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We are on a collision course between the demands of rising populations and the ability of our food resources to sustain themselves – and nitrogen use is the fault line

Consumption

Humanity is facing an unprecedented dilemma — how to feed a burgeoning population while resources decline and the ability of the Earth’s ecosystems and atmosphere to absorb pollution diminishes.

A scientific breakthrough made a hundred years ago is at the heart of the problem. The Haber-Bosch process enabled the use of fossil energy to transform atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use. The resulting product, nitrogen fertiliser, enabled the Green Revolution, a massive increase in food production. Previously, nature had fixed atmospheric nitrogen mainly through leguminous plants, blue-green algae and lightning. But now, using fossil energy, the flux of anthropogenic nitrogen into the atmosphere, soils and water has increased tenfold over all natural sources.1

Synthetic nitrogen has allowed the human population to reach double the 3.5 billion that could have been sustained without it. Since the discovery, population growth and the increase in nitrogen fertiliser production have been in sync.2 Now we are on track to reach a world population of more than nine billion by 2050, nearly three times what could have been supported without synthetic nitrogen.

As with a wonder drug that only later you discover has terrible side effects, the Haber-Bosch process opened up a Pandora’s Box of problems. By exploiting in a single century energy built up over millennia, we have radically altered the ecological balance of agricultural systems.

The distortion triggered a proliferation of livestock so that the food system is now responsible for more than a quarter of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is the dominant driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss, and is a major user and polluter of water resources.3 Nitrogen is not the only fossil-derived part of the problem: oil is another culprit. On top of the nitrogen footprint, our industrial food production system now uses over 10 calories of oil energy to plough, plant, fertilise, harvest, transport, refine, package, store/refrigerate and deliver one calorie of food to be eaten by humans.4

A graphic example of the human food domination of the planet is that in the last 100 years the biomass of domestic animals on the planet quadrupled. By the beginning of this century 98 per cent of the total biomass of mammals was humans and the animals that feed them, leaving only two per cent as wild animals.5

Demand for nitrogen fertiliser is expected to continue to increase by four per cent annually,6 but easily obtained gas is declining, so this production will increasingly rely on fracked wells for gas. Fracked gas has many environmental issues and is very inefficient compared to conventional wells: fracked gas wells leak 40 to 60 per cent more methane.7 Also, as fossil gas supplies diminish, their extraction becomes more energy-intensive. The energy return on investment for gas is declining, so at some point we must face the dilemma that we have a population many times higher than can be nourished without fossil energy.

One of the main reasons synthetic nitrogen fertiliser has so many impacts is that most of it doesn’t end up where it was intended. Only around 17 per cent of the amount applied as fertiliser makes it into crops or animal products consumed by humans.8 The rest is lost to the environment where mostly it does harm. The bulk of the reactive nitrogen (a term used for a variety of nitrogen compounds that support growth directly or indirectly) leaks into aquatic systems where it does damage mainly through accelerated eutrophication. This is an unnatural excess of nutrients that often drives algal blooms, which have many impacts, often the worst being a reduction of available oxygen in water, killing aquatic life. This eutrophication, primarily from agricultural sources, has contributed to the many eutrophic lakes and rivers, but it doesn’t end there — the rest makes it to oceans. Theses nutrients in oceans have created more than 400 oceanic dead zones worldwide, primarily in Europe, the eastern and southern US, and South East Asia. These dead zones cover a total area of 245,000 square kilometres, similar to the total land area of New Zealand. Part of the inefficiency of nitrogen fertiliser is that livestock are wasteful in their conversion: in the EU livestock consume around 85 per cent of the 14 million tonnes of nitrogen in crops harvested or imported there, but only 15 per cent goes to feed humans directly.9

Another example of leakage is nitrogen fertiliser loss to the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that for every 100 kilograms of nitrate fertiliser applied to soil, one kilogram ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, a GHG 300 times more potent than CO2, and the most ozone-depleting gas. This creation of nitrous oxide can be seen in a 17 per cent increase since the pre-industrial era from below 270 parts per billion in the atmosphere to more than 320 parts per billion now.10

‘A net loss to society’

While nitrogen fertiliser increases production, the negative impacts — including the costs to clean up and costs to human health — are huge. EU farmers add 11 million tonnes of reactive nitrogen in fertiliser annually, giving them a direct benefit of €20–80 billion when long-term gains are included. However, the cost to society of this excess nitrogen is estimated to be between €70 billion and €320 billion per year, based on estimates of the price of damage to human health and ecosystems and biodiversity loss.11 Thus, the costs far outweigh the value that nitrogen fertilisers add.

