Food and Water Worries Are Not Reasons to Fight Climate Change

There are various doomers who say because of climate change farming and food production will collapse by 2060 but they ignore that greenhouses are built in the desert. UN Food and Agriculture Organization study from 2015, under a high-emission climate scenario, harvest reductions by 2100 of between -20 and -45 percent are expected for maize (corn), between -5 and -50 percent for wheat, between -20 and -30 percent for rice, and between -30 and -60 percent for soybeans. The study ignores offset by the beneficial effects of CO2 fertilization since plants grow more vigorously in high-CO2 conditions.

Greenhouses have been built and produce crops in the hottest deserts now. They have climate and humidity control. They use 7% of the water to grow crops compared to open-air farming.

Climate Change is something to be minimized. However, climate change only impact open-air farming. All food production can be brought indoors where it will be virtually immune to climate change.

China is planning to have over 2 million hectares of greenhouse buildings by 2025 with mechanized-automation of farming. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Monday issued a guideline to promote the country’s facility-based agricultural planting, outlining goals for infrastructure upgrades and mechanization to boost output and farmers’ income. By 2025, China will maintain over 2 million hectares of facilities, including plastic greenhouses, and achieve above 50 percent mechanization for facility-based planting, a sector of the so-called controlled-environment agriculture (CEA), or protected agriculture.

The world already has about 500,000 hectares of climate-controlled greenhouses. China has 4 million hectares of crude plastic sheeting covering land in partially enclosed conditions. The plastic sheets lie over simple metal poles and crude framing.

IF there was a need, the entire world could bring all agriculture indoors and under temperature and humidity control by 2035.

China’s newer greenhouses maintain optimal growing conditions throughout the development of crops, and optimizes the use of resources such as water, energy, space, capital and labor. Production takes place within an enclosed structure, such as a greenhouse or building.

Robotic greenhouse buildings can be up to 30 times more productive than the same area of regular farmland.

China under non-emergency conditions will build climate-controlled greenhouses to replace 10% of open-air farm production every year. If needed it would take ten years or much less to bring all agricultural production globally into climate-controlled conditions that use 7% of the water.

Doomer scenarios about billions forced to move because of widescale farm and water problems or collapsing megacities are a bunch of crap.

Pure Harvest is a startup that built a one-hectare facility in the Abu Dhabi desert in 2018. The warehouse has since been producing around two tons of tomatoes a day, which are retailing for around $2 (8 dirhams) for 300 grams.

Growers can take full control of their ventilation efforts – meaning you no longer have to wait for just the right breeze to come along to keep your plants growing strong.

Ventilation plays a huge role in everything from temperature regulation to humidity mitigation, and regular airflow itself can actually be crucial to providing fresh CO2 so indoor plants can keep breathing easy.

For most modern growers, proper ventilation can be achieved through a combination of fans and vents built right into the wall of a greenhouse. By encouraging airflow on still days and closing up gaps to prevent airflow on windy days, you can more naturally regulate temperature, introduce or remove humidity, and keep plants well supplied with breathable CO2 to keep them growing strong all year long.

New systems use vapor pressure deficit controls for super-energy efficient temperature control. They bring up humidity as the temperature rises. Costs are 2 cents per gram for maximum controlled environment farming of marijuana. China’s large-scale controlled environment agriculture will be at far lower energy costs for mass agriculture.

49 thoughts on “Food and Water Worries Are Not Reasons to Fight Climate Change”

  1. Which deserts? Those areas that are almost all parts of geopolitically unstable developing countries still living in the Middle Ages with ISIS on every corner? Great idea to ALSO outsource food production there! Genius!

  2. The reports of topsoil depilation of the Midwest need to be taken with a grain of salt. The depth of soil far exceeds the depth of the topsoil, which is created by the organic nutrients from the surface filtering down into the parent soil. So essentially, when you expose the parent soil you start creating a new layer of topsoil. But we've been working on improved farming methods to conserve soil for only the last 100 out of 7,000+ years of farming, so there are still gains to be made.

    Farmers understand the importance of soil conservation, the end is NOT nigh.

  3. If you love in mid-US, there's not much danger. If you live in Bangladesh, there's a lot of danger. Wouldn't you agree?

