I wish I had better news today, but how can you grow food at temperatures that kill germs?
Food riots are coming, all around the world, in the wake of the “new normal” that is 2023.
With temperatures averaging over 100 in the growing regions of Europe and North America, I can’t see a big crop coming in. Those temperatures are going to move to the southern hemisphere this winter, burning Brazil, Argentina, and Australia. Everyone’s talking about El Nino. Fewer are talking about this new normal.
Food may be an inflationary story in the west, but it’s a survival story in the global south. Few are paying attention to the coming starvation. Wars, even “good wars” like the one in Ukraine, are environmental disasters on many levels. That war needs to be ended, quickly, which means a deeper involvement in the near term, and greater risk.
Adaptation is possible, but it’s going to cost and there’s little time. As solar energy comes into super abundance we can have air conditioning in western Europe, and elsewhere, because solar energy supplies peak in the heat of the day. People are still ignoring the fact that, once a solar panel or wind turbine is in service, and has made back its capital cost, the incremental energy is free. The only real cost is its distribution.
We’re going to need this super abundance to keep anyone alive. We’re going to need to accelerate the retirement of gas engines in all areas. We have the cost structure to make that possible. But it’s going to be bumpy, and violent, along the way from here to there. Political systems may collapse, even ours.
A lot of people won’t make it. Millions. Maybe tens of millions. Maybe hundreds of millions are going to die horrible, premature deaths because oil oligarchs ignored the climate crisis. Some of those oligarchs will join them, killed in the inevitable revolutions and counter revolutions that will follow. They shouldn’t pretend they’re immune.