September 02, 2003

Hot Summer Sparks Global Food Crisis

The US political power structure and the "US
mainstream news media" that shills for it is so sick
that there are certainly subjects you cannot even
raise if you are going to run for President, for
example -- the number of Iraqi deaths, the number of
Afghan deaths, Israel's blunders, crimes and failures
(of course), AND yes, global warming...The only
political leader of the higher order to speak out on
this planetary crisis is Al Gore, who wasn't allowed
to serve even though he was elected (yes, he won
Fraudida as well as the popular vote nationally) and
isn't (or can't?) run now. One of these would-be
anti-Bushes has to dare to speak out on global
warming. The scientific establishment will stand
behind that person. The rest of the world will stand
behind that person. Unfortunately, the "US mainstream
news media" will probably empanel a sordid,
prostituted group of flat-earth "scientists" for sale
to say it is NOT so, and the propapunditgandists will
mock the would be anti-Bush that dares to raise the
issue and they will also say "Well, the polls show the
American people just don't care about this issue."
Blah, blah, blah...But if the Democratic Party does
not get back out in front on this issue, as it was in
the Clinton-Gore era, history (in the long run) and
the electorate (sooner than you might think) will
refute, rebuke and reject them as they will the
_resident and his cronies...It is happening faster
than projected, it is going to be very severe, very
palpable and very tangible to the climate, populace
and economy of the US very soon. Yes, it is going to
hit the EU harder earlier (driving us even farther
apart from our natural allies because of the
bitterness it will sow), but it is coming for us as
well and it demands real leadership and a real shift
of priorities...

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0831-01.htm

Published on Sunday, August 31, 2003 by the
lndependent/UK
'A foretaste of what will happen as global warming
takes hold'
Hot Summer Sparks Global Food Crisis

by Geoffrey Lean

This summer's heatwave has drastically cut harvests
across Europe, plunging the world into an
unprecedented food crisis, startling new official
figures show. Shifting harvests in Europe this year,
triggered by extreme but local bouts of rain, heat and
drought, eerily foreshadow predictions made last year
that warn global warming will reshape European
agriculture. (AFP-DDP/File/Jochen Luebke)

Separate calculations by two leading institutions
monitoring the global harvest show that the scorching
weather has severely reduced European grain
production, ensuring that the world will not produce
enough to feed itself for the fourth year in
succession, and plunging stocks to the lowest level on
record. And experts predict that the damage to crops
will be found to be even greater when the full cost of
the heat is known.

They say that, as a result, food prices will rise
worldwide, and hunger will increase in the world's
poorest countries. And they warn that this is just a
foretaste of what will happen as global warming takes
hold.

Sunshine and warmth are, of course, good for plants
and there were hopes that this year's good summer
would produce a bumper harvest. But excessive heat and
low rainfall damage crops, and the heatwave - which
brought temperatures of more than 100F to Britain for
the first time, and gave France 11 consecutive days
above 95F, killing more than 1,000 people - has done
enormous damage.

The US Department of Agriculture has cut its forecast
for this year's grain harvest by 32 million tons,
mainly because of the European crop reductions. On
Thursday, the International Grains Council - an
intergovernmental body - reduced its own prediction
even further, by 36 million tons, as a result of "heat
and drought, particularly in Europe."

The damage has been most severe in Eastern Europe,
which is now bringing in its worst wheat crop in three
decades: in Ukraine, the harvest has been cut from 21
million tons last year to five million, while Romania
has its worst crop on record. Germany is the worst-hit
EU country: some farmers in the south-east have lost
half their grain harvest. Official British figures
will not be published until October.

The final tally of the summer's damage is likely to be
worse still. Lester Brown, the president of
Washington's authoritative Earth Policy Institute,
predicts that it will cut another 20 million tons off
the world harvest, making this a catastrophic year.

It has come at a time when world food supplies were
already at their most precarious ever. The world has
eaten more grain than it has produced every year so
far this century, driving stocks well below the safety
margin to their lowest levels in the 40 years that
records have been kept. The amount of grain produced
for each person on earth is now less than at any time
in more than three decades.

Until about a month ago, this year had been expected
to produce a reasonable harvest, allowing some
recovery. But the heatwave has now ensured that it
will make things even worse, and experts say that the
crisis will deepen as global warming increases.

Grain prices have already increased, and Mr Brown
warns that in coming years they may move to a
permanently higher level. This would encourage greater
production, he says, but at the expense of the world's
hungry, who could then afford even less food, and of
the environment, as farming intensified.

2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

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Posted by richard at September 2, 2003 10:09 PM