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Resource Insecurity

Food Insecurity

Alt cause – Rising fuel prices will collapse food security


HSNW, 7-2, - [Homeland Security News Wire, Homeland security industry’s largest daily news publication online, 7-2-2015, Rising fossil fuel energy costs risk global food security http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20150702-rising-fossil-fuel-energy-costs-risk-global-food-security] Jeong

Ongoing efforts to feed a growing global population are threatened by rising fossil-fuel energy costs and breakdowns in transportation infrastructure. Without new ways to preserve, store, and transport food products, the likelihood of shortages looms in the future. In an analysis of food preservation and transportation trends published in this week’s issue of the journal BioScience, scientists warn that new sustainable technologies will be needed for humanity just to stay even in the arms race against the microorganisms that can rapidly spoil the outputs of the modern food system. “It is mostly a race between the capacity of microbe populations to grow on human foodstuffs and evolve adaptations to changing conditions and the capacity of humans to come up with new technologies for preserving, storing, and transporting food,” wrote lead author Sean T. Hammond, a postdoctoral researcher and interdisciplinary ecologist in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. OSU reports that Hammond developed the analysis with colleagues at the University of New Mexico, Arizona State University, and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos in Mexico. The authors note that increased energy use in food-preservation systems does not always prolong shelf life. For example, drying and canning tend to use less energy than freezing, which requires ongoing energy consumption. Moreover, as cities expand and food is produced by fewer people, dependence grows on fossil-fuel transportation systems. The cargo ships, trucks and trains that carry most of the world’s food run almost exclusively on oil.Getting food from the field to your table is a matter of production, storage and transportation,” said Hammond. “It sounds trivial to say that, but if there’s a problem with any of those – a drought, problems with roads or problems keeping foods cool and dry for storage during transport – the system breaks down and people starve. “More people moving to cities means there are fewer people working to produce food, which means we need to use more energy in the form of machinery to grow and harvest things,” Hammond noted. “Problems with bridges, rail and port infrastructure increase the time needed to transport food and lead to even more energy needed to keep food from spoiling while it is transported.” Technological advances in preservation and transportation systems have improved the diversity and nutritional qualities of food over what was available to pre-industrial societies. Nevertheless, it’s been estimated that up to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is lost or wasted. The estimate is lower in developing countries, about 10 percent, due to different diets and cultural norms. In their analysis, Hammond and his colleagues considered the growth of microorganisms on food products as temperatures increase in storage; the shelf life of foods such as fish, potatoes, strawberries and wheat; the amounts of energy used in preservation methods; and historical advances in the transportation of different foodstuffs. “As humans push up against the limits of the finite Earth,” they wrote, “food security is a major concern.” To meet future needs, decreasing numbers of farmers, ranchers and fishermen will need to become more efficient and productive. In short, they will need to produce more food per acre and use less fossil-fuel energy, Hammond and his co-authors write. Innovations that use other energy sources will be required in preservation, storage and transportation systems. The issue is particularly acute in tropical areas where higher average temperatures and humidity translate into faster rates of food spoilage than in temperate climates. “We can transport any food, even foods that spoil quickly like fish or fruits, to any point on the surface of the planet before it goes bad,” Hammond said. “That’s pretty amazing, but I think we need to question whether we should. Maybe the local-food movement is less of a trend in modern society and more of a necessity.”

Squo solves Food Insecurity


International Food Policy Research Institute 14 ["Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies", 2/12/14, reliefweb.int/report/world/food-security-world-natural-resource-scarcity-role-agricultural-technologies] // SKY

