Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Droughts No Match for Fossil-Fueled Industrial Agriculture

Global warming/climate change will cause human catastrophes across the globe, we are constantly told. One of the catastrophes awaiting mankind, as the NJ Star-Ledger authoritatively declared, is that "rain-fed agriculture could be devastated, creating food shortages and political chaos."

You would think that a major statewide news outlet would know a little about agricultural history and the recurring famines that, until very recently—historically speaking—plagued mankind on a regular basis.

Droughts have happened throughout history and in all regions of the world. Why don't droughts cause "food shortages and political chaos" in the industrial West? Because the West has industrial-scale agriculture with its advanced irrigation systems; relatively free markets that facilitate industrial-scale trade; industrial-scale transportation systems that can move mass quantities of food into drought-stricken regions from flourishing areas; and relatively strong property rights protections.

California is in the grip of an "epic" three-year drought. Are there food shortages and political upheaval? Of course not. Manageable problems, sure; even despite the heavy bureaucratic hand of government control of the water industry. But no apocalypse. Our supermarkets are burgeoning with food stuffs from all around the country and the world. Will isolated droughts here and there even put a dent in that supply? Hardly. Is climate change making the inevitable droughts worse, as some claim? If so, that's all the more reason not to follow the anti-carbon advice of the hysteria-mongers. (That California has been prone to multi-year droughts, some lasting decades and even centuries—long before man-made "carbon pollution"—mysteriously doesn't register with the climate catastrophe peddlers. But that is a discussion for another day.)
Why is climate change-induced drought not the not the threat it's alleged to be? Because all of this is powered by industrial-scale energy produced mainly by fossil fuels. Who in their right mind would want to return to the days when our food supply depended on primitive, "rain-fed agriculture?" That's what would happen if the environmentalist Left got its way, and destroyed the fossil fuel industry and replaced it with unreliable, expensive wind mills and solar panels.

The Star-Ledger laments that "Sadly, the people likely to suffer the most are the poor in developing countries, who did nothing to create the problem." That they did nothing to create the "problem" is exactly the problem—and why they're likely to "suffer the most."

The rise of the fossil fuel industry under capitalist free markets has wiped out the threat of famine throughout the fossil fueled industrial world. The same can be done for the third world sectors if they adopt political-economic liberty—i.e., capitalism—and embrace fossil fuel and other technologies that are capable of generating industrial scale energy. Godspeed to the fossil fuel industry—and keep it free from government regulatory and tax assault.

Related Reading:

The Fruits of Capitalism Are All Around Us—Ari Armstrong

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change: Remember Life Before Them

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