Climate Alarmist War On Nitrous Oxide Threatens The Global Food Supply
In November 2022, four eminent scientists issued a theoretical physics paper, “Nitrous Oxide and Climate.” It proves that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s “war on nitrous oxide” to achieve Net Zero Emissions (NZE) by 2050 threatens to cause a significant collapse in the world’s food supply.
The article’s four authors are eminent men in their field, so their analysis and opinion deserve to be taken very seriously: (1) C.A. de Lange, a physicist at Vrije Universiteit, in Amsterdam; (2) J.D. Ferguson, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, with a specialty in developing computer models of the effect of nitrogen fertilizers on dairy farming; (3) William Happer, emeritus professor of physics at Princeton; and (4) W.A. van Wijngaarden, a professor of physics at York University in Canada.
All four are staunch critics of the IPCC war to expand the hysterical climate attack on carbon dioxide (CO2) to include demonizing nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), which are classed as “minor greenhouse gases.” The report concludes with a compelling truth: “It is not possible to maintain highly productive agriculture without nitrogen fertilizer.” It’s a genuinely frightening thought that the neo-Marxists at the heart of today’s climate hysteria have chosen to attack N2O because millions will die if governments ban nitrogen fertilizers. The neo-Marxist ideologues are willing to manipulate existential climate fear in their insane willingness to kill millions if that’s what is required to negate capitalism.
The scientists’ core argument completely negates the IPCC’s hysteria. The data establish that the minimal impact of N2O and CH4 on Earth’s temperature does not risk a collapse in the global food chain. They write:
Since the biosphere is the main source of the minor greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide and methane, agriculture has been targeted with various regulations that will supposedly “save the planet” from climate change. The planet is not in danger from greenhouse gases. But some of the regulations to address this non-problem are of great concern since they will drastically cut food supplies for the world.
This argument understands the definition of “radiative forcing,” the scientific phenomenon that quantifies mathematically what in common parlance is loosely known as the “greenhouse gas” effect.
Radiative forcing is the difference in the net upward thermal radiation flux from the Earth through a transparent atmosphere and radiation through an otherwise identical atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
The point is that greenhouse gases prevent all the heat from the solar irradiance the Earth absorbs during the day from escaping to outer space at night. Without greenhouse gases, the Earth would most likely not be habitable for human life. Radiative forcing is measured scientifically in W m-2, i.e., in watts per square meter irradiance.
N2O is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 because N2O absorbs more escaping irradiance, but N2O is much less plentiful than CO2 in the atmosphere. N2O’s contribution to radiative forcing is about 1/13 that of CO2.
A significant conclusion of the paper is that the observed rates of increase of N2O “pose no threat whatsoever to climate.” The authors base this conclusion “on the well-established principles of radiation transfer, which shows that for current growth rates, the contribution of N2O to warming is only about 6% that of all greenhouse gases.” Thus, they estimate that “the absolute warming rate from N2O is about 0.064 C [Celsius] per century.” This means that imposing rigorous regulations to eliminate nitrogen fertilizers from agriculture would be reckless, given the minuscule contribution of N2O at current emission rates to global warming. They stress:
Proposals to place harsh restrictions on nitrous oxide emissions because of warming fears are not justified by these facts. Restrictions could cause serious harm; for example, by jeopardizing world food supplies.
The scientists helpfully explain that nitrogen fertilizers are the “single most important” factor that has led to the “huge increases in agricultural productivity since the year 1950 [that] have eliminated the deadly famines that plagued mankind throughout recorded history.” Eliminating nitrogen fertilizers would force a return to “low output agriculture” that would “not achieve the food supply needed to support 8.5 to 10 billion people.”
Environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg has caught on to the Malthusian nature of the global warming/climate change movement’s attack on N2O. On April 19, 2023, Lomborg posted the following on Twitter:
Organic agriculture everywhere can today, optimistically, support 4.7 billion people.
Industrial agriculture everywhere can today, optimistically support 12 billion.
The global population is 8 billion.
You do the math.
In his 2020 book False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet, Lomborg discussed how we have been here before, some twenty years ago, when “the craze for biofuels swept rich countries. He wrote:
The European Union led the way, stipulating member states in 2003 pass legislation aimed at replacing 5.75 of all transport fossil fuels with biofuels by 2010. Developing nations, even those in the grip of famine, were pushed to grow crops for ethanol instead of for food.
Lomborg noted that the massive biofuel growth “inevitably contributed to a reduction in food and an increase in food prices.” A confidential World Bank report published by the Guardian found that biofuels had forced global food prices up by 75 percent, “pushing a hundred million people into poverty and thirty million into hunger.”
In “Nitrous Oxide and Climate,” de Lange, Ferguson, Happer, and Wijngaarden agree that the war on N2O emissions is ideological, showing a willingness to sacrifice millions of lives on a hoax popular science delusion. In conclusion, the four authors write:
Since few citizens realize that the effects of total N2O emissions on climate are negligible, many governments are under pressure to “do something” about agricultural contributions of N2O. Ideologically driven government mandates on agriculture have usually led to disaster. The world has just witnessed the collapse of the once bountiful agricultural sector of Sri Lanka as a result of government restrictions on mineral fertilizer.
And lest you have any doubts about how far Marxists will go, the four authors note that today’s war on N2O is not the first time Marxists have collapsed the food supply to enforce their totalitarian ideology:
An earlier example is the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, when the kulak (the derogatory Bolshevik word “fist” for a successful farmer) was “eliminated as a class.” In consequence, millions died of starvation. Folk members of the Golodomor (hunger-murder) played no small part in unleashing the present war in Ukraine.
In this age dominated by censorship and disinformation, the only narrative permitted conforms with the neo-Marxist dictum that capitalism is evil and must be destroyed, even if that means wiping out the N2O used to feed a hungry world.
Since 2004, Jerome R. Corsi has published over 30 books on economics, history, and politics, including two #1 New York Times bestsellers. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. His book, Volume I, in his Great Awakening Trilogy, The Truth About Energy, Global Warming, and Climate Change: Exposing Climate Lies in an Age of Disinformation, received highly positive reviews from prominent climate scientists. Volume II, The Truth About Neo-Marxism, Cultural Maoism, and Anarchy: Exposing Woke Insanity in an Age of Disinformation, is scheduled for publication on November 14, 2023. Dr. Corsi has resumed podcasting on his new website TheTruthCentral.com, which is now on the Internet in its first development phase.