Increased demand for food due to population and income growth and the impacts of climate change on agriculture will ratchet up the pressure for increased and more sustainable agricultural production to feed the planet. A new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) measures the impacts of agricultural innovation on farm productivity, prices, hunger, and trade flows as we approach 2050 and identifies practices which could significantly benefit developing nations. The book, Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies, released today, examines 11 agricultural practices and technologies and how they could help farmers around the world improve the sustainability of growing three of the world’s main staple crops – maize, rice, and wheat. Using a first-of-its-kind data model, IFPRI pinpoints the agricultural technologies and practices that can most significantly reduce food prices and food insecurity in developing nations. The study profiles 11 agricultural innovations: crop protection, drip irrigation, drought tolerance, heat tolerance, integrated soil fertility management, no-till farming, nutrient use efficiency, organic agriculture, precision agriculture, sprinkler irrigation, and water harvesting. Findings from the book indicate: No-till farming alone could increase maize yields by 20 percent, but also irrigating the same no-till fields could increase maize yields by 67 percent in 2050. Nitrogen-use efficiency could increase rice crop yields by 22 percent, but irrigation increased the yields by another 21 percent. Heat-tolerant varieties of wheat could increase crop yields from a 17 percent increase to a 23 percent increase with irrigation. Yet, no single silver bullet exists. “The reality is that no single agricultural technology or farming practice will provide sufficient food for the world in 2050,” said Mark Rosegrant, lead author of the book and director of IFPRI’s Environment and Production Technology Division. “Instead we must advocate for and utilize a range of these technologies in order to maximize yields.” However, it is realistic to assume that farmers in the developing world and elsewhere would adopt a combination of technologies as they become more widely available. If farmers were to stack agricultural technologies in order of crop production schedules, the combination of agricultural technologies and practices could reduce food prices by up to 49 percent for maize, up to 43 percent for rice, and 45 percent for wheat due to increased crop productivity. The technologies with the highest percentage of potential impact for agriculture in developing countries include no-till farming, nitrogen-use efficiency, heat-tolerant crops, and crop protection from weeds, insects, and diseases. The anticipated negative effects of climate change on agricultural productivity as well as projected population growth by 2050, suggest that food insecurity and food prices will increase. For example, climate change could decrease maize yields by as much as 18 percent by 2050–making it even more difficult to feed the world if farmers cannot adopt agricultural technologies that could help boost food production in their regions. “One of the most significant barriers to global food security is the high cost of food in developing countries,” Rosegrant explained. “Agricultural technologies used in combinations tailored to the crops grown and regional differences could make more food more affordable – especially for those at risk of hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.” However, based on current projections, stacked technologies could reduce food insecurity by as much as 36 percent. Making this a reality, however, depends on farmers gaining access to these technologies and learning how to use them. This underscores the need for improved agricultural education to ensure that farmers are able to use the best available technologies for their region and resources. IFPRI highlights three key areas for investments prioritizing effective technology use: Increasing crop productivity through enhanced investment in agricultural research Developing and using resource-conserving agricultural management practices such as no-till farming, integrated soil fertility management, improved crop protection, and precision agriculture Increasing investment in irrigation

Resource Insecurity

No resource scarcity – technology solves


Ridley 14 [Matt, "The World's Resources Aren't Running Out", 4/25/14, The Wall Street Journal, www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304279904579517862612287156] // SKY