  4. Can you elaborate? I cited hardiness zones and extrapolated from them to the notion that increasing a place's temperature by a couple degrees would increase its hardiness zone number. I'm not denying that other areas may become marginal, but how do you propose this will happen? Maybe sunflowers won't grow b/c too hot, but then cotton, coffee, or cocoa may grow in their place. Do you have something else in mind?

  5. "destroying the planet": This is why no one with a brain takes you guys seriously. Climate change can cause problems for us humans, but the planet and its biosphere as a whole are not in any existential danger.

    You do realize that the Earth is mostly made of iron, right?

  6. Someone did research of the political biases of climate scientists? Cool, got a link? I'd love to read it.

  7. Not destroying the planet should be enough reason to be mindful of climate change. Plus I am going to miss the city when it goes beneath the waves.

  8. "02:13, 2 April 2008 Jonny-mt talk contribs protected Climate change (High level of anonymous IP vandalism [edit=autoconfirmed:move=autoconfirmed] (expires 02:13, 9 April 2008 (UTC))) (hist)
    17:22, 5 February 2008 Caulde talk contribs changed protection level for Climate change (anon-IP vandalism in the past two days [edit=autoconfirmed:move=autoconfirmed] (expires 17:21, 12 February 2008 (UTC))) (hist)
    17:22, 5 February 2008 Caulde talk contribs protected Climate change (anon-IP vandalism in the past two days [edit=sysop:move=sysop] (expires 17:21, 12 February 2008 (UTC))) (hist)
    21:58, 31 December 2007 Raymond arritt talk contribs protected Climate change (sockpuppetry [edit=autoconfirmed:move=autoconfirmed] (expires 21:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC))) (hist) "

    The reasons for the semi-protection restricting to established & registered users are in the logs, not everything is a conspiracy.
    While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, not every opinion has merit. That's why every free thinking loon in town can't edit that article anonymously to add their own unsupported beliefs. You will notice that page is well sourced, any and all claims without a legitimate source will be ruthlessly moderated. why do you think Wikipedia is reasonably reliable.

    There is nothing wrong with Wikipedia's standards, their articles are usually an accurate reflection of their primary sources, you just have lower standards when it comes to things you classify as political.

  9. Yes, and turn others into marginal land.
    AGW is big a problem, but not necessarily everyone's problem.

  10. Seriously, Wikipedia is reasonably reliable on obscure topics with no political salience. Otherwise, it's a mess. Look at the source tab:

    "You are subject to discretionary sanctions if you edit this article.
    The use of discretionary sanctions has been authorized by the Arbitration Committee for pages related to climate change, including this page. Please consult the awareness criteria and edit carefully."

    This is one of those pages they've locked down so they can keep out any dissent from the party line.

  11. This looks like a pretty dangerous situation to allow just because of a deeply held personal belief.


  12. So the current warming would need to continue for quite some time before it's statistically significant



  13. That why it's not currently a solution for the masses with food security issues. VC dollars going into this space are chasing the premium organic prices the produce commands.

  14. We don't throw it away to make ethanol because we have an excess. We do it because of government mandates and subsidies.

  15. You have to distinguish between pretexts and reasons, when it comes to government policy. (OK, generally, but particularly when it comes to government policy.)

    Ethanol was never actually going to reduce dependence on oil imports, and everybody who looked at it from a technical perspective knew that. Though it had enough boosters who didn't know squat about the technical details.

    What it did, in a positive regard, was replace MTBE, an anti-knock additive, (Which in turn had replaced lead.) that was contaminating water supplies. This made it easier to reach octane levels where cars would run property.

    Not very economically, of course, because it reduced mileage at the same time, but then, the real purpose was just to put money in ADM's pocket.

  16. A more interesting measurement is ocean acidification, based on the water/carbon dioxide/carbonic acid buffer. There are pretty good records over decades showing pH changes with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
    Disturbing the ocean's equilibrium should not be treated casually. There are current concerns with weakening of the Gulfstream, and the thermal effects in Europe may be significant.

  17. I thought that the original purpose of ethanol dilution of gasoline was to reduce US dependence on oil imports. The corn lobby was entrenched in the programme, and federal money continued after the shale oil technology matured after 2008. The subsidies were not removed because of the politics.

