flies in the spring, perhaps enjoying all the muck they chuck on the fields. There are much less in evidence. As are the birds and things that would make a meal of them.

I reckon farmers in rich nations ought to go back to the horse and plough so they can regain a modicum of respect for the environment they're f**king with with such reckless abandon.

Grenade icon, awaiting upvotes and downvotes and how many understood the message...

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Jobs Halo

Where do the profits go now.

The multinational supply chain is a hard thing to beat. At one end they push farmers to sign contracts, that would be less than the production costs, quoting low world prices. Yet in Australia the prices at the shops are at record highs. Expect more investment in this area as the multinationals see the reducing supply as a good opportunity to improve profits. More money for the poor, yeah right...</sarcasm>

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Buy organic

And they will go back to showing some respect.

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Hmm.

I'm sure the people of Zambia will be overjoyed for their Thai colleagues.

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Venus

Since no one really knows how global warming works or what the critical factors are, the worst case is that the Earth winds up resembling Venus. Almost pure CO2 atmosphere, 92 times the pressure we are used to, surface temperatures a cosy 460C, sulphuric acid rain... I seem to recall there is a theory that parts of the surface rocks actually get hot enough to flow, from time to time.

Who is to say that Venus didn't once look the way Earth does now? Maybe it had a technologically inventive species that let its population rip and gave them all vehicles and appliances driven by fossil fuels... One day, things began to get a little warmer. "Oh well, nothing to worry about", most of them reflected. What's five degrees or so between friends? Now, they are all vapour.

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Venus/Earth

I've always understood that the main reason Earth and Venus are different is due to the effects of having a moon. Unlikely that climate change will make much difference to that.

Anyway, at the end of the day all this talk about "saving the planet" just means "keeping it the way it is now". Nice, maybe, but irrelevant in geological time. The Earth changes, ice ages to tropical climes, and in the meantime we all get shaken up and cooled down by earthquakes and volcanoes. We can't leave (yet) so we just have to live with it. Whatever happens the Earth will still be here long after the human race has gone.

Not, of course, to say that we shouldn't still find ways to develop renewable energy and recycle things, squandering finite resources that will take aeons to replace is just plain daft. Let's do it without the chicken little impressions, though, eh?

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re: Venus (@Steve X)

Steve, you wrote that "I've always understood that the main reason Earth and Venus are different is due to the effects of having a moon". You may indeed have always understood that, but it ain't necessarily so. The Wikipedia article on Venus has this to say:

"Studies have suggested that several billion years ago Venus's atmosphere was much more like Earth's than it is now, and that there were probably substantial quantities of liquid water on the surface, but a runaway greenhouse effect was caused by the evaporation of that original water, which generated a critical level of greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.[34]"

Reference [34) is "Runaway and moist greenhouse atmospheres and the evolution of Earth and Venus" by James F Kasting of NASA Ames Research Center.

http://tinyurl.com/ydu8rpd

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Sigh

Before we all go wikibothering and pretending to be experts, let me point out that Venus doesn't have a magnetosphere. And that is the major difference between Venus and Earth. All those nice, life giving light gases getting ripped out into space, meaning that pretty much all they gets left is Nitrogen and CO2.

Any way, even if it was all peachy and nice and wasn't a horrific acidic poisonous atmosphere, we'd all die of cancer from the sun.

Incidendently, it's a damn sight nearer to the sun anyway, which is partly why it's so much hotter.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Venus/Earth

I agreed with you right up until you said:

"Let's do it without the chicken little impressions, though, eh?"

...simply because someone has to scare/shock mass pollutors and environmental rapists into action and the only way that this can be done is to force the issue into the public conciousness in ways which they can understand...

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Nice try

Venus is now the argument for CAGW? Round and round -- circular reasoning is all the warmists have.

I'm glad people aren't buying their BS anymore.

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Boffin

Little detail everybody keeps leaving out.

Venus is also only about seventy percent as far from the sun as Earth is. By virtue of the inverse square law, this means that the solar flux that reaches Venus is nearly twice as strong as the solar flux that reaches Earth. Thus, Venus was much more likely than Earth to develop a disastrous runaway greenhouse effect just by virtue of being in a closer orbit around the sun.

