Thursday, June 13, 2019

Will global warming endanger the U.S. corn belt, a key source of calories for the growing global population (?)

It would be more accurate to say that American corn is a major source of calories for American internal combustion engines.  It has virtually nothing to do with feeding the world.  Only 17% of the crop is exported, mostly to Mexico and Japan.

Africa has a variety of climates but Africans mostly live on self-grown corn in the form of "mealie pap".  They don't rely on American corn.

And the experiment described below is stupid.  To expose a cultivar designed for a cold climate to unusually high temperatures is simply irrelevant.  Corn is grown all around the world in a variety of climates, mostly warm.  Some cultivars grown in India, for instance, are very heat tolerant -- up to 35° C.

So in the event of global warming, farmers would just have to order seed of a more heat tolerant cultivar.  If the Midwest warmed up a bit, use of tropical cultivars would probably INCREASE production

The article below also ignores other factors of production.  CO2 is a plant food so more CO2 in the air would also increase corn production.  And a warmer world would be more rainy, which again favours plant growth. Farmers might have to look more to their drainage but that is a lot better than suffering drought, which is the current most common problem for corn farmers. Corn likes a lot of water.

So if you look at the full picture, a warmer world would be most likely to lead to a GLUT of corn, not a shortage. It never ceases to amaze me how dishonest Warmist articles are.  Is there such a thing as an honest Warmist?

It’s a bitter cold March morning in Ames, Iowa, and the sprawling cornfields outside of town are buried beneath a couple of inches of ice and snow. But it’s hot and humid inside the custom-built grow chambers on the campus of Iowa State University.

Blindingly bright lights beat down on a trio of squares, each containing close to 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) of soil, sunk five feet (1.5 meters) into the floor. The steady churning of fans, ensuring air circulation and uniform temperatures throughout the room, echoes off the walls. Every few inches, a suite of infrared thermometers and moisture sensors track the microclimates surrounding the leaves of the plants.

Inside these growth chambers, it’s the future. And Jerry Hatfield, an affable agronomist who heads the US Department of Agriculture’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, doesn’t like what he sees.

“Either we’re going to change the crops that we produce or we’re going to have to think about how we genetically manipulate that plant to have a higher tolerance to higher temperature.”
Three years ago, Hatfield used the growth chambers to find out how local crops would perform under the temperatures predicted for the region in 2100, which are expected to rise roughly 4 °C on average, or about 7.2 °F. He simulated a growing season, from April 1 through October 30, for three different strains of corn used by farmers in the area. In one chamber, Hatfield started the temperature at just around 50 °F (10 °C) to mimic conditions in early April, raised it well above 100 °F (38 °C) to simulate the hot summer days (as high as 114 °F in the chamber with 2100 conditions), and then brought it back down again for autumn. In a second chamber, he simulated the region’s current, cooler climate norms.

The differences between the plants in the two chambers were stark. While the leaves looked the same, the impact of that extra 7.2 °F was far worse than projected by even the most pessimistic scientific literature. The number of corn kernels per plant plummeted, in some cases by 84%. Some plants produced no kernels at all.

It was just the first in a series of alarming results. In the months that followed, Hatfield and his colleagues simulated the rising temperatures and altered rainfall patterns expected to hit the wheat fields of Salina, Kansas, as soon as 2050. Yields fell as much as 30% with low precipitation and as much as 70% with the combination of high temperatures and low precipitation expected in the decades ahead.

To date, it’s been relatively easy for American farmers to shrug off climate change. After all, under the most optimistic models, projected US yields for corn and soybeans — which are grown on 75% of the arable land in the Midwest — are actually expected to increase through 2050, thanks to warmer weather that will benefit the relatively cool northern climes. But after that, if Hatfield is right, yields will fall off a cliff, devastating farmers and leaving much of the world hungrier.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow to 9.7 billion. As living standards and diets also improve around the world, food production will have to increase by 50% at a time when climate change will help make both sub-Saharan African and East Asia unable to meet their own needs without imports. Already US corn and soybeans account for 17% of the world’s caloric output. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization projects that American exports of corn must almost triple by 2050 to meet the shortfall, while US soy exports would have to rise by more than 50%. All this extra food has to be grown without using significantly more land. That means it’s going to be all about yield — the productivity of the crop.

And that is what has Hatfield so worried. A growing body of scientific literature suggests that climate change is likely to decimate yields unless we can find new ways to help plants cope with the droughts, vast temperature fluctuations, and other extreme weather that’s likely to become commonplace in the decades ahead.

“If something isn’t done, we will see major drops in production across large areas of the corn belt and Great Plains,” Hatfield says. “Either we’re going to change the crops that we produce or we’re going to have to think about how we genetically manipulate that plant to have a higher tolerance to higher temperature.”


That's creepy Joe Biden hoping for some action

Biofuels Don't Lower Gas Price or Emissions, Report Finds

A federal program requiring the use of corn-based ethanol and biodiesel in gasoline supplies hasn’t lowered pump prices or significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Gasoline prices outside of the corn-rich Midwest likely rose by a few pennies a gallon at the pump because of the Renewable Fuel Standard, while falling slightly in areas with ethanol plants, the GAO said in a report posted online Monday. The pump price effects likely diminished over time. Refiners benefited from installing equipment for the fuel-blending requirement “that, over time, reduced refining costs for gasoline,” according to the report.