In New Zealand the ratio of nitrogen costs to gains is likely to be similar — put simply, they constitute a net loss for society. One facet of the environmental costs of nitrogen pollution of freshwaters can be quantified by what it costs to remove it from waterways such as lakes. Trials in Lake Rotorua showed it cost a minimum of $250 to remove one kilogram of nitrogen from the lake,12 whereas to not use a kilogram of nitrogen fertiliser on farm would mean a loss of revenue for the farmer of around $6.13 The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is currently paying farmers to de-intensify their farming in the lake catchment order to stop 100 tonnes of reactive nitrogen entering the lake (the estimated amount that must be reduced to stop the lake clarity declining). The regional council has a $40 million tax and ratepayer clean-up fund for the lake.

Analysis has been done by the Stockholm Institute into ‘planetary boundaries’ to find the tipping points that must not be exceeded for humankind to continue to exist.14 Its analysis showed that of the 10 boundaries identified, three have already been drastically surpassed: biodiversity, the nitrogen cycle and climate change. The nitrogen cycle is more than three times the safe limit; biodiversity loss is more than 10 times the limit; and with CO2 at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere climate change is well past the 350 parts per million boundary.

The global food system, boosted by synthetic nitrogen, is responsible for more than a quarter of all human-induced GHG emissions. Livestock are responsible for around 15 per cent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions, 37 per cent of all anthropogenic methane emissions, and 65 per cent of all nitrous oxide emissions.15 Within the livestock sector almost half of the emissions are in the form of methane; the remaining part is almost equally shared between nitrous oxide and CO2. Of the livestock production emissions, the majority are from beef (41 per cent) and dairy cattle (20 per cent).

Breaking down the livestock emissions further, ruminants are far and away the biggest problem, responsible for about 12 per cent of all GHG emissions.16 In 2011 the estimated 3.6 billion domestic ruminants globally were responsible for more than 80 per cent of the total livestock-related GHG emissions.17

While livestock provide a third of the dietary protein for humans, especially in developing countries, they have a massive environmental footprint over and above the considerable climate-change implications. Livestock are responsible for an estimated 55 per cent of the sedimentation of waterways through accelerated erosion, 37 per cent of pesticide use, 50 per cent of all antibiotic use, 64 per cent of ammonia loss and a third of the anthropogenic loads of nitrogen and phosphorus to freshwater resources.18 Livestock are also very inefficient at energy conversion; they consume 77 million tonnes of protein contained in feedstuff that could potentially be used for human nutrition, but supply only 58 million tonnes of protein in food products for humans.

Of all human land uses, livestock occupies the largest share, around 70 per cent of all agricultural land and one-third of the land surface of the planet. Twenty to 30 per cent of the ice-free area is used for grazing, and around a third of cultivated land area is used for their feed and forage.19 Between 1980 and 2000, 83 per cent of agricultural land expansion in the tropics occurred at the expense of forests, and livestock were a major contributor.20 However, at sustainable densities livestock have ecological benefits: they create human food from inedible sources, can conserve grassland ecosystems, help recycle nutrients and can provide many social benefits.21

Incompatable increases and declines

The ability of the planet to provide enough food for the extra 80 million mouths to feed every year is likely to decline. Two trajectories are converging, and, if they meet, the future will be bleak. The first trajectory is decline: of the amount and quality of available land, of fossil-fuel availability to make nitrogen fertiliser, of water quality, and of wild fisheries. The second trajectory is increase: of human population, of animal products in diets, and of food wastage. Climate change is speeding up the convergence of the two trajectories. Given that one major driver pushing us over the planetary boundaries is our current food system, especially the livestock sector, the solution must be to radically change the way we live and what we eat.

While there are technological and efficiency gains to be made through precision agriculture and irrigation, and there is great potential for reductions in food waste as mitigation options, most agricultural GHG emissions are intrinsic to the current livestock-centred agricultural system. Furthermore, as population and diets increase, the small gains are negated by a net increase in production volume and associated impacts. Because most methane emissions come from ruminants and nitrous-oxide emissions from fertilisers, they can be addressed only by reducing the animal component of food, particularly ruminants.

Reducing meat consumption can have many positive effects for the environment and human health. High levels of meat consumption in developed countries are strongly correlated with rates of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. Reducing meat and replacing it with high-protein plant foods is associated with significant health benefits.22 A recent study found that adopting diets in line with global dietary guidelines could avoid 5.1 million human deaths per year by 2050.23 Even greater benefits could come from vegetarian diets (avoiding 7.3 million deaths) and vegan diets (avoiding 8.1 million deaths, and billions of animal deaths). Approximately half of the avoided deaths would come from a reduction of red-meat consumption, with the other half due to a combination of increased fruit and vegetable intake and a reduction in calories, leading to fewer people being overweight or obese.

Nitrogen-footprint studies clearly reveal the differences in impacts with different diets: the per capita nitrogen footprint in the United States is 41 kg N/yr whereas in the Netherlands it is 25 kg N/yr. These differences are mainly a result of the US diet being more meat-oriented than that of the Netherlands, which emphasises dairy, eggs and fish.

