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Maintaining Doubt

by on February 27, 2013

Maintaining Doubt

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/feeding-ourselves-on-a-warming-planet/#more-155975

We will talk a bit more about this very briefly Friday, but this is a good example of how doubt lingers and is used to foster uncertainty.

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2 Comments
  1. chapinlevans permalink

    I actually listened to a TED talks Podcast today about a food engineer named Fahad Al-Attiya from Qatar. I can’t remember if his official position was food engineer, but he was responsible for monitoring the water and food supply for the country. In the 40’s nearly no parts of Qatar were modernized. However, Qatar’s economy has been increasing 15% (yes 15% per year) and the cities are becoming much larger and using twice as much water as before. Fahad Al-Attiya has aspirations for the capital to become as great as some of the famous cities in the world such as Egypt and Rome. However, he realizes that – as the article “Feeding Ourselves” also states – as the cities modernize, their demands increase. Qatar is currently using water and solar energy to counteract this demand.
    For a place such as Qatar, the climate change in “Feeding Ourselves” may effect them and hinder their progress more than other areas because of the way their climate is already. It is troublesome for areas such as that, who already have very hot temperatures and rely on agriculture so much. The TED talk was very short and didn’t go into detail about the types of water and solar energy that Qatar is using, but in order to feed the amount of growth that is increasing every year, those developments – especially in less fortunate countries – is very noteworthy and important.

  2. I think the global food supply is very important to consider in terms of climate change because it is threatened by it. I’m doing a paper for another class focusing on the relationship between rice paddies and climate change. In my research, I found that the relationship is more complex than I had originally anticipated (as is usually the case). Rice paddies (or the type of rice agriculture in which the fields are flooded with water) are a major source of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas. Climate change also has an impact on rice agriculture – rising carbon dioxide levels exacerbate the process by which methanogens in the soil absorb the carbon taken up by the plants, creating methane, which is released through the soil. So levels of methane emitted from rice paddies are increasing but rising temperatures have been decreasing rice yields. Rice is a staple food and an important part of culture in many Asian countries, especially developing countries. This could have a detrimental effect on food security globally and within these countries that depend on rice. It is interesting that many cling to earlier research saying that climate change won’t have a great negative impact on agriculture. Many people don’t think of food issues as resulting from climate change, but climate change does seem to pose a greater threat than originally anticipated. Maybe there is much doubt because mostly developing countries will see the greater impact of climate change on agriculture and food security first and to a greater degree than developed countries. For example, the Sahel crisis in Africa brought about mainly by a drought that led to unsuccessful harvests coupled with a volatile political climate put several million people at risk for hunger and malnutrition. What does it take for people to realize the potential effects of climate change, especially its effects on agriculture? It’s interesting how information and research is picked and chosen to justify not doing much, but at the same time a great deal of research exists that should move us forward in some type of action.

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