In addition, the GAO found that “most of the experts we interviewed generally agreed that to date the RFS has likely had a limited effect, if any, on greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s due to the continued reliance on corn-based ethanol, instead of more advanced cellulosic biofuels that use agricultural waste but haven’t shown a great deal of commercial viability.

The report was commissioned at the request of U.S. Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican and a cosponsor of bills to reduce or eliminate the mandate.

Contentious Law

The 2005 law that required annually increasing use of biofuels has been contentious, not only among agricultural and oil-refining states, but also for government agencies. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a report saying corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel is hurting water quality, and the program may be boosting the number of acres being planted for biofuels.

In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study that found corn-based ethanol’s greenhouse gas emissions were 39% lower than gasoline over the entire life cycle, from the initial production of raw materials to its processing and eventual combustion in vehicles.

USDA disagreed with the GAO report’s conclusion that the program has had limited effects on reducing emissions. It also told GAO that its “conclusion that the RFS likely had modest impacts on gasoline prices should be augmented by a discussion of the volatility of gasoline prices,” according to the report.

The Renewable Fuels Association, an industry trade group, criticized the findings of the GAO report, citing USDA’s study and that it also stands “by research that indicates savings at the fuel pump.”


White House poised to relax mileage standards, rebuffing automakers and setting up probable fight with California

A last-minute push by automakers appears unlikely to sway the Trump administration from abandoning President Barack Obama’s signature climate policy to improve mileage standards for cars and light trucks, two government officials said Friday.

The administration’s plan to freeze federal fuel-efficiency requirements for six years and end California’s authority to set its own standards has injected uncertainty into the auto market and raised the prospect of a drawn-out legal fight between federal officials and the nation’s biggest state.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department are poised to finalize a proposal this summer that would set federal car standards at roughly 37 miles per gallon, rather than raising them to nearly 51 miles per gallon for 2025 models. The rule would also revoke California’s existing waiver to set its own rules under the Clean Air Act, a practice the federal government has sanctioned for decades.

On Thursday, 17 U.S. and foreign firms sent a letter to both President Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), urging them to “resurrect” talks to avoid harming the industry and American consumers. They warn that only a nationally agreed-upon set of rules would avert “an extended period of litigation and instability, which could prove as untenable as the current program.”

But White House officials rebuffed the automakers’ request Thursday, saying there was no prospect of further negotiation with the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The two government officials, who were briefed on the discussions, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

“As we acknowledged earlier this year, CARB failed to put forward a productive alternative, and we are moving forward to finalize a rule with the goal of promoting safer, cleaner and more affordable vehicles,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere in an email.

Administration officials say that the nation needs to readjust the emissions targets because consumers prefer bigger and less fuel-efficient vehicles than regulators initially envisioned and that keeping them in place will spur Americans to drive older, less safe vehicles.

But California leaders show no signs of budging.

“Despite the White House’s rejection of the automakers’ appeal, we stand with those automakers, other states, and environmental leaders in pushing for one national standard — one that doesn’t backtrack on the progress states like California have made in protecting the climate and our kids’ health,” Newsom said in a statement Friday.

In 2009, the Obama administration reached an agreement with automakers and officials in California to establish the first-ever carbon standards for the vehicles. Limiting cars’ carbon output and improving fuel efficiency reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, helping to curb the pace of climate change.

[Experts question if lower gas mileage actually saves lives]

In February, CARB officials said the administration had broken off communications before Christmas and had neither responded to the state’s proposals nor offered one of its own.

An aide to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said that the state was still committed to defending the standards that California, automakers and the federal government agreed to back in 2009. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have signed on to adopting whatever tailpipe standards California sets.

In their letter to the California governor, the automakers wrote, “We know that reaching an agreement has been challenging, but the stakes are too high and the benefits too important to accept the status quo.”

Trump officials have often framed their deregulatory agenda as an effort to create more certainty for U.S. businesses and to hand more power back to individual states instead of the federal government.

But some critics argue that the administration’s tailpipe proposal would accomplish neither of those goals. California’s power to set its own standards dates to 1967 legislation and has been reaffirmed every time Congress amended the law.

“The Trump EPA’s profoundly cynical version of states’ rights does not include the fundamental rights of states — long guaranteed under the Clean Air Act — to protect millions of residents from harmful tailpipe pollution,” said Chester France, a consultant for the Environmental Defense Fund and a former EPA official.

Critics say the proposed freeze would benefit the oil and gas industry and cost consumers more at the pump. They also warn that a legal battle with California could result in a sweeping upheaval in the nation’s automotive market, should carmakers eventually have to meet different standards in different states.

One major carmaker, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, did not sign the industry’s letters for another round of negotiations. In a statement, the automaker said its position had not changed since last fall, when an executive testified that the company is “in favor of ongoing fuel economy improvements in the fleet” but that policymakers needed to factor in the “realities” of how the auto market had changed over time.