Who, us? Do we have to accept that reducing meat consumption has positive effects for the environment and human health? Sarah Ivey/AngusPure NZ

Dietary choices can hugely influence environmental impacts of food: red meat has the highest eutrophication potential, followed by dairy products, chicken/eggs and then fish. The cereal and carbohydrate food group has the lowest nutrient footprint among all food sub-groups. Producing, processing, transporting and packaging one kilogram of red meat generates on average 150 grams of nitrogen-equivalent emissions, whereas to supply one kilogram of cereal/carbohydrates results in around just 2.6 grams of nitrogen-equivalent emissions.24

Depending on the system, livestock can use copious amounts of water. Mostly it goes to irrigate crops. There have been many estimates of litres per kilogram of protein, but most agree that at least eight times more water is used per kilogram for a meat diet than is needed for a vegetarian diet.25 Livestock systems also in many cases limit the quality of available water through eutrophication.

Another limitation to feeding the world’s population is the availability of land to grow food. Many studies have shown much less land is required if protein goes directly to humans rather than via animals. A comprehensive study of the area of land required to feed humans over a range of diets in the US found that a vegetarian diet used on average one-eighth of the area needed for an omnivorous diet. But livestock farming can take place on land not suitable for crop production, so making comparisons is difficult.

A them-or-us choice

Here in New Zealand, synthetic nitrogen is applied as urea and its use has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Its importation, mainly from the Middle East, steadily increased from 58 tonnes in 1990 to more than 600,000 tonnes in 2016; approximately another third (260,000 tonnes) is produced from Taranaki gas fields. This increase in nitrogen fertiliser use has been matched by livestock intensification, illustrated by a 460 per cent increase in dairy exports between 1990 and 2010.26 The impacts on the environment of this intensification are obvious. Almost daily in summertime there are new stories of rivers, lakes and ground water becoming unswimmable and undrinkable. Freshwater monitoring shows quality and quantity impacts in all intensively livestock-farmed areas;27 and freshwater pollution events are exacerbated by climate change with predicted drying on the East Coast and more extreme rainfall events.

Most of the media coverage around climate change has focused on CO2 emissions, with transport and energy receiving the biggest coverage. This is odd, given that the non-CO2 emissions are proportionally more than those of the entire global transport system:28 they contribute about one-third of total anthropogenic CO2-equivalent emissions and 35 to 45 per cent of climate forcing resulting from those emissions.29

In New Zealand the climate-change implications of livestock receive little publicity. So far the only response from government is to look for technological fixes for methane emission from ruminants. Rather than push for reductions in livestock numbers, the Ministry for Primary Industries predicts growth in livestock numbers and production, and the government is calling for and funding growth in animal agriculture with its Primary Growth Partnerships. The only significant sign of recognition of the issues of livestock farming has come from New Zealand’s biggest farmer, the state-owned enterprise Landcorp, which recently announced it would stop using imported palm-kernel expeller and become carbon-neutral within a decade.

Many studies in other parts of the world show that more people can be fed from the same land area — and with significantly lowered environmental and health impacts — when livestock numbers are reduced. There are areas of New Zealand where livestock and forestry are the only options, but there are large lowland areas where more diverse farming systems not dominated by livestock could see a much more sustainable outcome. A switch away from livestock and synthetic nitrogen would mean that we could feed more people a healthier diet, preserve waterways and increase the chances of having a liveable atmosphere. While New Zealand may be relatively immune to many global crises, climate change is not one of them.

If we continue on our present path, GHG emissions from food and agriculture will dramatically increase, with a predicted 80 per cent increase by mid-century, due to population growth and dietary changes moving toward animal-based foods that are more emissions-intensive. If we do nothing by 2050, food-related GHG emissions could account for up to half of the total emissions. We have ignored non-CO2 emissions for too long now — and the biggest component of those emissions is from livestock, particularly ruminants. It is simply a ‘them or us’ choice: if we don’t drastically reduce livestock from our diets, as we reduce other GHG emissions, we have no future.

interest.co.nz



41 Comments on "We are on a collision course between the demands of rising populations and the ability of our food resources to sustain themselves – and nitrogen use is the fault line"

  1. makati1 on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 5:52 am 

    “Nitrogen-footprint studies clearly reveal the differences in impacts with different diets: the per capita nitrogen footprint in the United States is 41 kg N/yr whereas in the Netherlands it is 25 kg N/yr. These differences are mainly a result of the US diet being more meat-oriented than that of the Netherlands, which emphasizes dairy, eggs and fish.”

    “…It is simply a ‘them or us’ choice: if we don’t drastically reduce livestock from our diets, as we reduce other GHG emissions, we have no future.”

    And I am sure that Asian countries would be well below even the 25 kg/yr of the Netherlands. That is why I keep pointing out that the West has a lot farther to fall when the SHTF. And the pain will be far greater.

