Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Environmental and Political Elites Are Destroying Food Production for “Climate” Goals

Posted by M. C. on October 6, 2022

Two major future consequences of the EU agri-environmental strategies already are evident. Consumers all over the world will bear the costs of higher food prices, affecting the economic efficiency of the whole supply chain. New environmental norms imposed by agri-environmental policies on production and consumption, mainly practiced in the West, will prevent poor countries from participating in markets because they will be unable to meet these standards.

Jovana Diković

In the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, a special thematic part was dedicated to anticipating the future on earth in the winter of 2022. The visitors had the opportunity to vote for the topic they find important and want to learn more about.

The three knowledge offered choices were 1) how development of energy potential may influence climate change; 2) how improving the condition of the environment, forests, parks, and waters may reduce CO2; 3) how improving the conditions of agriculture, land, and farmers may contribute to food security and affordable food. The visitors voted by throwing a bottle cork in one of the three knowledge cylinders, and the option that won the most votes would be promoted in the museum through popular science content.

Out of eighteen visitors, only four decided to vote for the third cylinder on agriculture, and these were children and women. The rest of votes were shared almost equally between the cylinders for energy and the environment.

The ad hoc experiment I conducted revealed several important issues. How is it possible that the priority question of food security and sustainable agriculture attracted such weak attention? Developing energy and environmental potential for CO2 reduction, although of high relevance, cannot feed the world. But it attracts ecological concerns and mobilizes solidarity sentiments more than hunger in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where a significant part of the populations has only one or half a meal per day.

Making food affordable and accessible to them and dying children in Yemen and Ethiopia (where the war has been going on since 2020) obviously does not engage sentiments as strongly as information that the Earth is 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than one hundred years ago; that glaciers are melting in an enormous vastness of ice; or that polar bears are withdrawing toward the inner continent. Because of the polar bears and glaciers, international meetings of the highest importance regularly convene in Davos; the compulsory climate agreement in Paris was signed; and Greta Thunberg shouted at the United Nations General Assembly, urging radical changes in CO2 emissions.

Environmentalists share one chronic feature: they are preoccupied with the “imagined state of environmental purity and harmony” on a universal level. They associate resolving environmental problems with a larger transformative endeavor. The reduction of carbon emissions is inseparable from a series of seemingly unrelated political projects: ending capitalism and existing power structures, and completely restructuring transportation systems and industries.

It is thus not surprising that concrete places such as Yemen and Ethiopia and their particularistic problems of hunger inspire fewer public statements, and only sporadically evoke expression of concerns at the international conferences. Even in the Carnegie Museum, the knowledge cylinder that suggested improvement of food security attracted only a few curious minds.

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