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Popcorn: More food for China; global warming hot air

More Chinese food

For the past two years agricultural experts and population central advocates have debated the question of “Who will feed China?”

Worldwatch President Lester Brown posed this question in his similarly titled book,1 and it was further spread by Brown in a series of newspaper and magazine articles as well as radio and television interviews. Brown even journeyed to China and Japan to confront those governments with his prediction that in the near future China will literally starve the rest of mankind when it would be forced to buy up all the world’s available grain in order to feed its own growing population. Brown was also in Rome last November, presenting his apocalyptic vision to the delegates assembled for the World Food Conference.

Central lo Brown’s thesis is his claim that Chinese grain production inevitably will decline sharply, a result of a shrinking cropland base, a spreading Water scarcity, and a loss of the lands’ productivity.

The Chinese farmer, however, isn’t buying Brown’s dire forecast. In each of the two years since Brown posed his question, China has set new all-time grain production records in its harvests of wheat, coarse grains (mostly corn), and rice. In the recent 1996 harvest, for instance, China’s grain production not only set new national records, but, in the case of both wheat and rice, the harvests were the greatest in history for any country in the world. (China’s coarse grain production, while a record for that country, ranks second to the United States, whose corn crop dwarfs that of any other nation.) Far from beginning the long decline envisioned by Brown, China’s grain output over the past two years actually increased by a shade under 10 percent.2

Moreover, agricultural experts take issue with Brown’s claims that China could be importing 200 million tons of grain yearly by 2030, “an amount equivalent to the total current annual global grain exports.” Harvard agricultural economist Robert Paarlberg, for instance, calls Brown an ‘“outsider among world food prognosticators.” While Brown predicts a 20 percent drop in Chinese grain production between now and 2030, Paarlberg pointedly noted that most experts “are expecting a 60% to 90% increase.”3

Perhaps it’s time for Lester Brown to take another trip back to the drawing boards.

Global warming hot air

A new study just released by the World Climate Report has disclosed that the three principal methods of measuring global temperature were all unanimous in their findings: there has been no warming trend over the past decade.

Global warming, allegedly caused by a constantly increasing population whose economic activity and use of fossil fuels was supposedly playing havoc with atmospheric temperatures, has been embraced by overpopulation alarmists as proof positive of the urgent need for control of the world’s population and industry.

Besides the usual population control gang such as Worldwatch’s Lester Brown, population bombers Paul and Ann Ehrlich, and the Population Institute’s (not to be confused with our PRI] Werner Fornos, U.S. Vice-President Al Gore has also become a major wolf-Crier for the allegedly “greatest threat ever” to the survival of mankind.

However, as the World Climate researchers report, the satellite, weather balloon and ground—based temperatures all agree that in the period 1 January 1987 through 31 December 1996, there has been no discernable warming whatever. The surface temperature record, it should be noted, was compiled by the United Nations intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one of the principal advocates of global warming. How much more evidence will it take to bury the global warming spectre?


1 Lester R. Brown, Who Will Feed China?, (New York City: W.W. Norton & Company, 1975).

2 All grain Statistics from Grain: World Markets and Trade, United States Department of Agriculture, February 1997.

3 Science, 21 February 1973.

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