    US beef consumption is 80 pounds per capita
    Ps beef consumption is 13 pounds per capita. (1/6)

    http://beef2live.com/story-world-beef-consumption-per-capita-ranking-countries-0-111634

  2. brough on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 5:56 am 

    A good article highlighting the predicament the human race faces with its dependence on synthetically fixed nirogen.
    Any attempts to restrict the use of the Haber-Bosch process will lead to mass starvation. Including many in the, so called developed nations.

  3. Davy on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 6:52 am 

    Well, one needs only to look to our basic elements and our planetary system to see predicaments. Our nitrogen, carbon, and hydrological cycles are now way out of balance. This is a predicament and trap because we are also in human overshoot with population and complexity. We are killing the planet now and must mitigate that but with population growth this destructive activity must be increased and fast. The rate of growth needed is incredible just as stalling is occurring.

    Techno optimism will not solve this situation. In many cases it is just making it worse. I have done industrial agriculture and I am now doing perma culture grassland animal husbandry now. It is a grazing system with multiple species of plants and animals. It is not profitable and to make it profitable I have to move towards industrial with high stocking rates and heavy equipment. That is the fact of life with farming everywhere. I am lucky I am semi-retired and I can do this permaculture without trying to make a profit. My sad goal is to cover cost but my labor is not covered. How many can do that and support themselves and a family. To live modern and succeed you must be destructive to nature that is a fact not a boast.

    I have lived and I am living this article now. I can tell you we are not going to change our diets and lifestyles much. There is little room for it except to collapse into poverty of choices and lower quantities. We have exhausted our food growing potentials and options. We cannot just turn grazing lands into grain belts and vegetable farms. We are not going to feed the world with elevated agriculture. Oil is not going to be substituted in scale and time frame by a renewable based agriculture. Population cannot continue to grow and utilize prime farming lands and water supplies.

    This is inconvenient finite world techno optimist bump into to. Permaculture and organic farming will never scale up to replace industrial agricultural monocultures distributed in global networks by global finance. We have some low hanging fruit of waste and poor lifestyles that involve choice. We can shed many calories and start eating local and seasonal. We can start growing some food ourselves. What we can’t do is have our cake and eat it. We can’t continue affluence with rising populations. There will be some locations and economies that can keep it going longer but it is all dated because it is all connected.

    Our late term civilization may transform our foundational energy but that huge undertaking is not going to solve food and water issues. It is not going to solve the problems of overpopulation. It is not going to reverse the unknowns of planetary decline. We have options and all are catch 22. We need to degrowth but this will destroy our economies. We need to mitigate and adapt but what is needed will destroy our economies. Population decline and less consumption destroy global systems based on growth.

    The good thing at least for us old guys is we may be lucky enough to not have to live through the worst of this collapse dynamics ahead. This process might unfold over decades. No one I have heard has a good handle on this. The more we know about both doom and techno optimism the less we know. Life is becoming so confusing because life is confusing. There is no equation for turbulence. Randomness is often irrational. Chaos infects all systems.

    The best we can do with food and water is try to supplement industrial sources and processes with the old ways. This will not be enough so we will need to think about lifeboats and hospices for those places that will collapse because of lack of food and water. Since all politics is local eventually, let’s be clear once some places get beyond a point they will not be saved. Charity has limits. This will be about triage on the battlefield. The most important places will have potential for saving but others will be little more than IED’s to our global system we can try to defuse them or dodge them but there will be attrition. Collapse next door does not stay on the other side of the fence so we will have to make some accommodations and if we don’t worse will occur. That is a catch 22 because the accommodations needed will be parasitical and destructive to those places that have developmental possibility. It is a no win situation with no happy endings.

  4. Hubert on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 6:54 am 

    What is peak phosphorus?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbC49zh1-Qo

  5. Davy on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:02 am 

    “And I am sure that Asian countries would be well below even the 25 kg/yr of the Netherlands. That is why I keep pointing out that the West has a lot farther to fall when the SHTF. And the pain will be far greater. US beef consumption is 80 pounds per capita. Ps beef consumption is 13 pounds per capita. (1/6)”

    The p’s has a GDP similar to my home state of Missouri. Its population is over ten times mine on a land mass just under half as big. Tell me how you are going to argue per capita with that situation? That is stupid. If you are going to be poor and overpopulated meat will be limited.

    You are pissing in the wind makati because Asian industrial agriculture is more intensive than western industrial agriculture. Study agriculture in China that is a leader in the world with food production. You are in a la la land of exceptionalism and anti-Western agenda that falls flat on its face constantly.

    Get a grip makati. There is a price to pay for overpopulation. There is a price to pay for over consumption in over complexity. We are all here in one combination or another. Your Asia is off the charts in overpopulation that is attempting to over consume and that is destroying your ecosystems. The worst ecosystem destruction is occurring in Asia. The biggest food dangers are in Asia with huge populations in mega urban areas and this includes rural areas that are full up with people. There is nowhere for the people to go. Yea, the west is going to shit its britches when the trucks stop so the west doesn’t have answers either. Eat that with your rice dumbass.