Have a look here for a more in-depth discussion of this:

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1970/1970_Rasool_DeBergh.pdf

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Dodgy statistical analysis ahoy!

You say:

"But small farmers in other nations, a group which accounts for very large numbers of people, would be very happy: rising food prices would lift them out of their hardscrabble existences and make them comparatively well-off."

Which is clearly missing the point that if food becomes scarce, prices will go up. Because farmers will have less food to sell. So how are they going to make *more* money by selling *less* food? I'd say they're likely to stay just as poor.

If the Reg spent half the time publishing stories about the actual science of global warming that it spends publishing dodgy stories rubbishing scientists, it'd make me happy.

Or better still, just don't bother, as it has little to do with the tech world and smacks of someone somewhere in your editorial staff having an axe to grind...

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Megaphone

Sub-prime science

So you'd be happy to read about sub-prime science because it supports your pre-conceived world view. OK fine.

But the public doesn't believe the scares anymore. They don't believe it's a problem, they don't believe the computer models, and they can see through the activists. Even the recycling Guardian-readers who used to worry about Global Warming don't care any more.

Has the penny dropped yet?

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Profitability

Er and because cost overheads would be reduced... The reason businesses like to sell few amounts of high profit items is because it costs less in materials, administration, tooling, workforce, etc.

If a company's making miniscule profits, regardless of how big it's sales are, it might get a little hairy if say, a disruptive technology comes in or a supply-chain issue forces your overheads up, and you've got no room to maneuver. And by hairy I mean losses, job cuts, liquidation, and other little things generally considered as bad things for a business...

Somebody please explain to this guy how economics works.

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RE: Sub-prime science

"So you'd be happy to read about sub-prime science because it supports your pre-conceived world view. OK fine."

...but you just read some sub-prime science that supports YOUR world view!

"Has the penny dropped yet?"

It dropped here but presumably your penny has been glued up by something!

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Narrow thinking

Which, of course, it has to be, because food security and environmental change is a massive subject.

Needless to say, this is all well and good for crop farming but warming of even 1C is likely to be damaging for fishing industries or even subsistence fishing which an awful lot of people around the world (especially those who live around the Pacific) do.

It would be interesting to compare the effects on fishing with those on crop farming and then see where we are in the bigger picture. I, personally, don't think it'd be as rosy as this research alone would conclude.

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You can't be much more miserable and still alive.

So as things get worse, the planet's excess human population starves to death. The prosperous survivors are a lot happier. No more guilt. No more being told to eat up your dinner because of the hungry children in Africa, they aren't there any more. And it wasn't our fault, was it?

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WTF?

Yes Mr. Scrooge

"the planet's excess human population starves to death"

Charles Dickens had an answer for that about a century or so ago:

"If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population... Man, if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!"

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How do the anti-climate change lobby respond to this?

Reverse thier entire stance on climate change, looking slightly foolish, but embrace the benefits.

Maintain thier position and stick two fingers up at the struggling farmers in the developing nations?

But I suppose the pro-climate change lobby have just as big a problem, trying to sell climate change good thing whilst trying to push through CO2 emission reductions.

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D'oh!

Climate Change != Anthropogenic Global Warming

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@EvilGav 1

"Climate Change != Anthropogenic Global Warming"

Except in this case it provably does.

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Oh, is that so?

Who proved it then?

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Sure, but what happens after 2030?

So if you accept the article we get some winners and some losers. But that's just 1.5 degrees, and just to 2030. The IPCC report 4's worst case scenario for 2099 is 6.4 degrees.

So by 2030 the losers will be a bit worse off, but by 2099 their land may be ruined? Or to modify the heading, "Global Warming worst case = slight misery to begin with, utter misery eventually"?

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Genocide r'us

Population isn't a problem, it's people like you who want to prolong human misery.

But since you want a genocidal purge, can we start with one sub-intelligent excess human called "Robert Carnegie"

After you, Robert.

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I wonder ...

