I heard yesterday on BBC Radio 4 a report that by a world food organisation that by 2030 the world population will have grown 40% and that by 2050 it will have doubled. In short, this means that we will have to double our food production within 40 years!
Given that land resources are already under pressure (and reducing with global warming!) and that water is already a scare commodity in many parts of the world; How are we going to feed everyone?
The GM Food industry must be clapping their hands and my fear is that we are going to see another decision forced upon us because of our inaction, just as we are now facing with the debate over nuclear power.
If we do nothing we may have no choice but to use GM systems to increase food production and to free up previously unusable land for crop production – bugger the consequences because the down side of not doing anything is mass famine and deaths.
We must Act Now, otherwise we may have no choice!
I have just returned from a fantastic trip in Mexico and so have been off line for some time. The trip started in Mexico City where I was asked to give lecture to a real estate conference (ADI), then onto Valle de Bravo for a weekend break with an architect friend and then finally to a place called Troncones, near Zihautanejo on the Pacific Coast. We stayed at a Yoga retreat called Present Moment and I achieved a form of spiritual elevation whilst contemplating the sound of the wind in the palms and crash of waves on the beach. Fantastic and recommended.
Whilst I was basking in the luxury of my anti-oxidants, down the road people were living very different lives; ramshackle homes, broken windows and broken down cars. Now I am not saying they are not happy (I actually did not ask them), but they certainly lived very simple lives without the accoutrements of modern comfortable life that we all expect – cars, dishwashers, washing machines, toasters etc.
And so this is where the battle against climate change will be won or lost. According to a UN report, the world population will increase by 2.5bn over the next 43 years to 9.2bn. Much of this increase will be absorbed by less developed regions like Mexico. In turn this will lead to a pent up demand for growth, more washing machines and more power leading to an exponential rise in CO2 emissions.
I guess we are lucky that the developed nations are remaining steady in population for they emit almost 10 times more CO2 than people in Mexico, but we are faced with a massive challenge non-the-less. How do we allow these new growth centres to improve their way of life without incurring devastating carbon emissions that we all are responsible for?
For me this problem goes to the heart of the offset debate. If we, in the developed world, do not support these less well off people then they will follow our well trodden route of climate pollution and we will find ourselves in even worse shape than we do now.
In short this means an injection of financial and knowledge capital to ensure that they use only low carbon technologies. This is called carbon Offsetting or if you prefer a carbon tax ( except you chose where to spend it). There seems to be no other solution, am I right?
April 14th 2009