In the 1960s, when the world’s population had just crossed 3 billion people, there was a common belief across the experts in the academic and scientific communities that we were approaching “peak humanity”. That this was largest number of people the planet could support, based on the amount of food the planet could produce. Policymakers feared global famine, mass starvation and a collapse in the social order.
Thanks to the Green Revolution that was spurred in part by Norman Borlaug’s work to develop heartier and higher-yielding strains of staple crops like wheat, food production doubled without significantly expanding land use. With the global population now some 7 billion we are told by experts in the academic and scientific communities that this we are facing a “climate crisis”. Policymakers fear climate induced global famine, mass starvation and a collapse in the social order.
If this is true wouldn’t world food prices being a leading indicator? Food costs would be rising as environmental constraints reduced supply and population growth increased demand.
So it is incredible that within a generation food costs have dropped so dramatically in India and China, countries that at one time were frequently on the brink of famine. Environmentalists who campaign against agri-tech advances have argued for population reduction rather than increased food production. Fortunately policy-makers have taken the humane option and have better fed bigger populations as a result. Could it be that the same green ideologues who were wrong in the past could be wrong again about humanity’s ingenuity when it comes to their fears about an unproven “climate crisis”? Green populism plays on irrational fears that have little scientific basis. Humanity is far from becoming extinct…