How many times have you heard that we humans are "using up" the world's resources, "running out" of oil, "reaching the limits" of the atmosphere's capacity to cope with pollution or "approaching the carrying capacity" of the land's ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff—metals, oil, clean air, land—and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption. "We are using 50% more resources than the Earth can sustainably produce, and unless we change course, that number will grow fast—by 2030, even two planets will not be enough," says Jim Leape, director general of the World Wide Fund for Nature International (formerly the World Wildlife Fund). But here's a peculiar feature of human history: We burst through such limits again and again. After all, as a Saudi oil minister once said, the Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone. Ecologists call this "niche construction"—that people (and indeed some other animals) can create new opportunities for themselves by making their habitats more productive in some way. Agriculture is the classic example of niche construction: We stopped relying on nature's bounty and substituted an artificial and much larger bounty. Economists call the same phenomenon innovation. What frustrates them about ecologists is the latter's tendency to think in terms of static limits. Ecologists can't seem to see that when whale oil starts to run out, petroleum is discovered, or that when farm yields flatten, fertilizer comes along, or that when glass fiber is invented, demand for copper falls. That frustration is heartily reciprocated. Ecologists think that economists espouse a sort of superstitious magic called "markets" or "prices" to avoid confronting the reality of limits to growth. The easiest way to raise a cheer in a conference of ecologists is to make a rude joke about economists. I have lived among both tribes. I studied various forms of ecology in an academic setting for seven years and then worked at the Economist magazine for eight years. When I was an ecologist (in the academic sense of the word, not the political one, though I also had antinuclear stickers on my car), I very much espoused the carrying-capacity viewpoint—that there were limits to growth. I nowadays lean to the view that there are no limits because we can invent new ways of doing more with less. This disagreement goes to the heart of many current political issues and explains much about why people disagree about environmental policy. In the climate debate, for example, pessimists see a limit to the atmosphere's capacity to cope with extra carbon dioxide without rapid warming. So a continuing increase in emissions if economic growth continues will eventually accelerate warming to dangerous rates. But optimists see economic growth leading to technological change that would result in the use of lower-carbon energy. That would allow warming to level off long before it does much harm. It is striking, for example, that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent forecast that temperatures would rise by 3.7 to 4.8 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels by 2100 was based on several assumptions: little technological change, an end to the 50-year fall in population growth rates, a tripling (only) of per capita income and not much improvement in the energy efficiency of the economy. Basically, that would mean a world much like today's but with lots more people burning lots more coal and oil, leading to an increase in emissions. Most economists expect a five- or tenfold increase in income, huge changes in technology and an end to population growth by 2100: not so many more people needing much less carbon. In 1679, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the great Dutch microscopist, estimated that the planet could hold 13.4 billion people, a number that most demographers think we may never reach. Since then, estimates have bounced around between 1 billion and 100 billion, with no sign of converging on an agreed figure. Economists point out that we keep improving the productivity of each acre of land by applying fertilizer, mechanization, pesticides and irrigation. Further innovation is bound to shift the ceiling upward. Jesse Ausubel at Rockefeller University calculates that the amount of land required to grow a given quantity of food has fallen by 65% over the past 50 years, world-wide. Ecologists object that these innovations rely on nonrenewable resources, such as oil and gas, or renewable ones that are being used up faster than they are replenished, such as aquifers. So current yields cannot be maintained, let alone improved. In his recent book "The View from Lazy Point," the ecologist Carl Safina estimates that if everybody had the living standards of Americans, we would need 2.5 Earths because the world's agricultural land just couldn't grow enough food for more than 2.5 billion people at that level of consumption. Harvard emeritus professor E.O. Wilson, one of ecology's patriarchs, reckoned that only if we all turned vegetarian could the world's farms grow enough food to support 10 billion people. Economists respond by saying that since large parts of the world, especially in Africa, have yet to gain access to fertilizer and modern farming techniques, there is no reason to think that the global land requirements for a given amount of food will cease shrinking any time soon. Indeed, Mr. Ausubel, together with his colleagues Iddo Wernick and Paul Waggoner, came to the startling conclusion that, even with generous assumptions about population growth and growing affluence leading to greater demand for meat and other luxuries, and with ungenerous assumptions about future global yield improvements, we will need less farmland in 2050 than we needed in 2000. (So long, that is, as we don't grow more biofuels on land that could be growing food.) But surely intensification of yields depends on inputs that may run out? Take water, a commodity that limits the production of food in many places. Estimates made in the 1960s and 1970s of water demand by the year 2000 proved grossly overestimated: The world used half as much water as experts had projected 30 years before. The reason was greater economy in the use of water by new irrigation techniques. Some countries, such as Israel and Cyprus, have cut water use for irrigation through the use of drip irrigation. Combine these improvements with solar-driven desalination of seawater world-wide, and it is highly unlikely that fresh water will limit human population. The best-selling book "Limits to Growth," published in 1972 by the Club of Rome (an influential global think tank), argued that we would have bumped our heads against all sorts of ceilings by now, running short of various metals, fuels, minerals and space. Why did it not happen? In a word, technology: better mining techniques, more frugal use of materials, and if scarcity causes price increases, substitution by cheaper material. We use 100 times thinner gold plating on computer connectors than we did 40 years ago. The steel content of cars and buildings keeps on falling. Until about 10 years ago, it was reasonable to expect that natural gas might run out in a few short decades and oil soon thereafter. If that were to happen, agricultural yields would plummet, and the world would be faced with a stark dilemma: Plow up all the remaining rain forest to grow food, or starve. But thanks to fracking and the shale revolution, peak oil and gas have been postponed. They will run out one day, but only in the sense that you will run out of Atlantic Ocean one day if you take a rowboat west out of a harbor in Ireland. Just as you are likely to stop rowing long before you bump into Newfoundland, so we may well find cheap substitutes for fossil fuels long before they run out.

Water Insecurity

Alt Cause

Water variability is the cause of water wars, not water scarcity.


Hendrix, 14 – [Cullen Hendrix, Associate professor of International Security and Democracy, 9-2-2014, Opportunity Costs: Evidence Suggests Variability, Not Scarcity, Primary Driver of Water Conflict, NewsSecurityBeat, http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/09/opportunity-costs-evidence-suggests-variability-scarcity-primary-driver-water-conflict/] Jeong