  6. deadlykillerbeaz on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:05 am 

    The water requirement for cows is 15 gallons per day. 15,000,000 gallons per day for 1,000,000 cows.

    60,000,000 North American bison once roamed the Great Plains. It is a good thing Buffalo Bill came along and put a stop to those water pigs wasting good water. The buffalo were in overshoot, so a major kill-off was necessary.

    Cows deserve the water and pastures more than the bison ever did.

    All wildlife in North America was in overshoot and needed to be culled heavily. Humans came to the rescue and saved North America from ecological devastation from bears, deer, wolves, coyotes, fox, pigeons, geese, upland game, fish, you name it, there were too many, always. The natives out in Montana ran buffalo over cliffs and killed them by the hundreds, it was open season 365, no license required. Everything was too abundant and humans managed to get the job done and do a required mass kill-off of fauna, just had to be done.

    Made the place livable, finally.

    Now there is room for millions of cattle, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and good horses. All make good use of water, air, and pasture land. All of those millions of acres just growing grasses were turned into croplands, a wiser choice.

    Lo and behold, there was plenty of oil under those plains, so humans needed to drill it out and burn it to reduce the amount of oil in the ground. Just too much oil, has to be managed to a lower level, that is why oil is burned.

    Gets to be a lot of work to make it all happen, so machines fill in to make it all happen even faster and more of it.

    And a plethora of people goes along with it all. Barley for beer instead of grasses for useless wildlife, a no brainer there.

    Going to have to work on decreasing the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere too, along with the CO2.

  7. brough on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:40 am 

    makati1

    I agree with you the western diet consists of too much meat, which is unheathy for both body and planet. But, having come to farming rather later in life, I have come to the conclusion cattle rearing is not as bad as you make out. Over a 8 year period I’ve raised cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Wifey keeps chickens, mainly for eggs production and turkeys which we supply to friends and neighbours at Christmas.
    From a nitrogen efficiency point of view I find rummants do quite good (both sheep and cattle) on unimproved grazing. After a couple of years the land has to be plough over and sown to clover to bring the nitrogen back. The problem is my production has very low intensity and could not be used generally to feed the whole of the UK. Therefore, I put it to you that in comparing USA and the Netherlands you need to look at human population density. Of course in the US, population density is a lot lower, therefore more room for cattle. In terms of nitrogen efficiency, pigs and chickens a lot worse and can’t be done without supplements of import soya meal. Presumingly produced using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers

  8. onlooker on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 9:49 am 

    Pray tell me how can technology or our ingenuity solve inherent limits to growth. It cannot. Our huge population is dismantling the life support systems of this planet with our needs, wants and the ways we satisfy them
    We live on a finite and balanced planet. We are busy destabilizing , destroying, degrading and depleting Nature. Only the blind cannot see how all this will NOT end well

  9. Kenz300 on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 10:00 am 

    Finite planet and resources meets continuing population growth. Adding 80 million more mouths to feed, clothe and house every year just makes the problems of the world even worse.

  10. jawagord on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 11:16 am 

    “….but easily obtained gas is declining, so this production will increasingly rely on fracked wells for gas. Fracked gas has many environmental issues and is very inefficient compared to conventional wells”
    I had to stop reading at this point, the gas industry has been fracking wells for decades, as a summer student in 1980 I worked for a well service company and racked and hammered pipe for 100’s of well fracs, sometimes up to 4 a day in shallow gas fields. Might still have a t-shirt emblazoned with “Pumpers frac tight holes better” on it. There’s no shortage of gas for making fertilizer here, just the usual enviro nut tripe promoting a damned if you do, damned if you don’t Malthusian crash.

  11. Sissyfuss on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 12:19 pm 

    Thank you, Jawboner for reassuring us that infinite growth on a finite planet is both possible and desired. I can stop fretting now.

  12. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 3:23 pm 

    Now the Dutch are in on the money grubbing liberal grant money hoax scheme – figures.

    The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

    “Mr. Ovink is the country’s globe-trotting salesman in chief for Dutch expertise on rising water and climate change. Like cheese in France or cars in Germany, climate change is a business in the Netherlands. Month in, month out, delegations from as far away as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, New York and New Orleans make the rounds in the port city of Rotterdam. They often end up hiring Dutch firms, which dominate the global market in high-tech engineering and water management.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html?_r=0

  13. onlooker on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 3:39 pm 

    Yep, the business of Hope is the most profitable of them all
    Or as said in the Matrix “Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.”

  14. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 3:50 pm 

    The current warming has reached 1.2C above the 1880 baseline. For the rest of this century the estimates range from a min of 3C above that base line to 7C. Many claim 3-4 C by mid century. A few “above average” high temperature days then will be enough to wipe out entire grain harvests. The plant proteins will denature and the plants will be all but useless as a food source. Synthetic nitrogen use or the old fashioned way – neither will matter. “Crops” are just another organism that evolved under a set of conditions and can only range so far from them before going extinct.