  18. it all depends on whether you believe that our society has the wherewithal to monitor, predict, plan, organize, overcome, and improve based on the changes in weather patterns over, likely, many generations. I, for one, believe that change is happening and that there is elevated and serious risk to some places and peoples, even tipping points, — but that we can overcome, and even make further advances, just by being 'cognizant and ready' rather than alarmist and restrictive. Panic and industrial-commercial GDP retreat/re-trenching is a no-one wins game. It has to be economy first and environment second, but not far behind — for it is economics-driven-technology that allows the acceleration and creativity in all things eco and enviro. We will be further ahead in 2100 for having been assertive in our increased industrialization and growth in the face of some legitimate and some ilegitimate concerns with climate change.

  19. the top 3/4 of Ontario and Quebec are rocky with minimal top soil. you would be going west to the prairies and north – many times bigger than the entire US midwest. Plantations and vineyards and sub-tropical in the Dakotas and Minnesota appeals for late 2000s – though there may be soil content and precipitation issues.

  20. Climate records more than a few centuries back are of too coarse a resolution to honestly say that.

  21. IIRC, corn ethanol, or basically any biofuel except maybe cellusosic ethanol, is basically just fossil fuel laundering, so much fossil fuel energy is consumed in making it, between fertilizer, farm equipment, and processing.

    The cellusosic ethanol used enough of the plant's energy to more than break even. It also has the advantage of permitting dual use: You can grow grain, use the seed for food purposes, and otherwise waste matter gets converted to ethanol. It could make conventional farms 'carbon neutral', if not small sources of energy.

    It's still an expensive source of energy, though.

  22. If global warming were to occur, wouldn't that open large tracts of now marginal land to cultivation? The hardiness zones map for Canada show a lot of 2b and 2a land in Ontario and Quebec. Siberia must be in a similar situation.

  23. Climate scientists have made themselves into politicians. They voluntarily sacrificed their own credibility.

  24. "unprecendented in our climate records": As far as I'm aware, that has yet to be shown. Our records from about the 18th century back are of a much lower temporal resolution than modern records. So the current warming would need to continue for quite some time before it's statistically significant. A few decades sounds like a long time to YOU, but that's actually so short it wouldn't even show up in ice cores.

    "and we're causing it": Proof by I-say-so.

    "there are many models which show [that I'm gullible]": I'm sure the people whose careers rely on there being a climate crisis are showing us all the models that show it's no big deal.

  25. That's why they want the Great Reset, banning GMOs, gliphosate and other beneficial agricultural tech, to ensure the rabble returns to their rightful place of being hungry, poor and afraid.

  26. Staple crops like rice, wheat, etc. are not as easy to grow in a greenhouse. Costs are raised and overall production goes down due to less land being cultivated. I'm not a climate doomer, but converting all agriculture to greenhouse production is impractical.

  27. I think the point should be made for water efficiency and quality with less waste. I believe that a pound of vegetables produced in a green house uses less water and chemicals than in a field. China shines again bon appetite.

  28. When there is drought in Africa, farmers do not go building green houses, there is no infrastructure and finance for that. That is true for much of the world. This would happen with a lot of forward planning only.

  29. Its changing at a speed which is unprecedented in our climate records, and we're causing it. There are many models which show outcomes which are highly undesirable. Given that our models will always be just models, based on incomplete data, the only 'proof' we'll ever have are the outcomes themselves. So, really, what you're asking for here is to do nothing, and wait for the consequences.

  30. From that same paper: "However, given the high energy costs for artificial lighting and capital costs, it is unlikely to be economically competitive with current market prices."

  31. I just got a brochure in the mail from a corn lobbyist proposing that corn production could continue to be dramatically increased if only demand were increased by making Biden's infrastructure bill technology neutral, so that high octane "low carbon" ethanol from corn would have a chance to compete against EVs.

    It was just a puff piece intended to convince farmers that their lobby money was well spent despite the apparent political trend against corn biofuel.

    But I was left wondering whether high octane corn ethanol could indeed be "low carbon", whether corn production could indeed keep increasing dramatically, whether the auto industry would indeed produce cars with the engines needed to use more ethanol, whether investors would indeed support expanding the ethanol industry to the degree necessary to meet the claims in the brochure, etc.

