Posts tagged ‘club of rome’

Lester Brown is at it Again

I guess it is not surprising that Lester Brown continues to scream "famine" despite being wrong about global food shortages and agricultural collapse for forty years running.  What is amazing to me is that respectable journals like Scientific American still give the guy the time of day.  But here they are this month, giving Brown plenty of print space to repeat his warmed-over apocalyptic visions and manipulated data.  Ronald Bailey has the whole story.

One of Brown's problems is that he looks at food capacity  way too narrowly.   For example, a large amount of food growing capacity are currently used for fuel.  Farmers receive billions of dollars to divert huge portions of the world's crops from the food supply to motor fuel.  Should the world ever face a real food emergency, this capacity could quickly be freed up (as it should have been already) by elimination of ethanol and other biofuel mandates and subsidies.

Further, what Brown always seems to ignore is the fact that every year, the amount of farmland dedicated to growing crops is actually shrinking around the world.   Just as he doesn't look at the capacity that is diverted to the fuel supply as an effective food inventory that can be tapped, the same is true for millions of acres of farmland that, while by definition more marginal than current acreage, could again be pressed into service should the need arise.