  15. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 3:58 pm 

    If you want to know what climate change feels like, you’re going to find out this summer

    On Tuesday, some parts of the Midwest and Northeast saw temperatures 20 degrees above the historical average.

    https://thinkprogress.org/heat-wave-delivers-record-breaking-highs-8640ec9dc2a

  16. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:41 pm 

    Toronto under heat warning for 2nd day amid record-setting temperatures

    ” Toronto has opened up several cooling centres to help people cope with the heat.

    Here is where they are located:

    Metro Hall, 55 John St. (24 hours)
    East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane St. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    McGregor Community Centre, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
    Centennial Community Centre, 1967 Ellesmere Rd. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

    http://www.cp24.com/weather/toronto-under-heat-warning-for-2nd-day-amid-record-setting-temperatures-1.3454185

    Cooling centers. We’re all normal here. In a decade or two, if there is still civilization, the little humans will need to wear a space suit to walk to school.

  17. onlooker on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:41 pm 

    https://robertscribbler.com/2014/01/21/awakening-the-horrors-of-the-ancient-hothouse-hydrogen-sulfide-in-the-worlds-warming-oceans/
    Awakening the Horrors of the Ancient Hothouse — Hydrogen Sulfide in the World’s Warming Oceans

  18. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:46 pm 

    Monday heat breaks temperature records across southern Ontario

    http://www.citynews.ca/2017/06/12/monday-heat-breaks-temperature-records-across-southern-ontario/

  19. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:48 pm 

    Record hot weather scorches zone from Washington to Boston/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/06/13/sweltering-heat-from-washington-to-boston-records-falling/

  20. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:51 pm 

    Record-Breaking Heat Hits Southern California

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/06/15/heat-wave-southern-california-2/

  21. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 4:52 pm 

    What to know, how to stay safe in record-setting Phoenix heat

    http://www.12news.com/weather/heat/what-to-know-how-to-stay-safe-in-record-setting-phoenix-heat/449346441

  22. You Don't Want to Know Me on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 5:48 pm 

    Meanwhile we’re having record winds and rain here in FUCKING JUNE up here in the PNW.

    My garden is taking a beating. Our ancestors are not going to have a very stable environment for growing their food.
    Blossoms getting blown off fruit trees.

    I’ve been growing my own food for decades and I’m here to tell you all, yes… the climate is changing and so is the weather, even though they’re not the same thing.

  23. You Don't Want to Know Me on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 5:49 pm 

    And WTF happened to Cloggie – shouldn’t he have posted twenty fucking responses by now? Dude ain’t earning his paycheck.

  24. makati1 on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 6:22 pm 

    Ap, Maybe a few million American climate change deniers will suffer heat stroke and begin to think about what they are doing to the ecosystem. It is too late to stop or even mitigate what is coming, but it might slow it down.

    I think Americans are in for a very bad 2nd half of 2017 in many ways. Heat is also good for short tempers and riots. High utility bills and excessive deaths are also going to strain the system. But, they are good for the GDP hype.

  25. DerHundistlos on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:14 pm 

    The following “words of wisdom” spoken by Republican Missouri Representative Mike Moon as he decapitates a chicken then tears out its still beating heart:

    “God gave us man dominion over life,” he said. “He allows us to raise animals properly and care for them and then process them for food so we can sustain life. And that’s what I’m doing here with this chicken. So we’ve been called back to this special session for the primary purpose of supporting life, protecting the unborn specifically. I think we need to get to the heart of the matter here. So today, I’m filing a bill that will lead to the stopping of abortion in the state of Missouri and I hope you’ll support it.”

  26. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:44 pm 

    The Rains of Antarctica are Coming — Warm Summer Storms Melted Texas-Sized Section of Ross Ice Shelf Surface During 2016

    https://robertscribbler.com/2017/06/15/the-rains-of-antarctica-are-coming-warm-summer-storms-melted-texas-sized-section-of-ross-ice-shelf-surface-during-2016/

  27. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 7:58 pm 

    You Don’t Want to Know Me, I have long listened to the folks who grow food stuffs and flowers and plants and need to know patterns, seasons and such. Well before instrumentation measuring devices were invented farmers were among the most knowledgeable regarding the seasons and all based on their powers of observations. Some wrote their observations down and it has been used by scientists and much confirmed with chemistry and dendrochronology et al.

    I have often heard similar statements like yours

    “the climate is changing and so is the weather, even though they’re not the same thing.”

    Usually it’s shorter like ‘weather and climate are not the same thing.’

    And like you it’s left at that with no further explanation as if that statement is supposed to reveal some magic to every one.

    ‘weather and climate are not the same thing.’