How many zettawatts have been radiated into the atmosphere by the entire "global warming" campaign? Including Al "hypocrite" Gore's personal $LARGEJET of the day, of course ...

I'll get worried about global warming when people are growing wine grapes around Hadrian's Wall, like they were nearly 2,000 years ago. Until then ... Have a nice day.

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@jake

They may have been growing vines along Hadrian's wall 2,000 years ago but that wasn't as a result of a period of MAN MADE warming.

If we don't stop it then yes, perhaps we will be able to grow vines there again - for a decade or two, just before it turns into a desert...

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@Rod MacLean

"They may have been growing vines along Hadrian's wall 2,000 years ago but that wasn't as a result of a period of MAN MADE warming."

OK, can you tell me the history of the Frost Fairs on the River Thames? Care to explain how they occurred, from a climatological perspective? I didn't think so ...

Face facts, the climate has been both colder & warmer than it is now, and within recorded human history. We DO NOT understand exactly why. Trying to make changes in the climate without understanding the mechanics of the shifts in climate are not only a waste of time and energy, but possibly foolhardy.

"If we don't stop it then yes, perhaps we will be able to grow vines there again - for a decade or two, just before it turns into a desert..."

Assumes facts not in evidence. Instead of listening to propaganda designed to make money for a few already wealthy people who aren't otherwise employed, how about using your own brain for a change?

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@Jake

Something to back you up mate...

"Since the sun, and not carbon dioxide, is the principle driver of climate change, a dearth of sunspot activity would herald a repeat of the Maunder Minimum, the name given to the period roughly from 1645 to 1715, when sunspots became exceedingly rare and contributed to the onset of the Little Ice Age during which Europe and North America were hit by bitterly cold winters and the Thames river in London completely froze.

Long-time man-made global warming advocates NASA assure us that significant sunspot activity will return in 2012, but a recent a paper on recent solar trends by William Livingston and Matthew Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, predicts that sunspots will all but vanish after 2015.

As we reported last week, the Armagh observatory, which has been measuring sun cycles for over 200 years. predicts that global temperatures will drop by two degrees over the next 20 years as solar activity grinds to a halt and the planet drastically cools down, potentially heralding the onset of a new ice age.

“Based on the past Armagh measurements, this suggests that over the next two decades, global temperatures may fall by about 2 degrees C — that is, to a level lower than any we have seen in the last 100 years….”Temperatures have already fallen by about 0.5 degrees C over the past 12 months and, if this is only the start of it, it would be a serious concern,” concludes David Watt."

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@AC 14:47

"Something to back you up mate..."

I don't need backup ... logic is logic, no matter how you look at it. Not that the "global warming" religion will pay attention to logic, any more than any other religion will.

Ta for staying a spell on my island in a sea of insanity, though :-)

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Let's get rid of the Anonymous Cowards

Since by definition Anonymous Cowards won't be missed, no one knows who they are.

Have you read Jonathan Swift? He is a bit wrong headed in my opinion on things like the importance of science - he was a priest after all - but some of his modest proposals were thought provoking - and clearly I overlooked an opportunity that he mentions.

I do think that a smaller world population would be a good idea for sustainability, but I'd want to achieve that by having fewer people born, not more dying. Even with best efforts, I think we can depend on death holding back or undoing population expansion, depending on the replacement rate, for a while to come.

I also think it is fair to offer to subsidise "family planning" technology - contraception - while I myself am not reproducing. George Bush and the Pope don't agree with me, of course.

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Joke

"I myself am not reproducing"

That couldn't be because you can't get a date?

Just as well really.

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Headmaster

erm..

Everybody dies. I think you were probably inferring 'lower life expectancy'.

AC - because I CAN (Are you also in favour of the mandatory mobile phone registration?)

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Coat

@ Robert Carnegie

Re: The planet's EXCESS human population starves to death,

Unfortunately that will happen regardless of climate change, co2 and all the rest, the planet and its contents are a finite resource and if there are too many people starvation follows.

Population control is the only real issue facing human beings, the rest are merely symptoms of the same problem.

Contrary to populr belief being in a wealthy western nation is no protection, if the peasants will not send you their food because they are starving you only have what you can grow yourself.

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