Saturday, July 26, 2014

Signs Of Desperation

Meet India’s widows of climate change

Climate change may slowdown crop production in 20 years

(Have you noticed how often they make sure to push off the fruition of their doom and gloom predictions into the future? Trying to scare the naive youth, I suppose. Get the kids to put pressure on the older folks and protect themselves from embarrassment in the present.)

And how's this for desperate?

In Chicago, climate change brings maggots


Fortunately, there are a few bright lights out there:

Climate Change and Corn in North Dakota
"Over the past year-and-a-half, the mainstream media has taken note of increasing corn production in North Dakota since the early 2000s. And, of course, climate change is trotted out as the cause (i.e., the supposed warming is leading to more favorable growing conditions), but—as is far too often the case—much of the journalism is lacking a complete characterization of what is going on.

We can start with this quote from a story that appeared in The Bismarck Tribune last November:

According to studies by North Dakota State Climatologist and North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network Director Adnan Akyuz, the average annual temperature in North Dakota has increased by 0.27 degrees in the last 10 years. Because of the temperature increase, the length of the growing season has increased 17.5 days in the last century.

The average annual temperature in North Dakota most certainly has not increased by 0.27 degrees in the last 10 years. The regression between 2003 and 2012 is massively non-significant (p-value=0.9; almost a perfect non-correlation), and from 2004 to 2013 the correlation was actually negative (i.e., cooling) but still highly non-significant. In other words, there has been absolutely no trend in North Dakota’s average annual temperature over the past decade.


Here are some quotes from the media articles I’ve cited already that explain what is really going on:

  • “advancements in biotechnology and high corn prices are pushing the nation’s Corn Belt northward”

  • “hardier seeds are enabling farmers to grow corn in areas once deemed inhospitable to the crop”

  • “Corn prices are about double historical norms, driven by food demand in China and other fast-growing countries, as well as the rise of U.S. ethanol production. Farmer Steve Fritel planted more corn than wheat for the first time this spring. ‘Wheat is profitable; corn is just more profitable,’ said the 58-year-old, who farms about 4,000 acres near Rugby with his son Brad.”

  • “Excluding labor and management costs, farmers here in north-central North Dakota will earn about $126 per acre in profit from corn this year, about double the expected return of $65 an acre for wheat, said Dwight Aakre, an extension economist at North Dakota State University.”
  • “Corn is a higher grossing crop than either soybeans or wheat. In 2008, corn created $464/acre of cropland, which is $95/acre more than the second highest crop in wheat, and $192/acre more than soybeans.”
  • “Researchers have developed corn varieties that mature faster and need less moisture, alleviating concern about the region’s relatively short growing season and variable precipitation.”

Now just remove the climate change related discussions surrounding these quotes in each story and we have a more accurate picture of what is happening with corn production in North Dakota."

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