    So? Did someone say they were? Who? Show me. Did a thousand climate scientists claim that to try and fool y’all?

    It’s a denier meme.

    So, ‘weather and climate are not the same thing.’ Care to expand on that? What’s the significance of it? Why bring it up?

    What’s the point?

  28. Anonymous on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 8:02 pm 

    shouldn’t we already be in doom? Where is the TOD writer followup? At this point it is approaching irrationality from the doomers.

  29. DerHundistlos on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 8:10 pm 

    Jaws says he stopped reading the article.

    This statement nicely summarizes why his comment is stupidity at its finest.

    p.s. thanks for sharing your t-shirt wording, although what a pity it’s lost- can’t wait to get a facsimile for myself.

  30. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 8:28 pm 

    US Shale oil the biggest joke ever

    http://imgur.com/a/l9DPR#1reiImJ

  31. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 8:32 pm 

    Anonymous noony, there are no signs of major decline leading towards collapse at all and in no way has America turned into a dystopian security state. Everything is AWESOME.

    Incarceration Is Skyrocketing in Rural America

    https://www.wired.com/story/why-incarceration-is-skyrocketing-in-rural-america/

  32. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 8:37 pm 

    Home sales across Canada register biggest monthly decline in nearly 5 year

    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/business-news/home-sales-across-canada-register-biggest-monthly-decline-in-nearly-5-years/

    Canadian household debt hits another record in fourth quarter

    Fuelled by mortgages and low interest rates, the amount we owe has been climbing steadily in recent years.

    https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/03/15/canadian-household-debt-hits-another-record-in-fourth-quarter.html

    That’s always a good combination.

  33. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 9:38 pm 

    Nony, sorry about the paywall, but the title says it all.

    Percentage of Young Americans Living With Parents Rises to 75-Year High
    Household formations by millennials lag behind other economic recoveries; high rents, mortgage standards cited

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/percentage-of-young-americans-living-with-parents-rises-to-75-year-high-1482316203

    These fuck tards like to play the scratch their heads game. Can’t figure it out because, ‘gosh darn it the economy is so awesome N all why move back home?’ ‘Must be some new kinds Millennial disease or sumthin, because it can’t be the economy.’ No no no. Nony, you are a lot like these Rupert Murdock puppets pretending to be reporter when the truth is their entire lives are spent propping up an ultra wealthy old white assholes version of reality. Ha ha. K to 12 then 5 years in university – a life time of preparation to end up as a paid carnival barker for one of the biggest egos to have ever graced the planet.

  34. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 9:43 pm 

    Record Heat Brings First Serious Air Pollution Episode of 2017 to Northeast, Midwest

    “Hundreds of premature deaths likely from this week’s air pollution

    Death certificates never list air pollution as the cause of death. Nevertheless, air pollution is a huge and silent killer: between 91,000 and 100,000 air pollution deaths per year occur in the U.S., according to separate studies done in 2016 by the World Bank and the Health Effects Institute (a U.S. non-profit corporation funded by the EPA and the auto industry). Air pollution deaths are calculated using epidemiological studies, which correlate death rates with air pollution levels. Air pollution has been proven to increase the incidence of death due to stroke, heart attack and lung disease. Since these causes of death are also due to other factors—such as lifestyle and family history—we typically refer to air pollution deaths as premature deaths. A premature air pollution-related death typically occurs about twelve years earlier than it otherwise might have, according to Caiazzo et al., 2013.

    Approximately 12,000 of these premature U.S. air pollution deaths each year are from high ozone. Since this week’s high ozone levels are affecting a very large population of tens of millions of people, I expect that the death toll from ozone air pollution this week will be several hundred people.”

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/record-heat-brings-first-serious-air-pollution-episode-2017-northeast-midwest

  35. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 9:53 pm 

    A New Record for Global Pollution

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-14/a-new-record-for-global-pollution-chart

    I am just so proud to be part of a record breaking CANCER species.

  36. makati1 on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 10:07 pm 

    And the U$ Summer is only beginning…

  37. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 10:33 pm 

    What happens to a cancer when it stops consuming? It dies, therefore it will continue to consume & infect any and all healthy tissue it is able to.

    Marine expert warns of climate emergency as fish abandon tropical waters

    “The depth, the distance from the coast, all of these were factors which protected fish. Now we go everywhere … now nothing protects the fish,”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/15/marine-expert-warns-of-climate-emergency-as-fish-abandon-tropical-waters

    No worries, it’s another Commie grant money scheme. Everyone knows fish are abiotic and enter the oceans fully formed through big cracks at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Fish away and keep me in 97 cent cans of tuna forever. They should drop a couple a nukes into the Marianas Trench – widen the cracks and release more fish.

  38. Apneaman on Thu, 15th Jun 2017 11:57 pm 

    And the retard of the day award goes to…… 16.4 million Americans.

