“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
According to the WaPo’s aptly titled WonkBlog our latest panic isn’t global warming (although ‘they’ claim it’s exasperating the problem) the latest problem is a food shortage / overpopulation:
The global population is expected to swell from 7 billion today to 9.6 billion by 2050. The rising middle class in China and India is eating more meat than ever. And this is all happening at a time when we’re setting aside a greater slice of farmland for biofuels and trying not to cut down any more forests (which exacerbates climate change). Doing this in a sustainable manner is tricky.
In theory, there’s a simple solution here: The world’s farmers will just need to get better at squeezing more productivity out of existing farmland. Crop yields have been steadily improving since the advent of synthetic fertilizer and modern agricultural techniques. So those yields will just need to keep improving in the years to come.
But there’s a big problem: This isn’t happening. Or at least, it’s not happening fast enough. A recent peer-reviewed study in the journal PLOS ONE found that crop yields haven’t been rising at a sufficient pace to meet projected demand by 2050.
Right on cue in the comment section of the post, the second and fourth comment has leftists calling for population control. So predicable.
Our intrepid (and panicky) Wonkblog Blogger continues.
There are two big reasons why yield gains could be stagnating, explained Jonathan Foley, an agricultural expert at the University of Minnesota, in an interview we did a few months back. “In many parts of the world, we haven’t seen enough investment in agriculture because of economics or policies or institutions,” he said. Many former Soviet states, say, could improve their yields through better fertilizer use. They just aren’t doing it.
But in some parts of the world, there’s a more worrisome prospect — farmers are doing everything they can to squeeze more productivity out of their farmland, but they’re starting to hit a biological “wall,” a limit on how much yields can keep rising.
“We can sometimes bust through these walls with technology, genetics, better seeds,” Foley says. Indeed, this is a place where people hope that genetically modified crops might be able to boost yields. “But at a certain point,” Foley says, “we run up against fundamental physiological limits for plants. If billion of years of evolution can’t figure it out, are we going to be able to? That I don’t know.”
First off, if feeding people is truly a concern stop burning food for fuel. Biofules are such a wast of time and crops.
The most important thing is to let free markets handle the problem. As demand increases from an expanding population, farming will become more profitable. When it becomes more profitable to farm, farmers will become more efficient, squeezing more from their land to increase profits.
John Stossel had a special that touched on free markets and farming a while ago.
The only way we will feed an ever increasing population will by embracing free markets.
And of course, leftists here and across the world will not accept this.
******** H/T Martin @ WWTFT **********