Peak Food in the Goole – Howden Courier

January 31, 2008 · Filed Under Peak Food in the News · 5 Comments 

This week the Goole – Howden Courier printed a story about Peakfood, John Gossop and his book, Famine in the West:

FEARING for a future famine is Swinefleet Common farmer John Gossop.

John (62), who has farmed vegetables and wheat for 40 years, believes that by 2025 the western world will face a severe food shortage as it becomes more dependent on oil and gas.

And such is his worry that he has put his thoughts on paper and penned a book entitled Famine In The West. John told the Courier: “I became concerned that the farming system was dependant on oil and gas which themselves are becoming more unreliable in the last five to six years. If we were without oil and gas then we would be without food. “Climate change is causing droughts and floods, the population is increasing and all this will eventually cause tremendous food shortages.”

He said: “In the book I’ve used 2025 as an example of when we really might see the problems – by then we will have a population of eight billion compared to six billion now. We could be looking at considerable shortages by then.

“When we come to next year’s harvest the carry over stocks will be lower than ever before and if we have droughts caused by climate change, such as in America, we could be in trouble straight away.” The book, which took four to five months to put together, aims to raise awareness about the problems so solutions can be found. “One way would be the introduction of a heavy carbon tax instead of income tax to try and drive innovation so people find ways of using less oil and gas,” he added. Copies of Famine in the West, priced at £6.49 plus £1.49 postage and packing are available on 01430 410521. John has also set up the web site

Water Shortages and Peak Food

January 27, 2008 · Filed Under Threats to Food Supply · Comment 

In The Australian Klaus Schwab and Peter Brabeck said about the coming water shortage,

“The world is on the verge of a water crisis. As the global economy and the world’s population continue to expand, we are becoming a much thirstier planet. It is important to realise just how much water we need to make the various aspects of our economy work.

“Every litre of petrol requires up to 2.5 litres of water to produce it. On average, crops grown for their bio-energy need at least 1000 litres of water to make one litre of biofuel. It takes about 2700 litres of water to make one cotton T-shirt, up to 4000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of wheat and up to 16,000 litres to produce 1 kg of beef…

“…Along the Colorado, the Indus, the Murray Darling, the Mekong, the Nile or within the North China Plain, for example, do we use the scarce water for food, for fuel, for people and cities, or for industrial growth? How much of the upstream river can we really dam? How do we figure out ways for every actor in the economy to get the water they need to meet their human, economic and cultural aspirations? And can we ensure that the environment is not wrecked but can flourish in the process?

“These are tough questions. And unlike carbon reduction, there is no alternative, no substitute to promote. Nor is there a global solution to negotiate. Turning off your tap in Vancouver or Berlin will not ease the drought in Rajasthan or Australia…

“…Climate change will create this situation more quickly and make it worse. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says that if global average temperature rises by 3C, hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to increased water stress. It provides the wake-up call we all need to start acting on water.

“…We can see this crisis unfolding during the next few years. A perfect storm is approaching. And all this sits on top of today’s morally indefensible situation where 20 per cent of the world’s population is without access to improved water supply…”

Will Nuclear Fusion prevent Food Shortages?

January 26, 2008 · Filed Under solutions · Comment 

Nuclear Fusion possibly may prevent food shortages in the future.  It is the way the sun is powered. It is the fusion of the nuclei of light elements, such as hydrogen and its isotopes. Nuclear fission – in contrast –  which is used in today’s nuclear power stations and provides the explosive force of nuclear weapons, uses the energy released when the large atoms of elements such as thorium, uranium and plutonium are split apart.

Nuclear fusion has long been thought of as the ultimate clean and everlasting source of energy, and one day it may prove to be that, but there seems little chance of it being developed and providing the bulk of the worlds’ energy needs within 40-50 years by which time we will have a planet severely damaged by the burning of the remaining fossil fuels in the world and the resulting emissions of greenhouse gasses.

The problem is that to cause hydrogen atoms to fuse, they need to be heated to over 150 million degrees and although progress has been made, it seems that we are still several years away from a working fusion reactor. When this is achieved, it will take many more years to perfect a commercial reactor and then a massive building programme before anything more than a small proportion of our power needs are met this way.

That time scale could possibly be changed if the public and governments became truly aware of the disaster we face as we burn the remaining fossil fuels, causing pollution of the atmosphere and depletion and scarcity of the fuels.

Peak Food believes an international development programme with wartime urgency and speed is needed to bring nuclear fusion to fruition in time to make a difference.  What do you think?

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