    Study finds surprising number of Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows

    “According to a recent survey, seven percent of Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

    The survey was conducted by the Innovation Center of US Dairy.

    In April. 1,000 adults 18 and over were asked questions about the role milk plays in their daily lives, Food & Wine reported.

    The study found 48% of respondents weren’t sure where chocolate milk came from. Seven percent thought chocolate milk only comes from brown cows.

    That adds up to about 16.4 million people, more than the population of Ohio.”

    http://nbc4i.com/2017/06/15/study-finds-surprising-number-of-americans-think-chocolate-milk-comes-from-brown-cows/

    OMG, I laughed so hard when I read this that milk came shooting out of my nose.

  39. Cloggie on Fri, 16th Jun 2017 1:49 am 

    https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jun/13/oliver-stone-vladimir-putin-russian-people-never-been-better-off

    Oliver Stone on Vladimir Putin: ‘The Russian people have never been better off’

    That’s because the Russians have a leadership that operates in the interest of the Russian people rather than the interest of the Soros types, like in the US and vassal Europe.

    Oliver Stone’s career in the US may be over after this assessment, but the liberation of the European Americans of the Heartland isn’t very far away.

    https://lewrockwell.com/2017/06/no_author/there-will-be-blood-2/

    There will be blood

    #FourthTurning
    #WhiteLivesMatter

    https://lewrockwell.com/2017/06/no_author/germany-austria-denounce-us-aggression/

    Germany, Austria Hit Out at US Over New Anti-Russian Sanctions

    #OverLordNoMore

    2017

    1. USA
    2. EU
    3. China

    1939

    1. Europe
    2. USA
    3. USSR

    See the parallels?

  40. Cloggie on Fri, 16th Jun 2017 2:25 am 

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4609330/Let-s-overthrow-Tories-blasts-McDonnell.html

    Let’s overthrow the Tories, blasts McDonnell: Marxist shadow chancellor ignores Labour’s defeat and urges union militants to march on Parliament

    US + UK: nowhere in the white world is the left more tempted to go for violent anti-democratic Bolshevism than in the US and UK.

    Orwell – Oceania – Big Brother – Anglosphere – 1984 – Gulag – Judaic State

    http://assets4.bigthink.com/system/idea_thumbnails/21115/primary/George_Orwell_map.jpg?1469219803

    It is either Orwell’s map or this map:

    https://s17.postimg.org/6wwnomfpb/worldmap.jpg

    Tertium non datur.

    You Don’t Want to Know Me, I have long listened to the folks who grow food stuffs and flowers and plants and need to know patterns, seasons and such.

    Apneaman talking to himself.

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.560128

  41. Davy on Fri, 16th Jun 2017 4:06 am 

    What happens in China happens globally. No major economy is immune to the risks forming with China’s debt bubble. The “so called” recovery has been recently almost totally a China bubble effect. Huge amounts of credit have been generated in China to maintain the global credit impulse. The one place the US fed lacks influence is in China. China’s financial system is still internally controlled and insular.

    This China instability points to a global downturn and the unknowns thereof. We just don’t know how the global economy will behave in the new normal in a real recession or depression. These are different times with elevated “bubble” equity markets and massive debt everywhere. All forecast we see daily of development whether it be renewables are oil will be directly influenced by this situation. The next financial collapse looks to be Chinese.

    “Kyle Bass: “China’s Credit Bubble Metastasizing”, Still Short The Yuan”
    http://tinyurl.com/yba86cqm
    “Hayman Capital’s Kyle Bass made a brief media appearance today, when he confirmed to Reuters that unlike some other “China tourist bears”, he remains staunchly negative on China, saying he is still short the Yuan because problems from China’s credit bubble are “metastasizing. Speaking to Reuters’ Jennifer Aboan, Bass said that “what the public narrative is and what they have been doing behind the scenes are two completely different stories,” and added that “China has been masterful controlling the public narrative. As a fiduciary, I have no idea how anyone can invest in China.”

    “Going back to the original “bear” thsis, Bass also said he believes that non-performing loans at Chinese financial institutions are currently approximately 20%, not the 1.7% rate that has been widely reported. “14.85 trillion is more than all of the equity in the entire banking system,” he said. “The Chinese have masterfully swept all of this under the rug.”

    “Bass said. “I don’t know how they can hold this all together. The numbers are telling me that we are right. The numbers are getting so bad so quickly. Finally, a couple other things Bass should have thrown in the mix are the recent reemergence of China’s “ghost collateral” as a major risk factor, one which as Reuters framed, “lax lending practices and overvalued collateral spurred the U.S. financial crisis in 2008. Now, banks in China face risks of their own as fraudulent borrowers and corrupt bankers burden the financial system with loans lacking genuine collateral.” There is also the recent, rapid rise in interest rates which as explained last night, has led to a record plunge in net corporate bond financing, as companies find it increasingly difficult to issue new and rollover existing debt, especially that maturing in under one year.”

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