    It reeked of desperation on the part of the corn lobby, that they didn't get corn ethanol infrastructure supported in the bill, and they might lose the monetary support of farmers.

  32. The idea is to move the people to Space, where everything is easy. It would only take months for the entire population of Earth to be removed if current jets took them somewhere else. Really! Now, launch is getting little more than current jets, 10 years maybe. All we need is a place to go. That is easier in Space than on Earth. Really!

  33. A 1-ha, 10-layer indoor wheat facility developed as a vertical farm (27) or plant factory (28) (SI Appendix) could produce up to 1,940 ± 230 t/ha/y (194 t/ha/y × 10 layers), approximately 600 times the current average global yield in the field

    doi: 10.1073/pnas.2002655117

  34. I support O'Neillism and all but I have a hard time imagining it being remotely affordable to farm in O'Neill colonies to feed people on Earth, and we're not going to migrate billions of people to space within the next century.

  35. We have so much extra grain, we throw away half of our corn to make ethanol.

    Point taken, though. Corn in a greenhouse seems unlikely.

    Corn was domesticated in the SW US. The modern versions have been optimized for the current conditions in the midwest. That doesn't mean different conditions would lead to starvation. It means we'd design new versions that do better in changing conditions.

  36. Plants are essentially solar panels, with a need for air and water, some simple chemicals. In Space, the 2D rows of greenhouses can be collapsed into a 3D solid affair and the light for them collected by mirrors, and piped into the small pressured growing volume. Thus, the basic cost comparison is between solar mirror costs and land costs on Earth, by surface area, quite a lot cheaper is Space, like orders of magnitude cheaper. Then, you get the advantages of Space, full spectrum of light to choose from depending on plant, 24/7/365 light if needed, as bright as wanted, no wind, hail or dust, on and on. This will start with simple solar panels in Space, not plants at first, as Space Solar, far cheaper than nukes boiling water for elect on Earth. Solar in Space is existing fusion, hard to beat.

  37. I believe it for tomatoes. I'm more skeptical for bulk grains. Corn and wheat are already grown very intensively, so it's hard to see how putting them in greenhouses would improve productivity that much.

    And while more CO2 *can* help, depending on the plant, heat stress and drought do the opposite. Ideal regions for growing grains are moving to higher latitudes, where there's less land available. Irrigation helps but aquifers are running out, glaciers are disappearing, and we'd need cheap fusion to desalinate enough seawater.

    Even if greenhouses help counter these issues, grain takes up about 10% of the planet's land area. Are we really going to cover that much of the planet with plastic?

    What *will* help is growing most of our meat and dairy in vats. Then we wouldn't need near as much grain in the first place. Crops are 10% of our land and grazing is 30%; we could let most of that go back to native forest and prairie, which would help all sorts of environmental problems enormously. Combine with compact nuclear power sources and continued urbanization, and our footprint could be pretty small even at much higher population levels.

  38. Shouldn't we first establish what we're demanding proof of?

    That the global temperature is changing? Granted, so what?

    That it's changing dangerously? I think that final word is what proof is needed for.

  39. "Doomer scenarios about billions forced to move because of widescale farm and water problems or collapsing megacities are a bunch of crap."

    This made my day and it's not even 6 AM here, yet!

  40. If global warming is real, I'm going to need someone a whole lot smarter than these lying nincompoops (Al Gore, Greta T) to convince me.
    And if it is, it makes more sense to delay, so we can build up the tech tree to combat it more effortlessly and not crashing the world economy.
    As currently being presented, global warming is a twisted religion.

    And the "what if it's real?" argument would also mean you should send money to that Prince of Ethiopia who promises to send you millions as soon as he escapes his country.
    "What if it's real?" is philosophy, not science.

    Lots of scientific consensus, but no scientific proof. That's a religion.

  41. "IF there was a need, the entire world could bring all agriculture indoors and under temperature and humidity control by 2035."

    Of course it could, but things dont just happen because it's possible and there is a need. The desperate would have their post scarcity commie utopia if not for the vicissitudes of economics.

    China probably studied the Netherlands greenhouse production model, hopefully they can avoid some of their early issues. The Netherlands is the world’s second-biggest exporter of agricultural products, they exported ~$111 billion in agricultural goods in 2019.

    Total U.S. agricultural exports in 2019 were nearly $137 billion

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