Nearly 1 billion people lack reliable access to clean drinking water today. A report by the Water Resources Group projects that by 2030 annual global freshwater needs will reach 6.9 trillion cubic meters – 64 percent more than the existing accessible, reliable, and sustainable supply. This forecast, while alarming, likely understates the magnitude of tomorrow’s water challenge, as it does not account for the impacts of climate change. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts an increase in total precipitation at the global level, regional patterns will vary significantly. Rainfall is projected to decline by more than 20 percent across North Africa, the Middle East, central Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Southern Africa, the eastern Amazon basin, and western Australia. The IPCC also forecasts a 90 percent likelihood that rainfall variability will increase, leading not only to more numerous dry spells, but also more extreme precipitation events and flooding. Water’s critical role in the survival of human life, combined with imminent changes in its relative abundance, has understandably generated concern that it will be a cause of future conflict. The prospect of conflict over water is most clear in river basins where surface freshwater is shared between two or more states. In these cases, water constitutes a common pool resource whose consumption is rival: Uganda’s increasing consumption of Nile waters necessarily leaves downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan with less. But contrary to popular belief, a new study by Colleen Devlin and I finds that water variability, rather than scarcity, may be the biggest climatic driver of interstate conflict. Trends and Triggers Devlin and I tested a range of water changes and their effects on conflict outcomes at the international level. Pushing beyond simple theories about resource-based conflict, we tested changing rainfall mean levels, variability, and acute scarcity (when pairs of countries face below-mean rainfall in a given year). Importantly, this research distinguishes between trends– longer-term mean states that may affect the baseline probability of conflict – and triggers – acute scarcity or abundance, that may affect the probability of conflict in the short run. It also explores how climatic factors may affect bargaining between states more generally, as opposed to just those interactions taking place over shared resources. We assessed whether rainfall scarcity has different effects at different time scales. For example, while over the long term more scarce rainfall may be associated with greater probability of conflict due to increasing resource strain, over the short term acute scarcity should have a pacifying effect due to states’ attention being diverted to addressing the economic and social effects of below-average rainfall. The same model yields the expectation that conflict will be more likely in pairs of countries characterized by higher variation in rainfall. Implicitly or explicitly, states form bargains over co-management of shared water resources. When precipitation in these countries is more variable, their withdrawal needs from the shared basin are as well. This variability complicates the creation of contracts governing shared use, making conflict more likely.

Squo solves – tech companies


Clark 14 [Pilita, "World Without Water: Six Solutions to a Shortage", ft. com, www.ft.com/cms/s/2/87064ea8-7a52-11e4-a8e1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3fugnnmL1] // SKY

The World Bank is planning to devote up to $5bn a year to try to fix it. Goldman Sachs says it poses a risk to economic growth. And Matt Damon, the actor, has tipped a bucket of toilet water over his head to bring attention to it. The problem is water — a vital resource that has long been poorly managed or taken for granted in much of the world and that has rising populations driving competition for supplies. The search for solutions to uneven and inadequate water supply has already led to improvements in irrigation, desalination and wastewater recycling, and is spurring development of innovative technologies such as waterless fracking in the energy industry and more water-saving devices at home. But the scale of the problem remains vast. There are already 2bn people living in countries with absolute water scarcity, according to the World Bank, which estimates the number will rise to 4.6bn by 2080. The dilemma is especially acute in China, India and other large emerging economies, which companies are relying on for future growth. Hence the growing attention of banks such as Goldman Sachs. These countries are also home to many of the 780m people who still lack readily available clean and safe drinking water, the predicament that charities such as Mr Damon’s Water.org are trying to highlight. As he said this year, just before being filmed dousing himself in toilet water: “For those of you who, like my wife, think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the west is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to.” Even in wealthier regions, the time may come when the idea of using fresh water for such a purpose will seem bizarre. In drought-stricken California, hundreds of people in East Porterville have had dry taps for months this year. People in Hong Kong have been flushing with seawater for decades as authorities try to preserve scarce fresh supplies. But poorer countries are still struggling to make such improvements. If only there was a way to, say, produce water from thin air. Or stop ­farmers, the biggest users of water, drenching fields with old-fashioned irrigation systems. Or ship water from a place like Iceland (population: 320,000) to somewhere like Iran (population: 76m), where officials think more than a third of the country’s 31 provinces may have to be evacuated because of water shortages over the next 20 years. These are just some of the ideas that are starting to make their way from drawing board to factory floor, as investors show more interest in ventures that preserve or enhance water supplies. “We are seeing the emergence of a surprising constellation of different types of investors, such as oil and gas companies, and very wealthy families ­putting their money into water technologies,” says Tom Whitehouse, chairman of the London Environmental Investment Forum, an advisory business that connects investors with new clean technologies. “There are huge water scarcity problems across the world which have to be solved and water is also becoming a strategic issue.” Energy companies are driving investment in treatment and desalination technologies, as they expand in regions with scarce supplies. They are among the biggest contributors to the $84bn that companies around the world have spent since 2011 to improve the way they obtain, manage or conserve water. Food and beverage groups are also spending more to cut their water use. In October, Nestlé unveiled a milk plant in Mexico it has spent more than $15m upgrading that it claims is the first of its kind: it does not need external water sources but recycles waste fluid extracted from milk when powdered. Domestically, the shower, the washing machine and the toilet are also being reinvented.
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