White House officials had lobbied automakers in late February to back whatever rule the administration finalizes, according to multiple senior administration officials, and brought some of the firms back on an individual basis to solicit additional feedback. But as it became clear that the administration was forging ahead with its original plan, many manufacturers decided to make a more public statement.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, urged the industry to work directly with California given the administration’s stance.

“While it is not unhelpful that the automobile industry sent this letter, we are now in the 11th hour, and I fear it won’t be long before the rubber meets the road and the administration’s reckless rollback is finalized,” he said.

Bill Becker, president of Becker Environmental Consulting, said in an email that the “Hail Mary” pass from the industry won’t make a difference.

“The automakers’ efforts are too little and too late to stop the Trump administration from eviscerating the Obama clean car standards,” Becker said. “The Trump proposal, if adopted, will contribute to tens of thousands of premature deaths and millions of incidences of serious illnesses, undermine states’ compliance with the Clean Air Act, and impose serious impacts on businesses.”


Great Lakes Reveal a Fatal Flaw in Climate Change ‘Science’

Lake Erie and Lake Superior — two of the five that make up the Great Lakes — broke records for water levels this May. Lakes Michigan and Huron could follow suit.

Naturally, climate change is getting the blame. “We are undoubtedly observing the effects of a warming climate in the Great Lakes,” says Richard Rood, a University of Michigan climate scientist.

But just a few years ago, climate scientists were insisting that a warming climate would cause water levels to decline.

In 2008, Science Daily reported on a study that attributed the decline in Great Lakes water levels to global warming. The researchers who conducted the study said that the drop “raised concern because the declines are consistent with many climate change predictions.”

In 2009, Columbia University’s Earth Institute informed us that “most climate models suggest that we may see declines in lake levels over the next 100 years; one suggests that we may see declines of up to 8.2 feet.”

In 2011, the Union of Concern Scientists said that “scientists expect water levels in the Great Lakes to drop in both summer and winter, with the greatest declines occurring in Lakes Huron and Michigan.”

In 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that “it’s no secret that, partially due to climate change, the water levels in the Great Lakes are getting very low.”

That same year, Think Progress reported that “Several different climate models for the Great Lakes region all predict that lake levels will decline over the next century.”

Since the Great Lakes account for 21% of the world’s surface fresh water, these stories were all wrapped in doom-and-gloom scenarios about the impact on drinking water, shipping, recreation, and so on.

The very next year, however, water levels started rising.

So what are scientists saying now? Simple. They’re now claiming that the fall and rise of Great Lakes’ water levels are due to climate change.

“Climate change is driving rapid shifts between high and low water levels on the Great Lakes,” is the new “consensus.”

The truth, of course, is that water levels in the Great Lakes vary over time. And, as a matter of fact, they varied far more in the past than they do now. A U.S. Geological Survey notes that “prehistoric levels exceed modern-day fluctuations.”

It says that “Prehistoric variations in lake levels have exceeded by as much as a factor of 2 (that is, more than 3 meters) the 1.6-meter fluctuation that spanned the 1964 low level and the 1985-87 high level.”

And, as anyone who’s ever lived near the Great Lakes knows, the lakes themselves were formed in the wake a massive change in the earth’s climate — when the glaciers receded at the end of the Ice Age roughly 14,000 years ago.

So if the lakes’ huge fluctuations in the past weren’t caused by mankind’s burning fossil fuels, why are scientists so convinced that the far more minor changes happening today are?

The reason is simple. Climate scientists can blame anything they want on global warming. The climate models are imprecise enough that no matter what is happening they can point to it as proof that man-made climate change is happening. Too much rain, too little rain, bitterly cold winters, mild winters, more snow, less snow, rising water levels, falling water levels — they can attribute “climate change” as a cause of it all.

But if nothing can disprove a theory, and every event, no matter how contradictory, is proof that the theory is valid, is that really science? Sounds more like a religion to us.


Former Obama Official Blames Central American Migration on ‘Climate Crisis’

Just another dummy

Former Obama official Patrick Gaspard in a panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” blamed Central American migration on the “climate crisis.”

Gaspard, who is currently president of the Open Society Foundation and once served as Obama’s White House political affairs director, said President Donald Trump was “falsely hyping a deal that was struck some months ago that we know is probably insufficient to the challenge.”

“Let’s be clear about what’s really happening here. I know Americans through the news media are focused on Mexico and this challenge, but this story is really not about Mexico. It’s about migrants who are coming from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, from the Northern Triangle, and they are a very different class of migrants than we saw in years past,” he said.

“You used to have lone Mexican men who would come, find work, send money back home. That’s not what you have now. You have whole families that are coming as a consequence of pressures of climate shifts in the Northern Triangle,” Gaspard said.

He said the president should be working with countries in that region to fight climate change.

“We have a five-year drought there now and precipitation that’s moving to other parts of the region. Any president of the U.S. should be working with Mexico and with that region to mitigate the climate crisis and the crisis also in some of the human rights oppressions that exist in those countries. We should be partnering with Mexico now, not making idle threats and lifting up deals that will do nothing to mitigate the crisis,” Gaspard said.



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