In Defense of Fertilizers, Farmers and Food

The UN and WEF have declared a War on Fertilizers with conflicts erupting in Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and Canada.  Fear of “greenhouse gases”  provide the moral justification for mandating reductions in the production and use of fertilizers.

This will in turn deprive many farmers of their way of life.  As a group, farmers belong to the “yeomanry” social class: independent, self-reliant small businessmen and women who don’t trust government and want it only to leave them alone.  This makes them (like truckers) public enemies no.1, according to the control freaks increasingly entrenched in public authorities.

Most important is the objective to take over and regulate the food supply, along with governmental direction of the energy sector.  The reason for this was well articulated by Leon Trotsky decades ago.

U.N. War On Fertilizer Began in Sri Lanka

Michael Shellenberger:  UN Environment Programme launched its anti-fertilizer efforts from Sri Lanka in 2019

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) describes itself as “the global authority that sets the environmental agenda… and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.” Through its “Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food” program launched in 2014, the UNEP advocates that nations “steer away from the prevailing focus on per hectare productivity.”

But today the world is in its worst food crisis since 2008.

The number of people suffering acute food insecurity increased by 25% since January 2022 to 345 million, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Why, then, is the UNEP trying to steer nations away from fertilizers that increase food production?

The UNEP’s Acting Director in 2019 said the reason was humankind’s “long-term interference with the Earth’s nitrogen balance.” In October of that year, the UNEP hosted a meeting in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo and issued a “road map” to push nations to cut nitrogen pollution in half.

But the Netherlands proves that nations can slash nitrogen pollution
from livestock by 70% while also increasing meat production. Same for crops.

Since the early 1960s, the Netherlands has doubled its yields while using the same amount of fertilizer. While rich nations produce 70 percent higher yields than poor nations, they use just 54 percent more nitrogen.

One month after the Colombo meeting in 2019, which generated significant media attention in Sri Lanka, voters in that nation elected an anti-fertilizer president, H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who claimed, without scientific evidence, that synthetic fertilizers were causing kidney diseases. In April 2021, he banned fertilizer imports.

In June, 2021, two months after the fertilizer ban, Sri Lanka hosted a UN-sponsored “Food System Dialogue” aimed at influencing the UN’s broader anti-fertilizer agenda for the world. “Sri Lanka’s inaugural Food System Dialogue is part of a series of national and provincial dialogues conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture ahead of the 2021 UN Food System Summit set to take place in New York later this year.”

Netherlands and Canada Invoke Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Hysteria

LifeSiteNews While the event went mostly unreported, a large group of Canadians formed a convoy late last month in Winnipeg, Manitoba to voice their support for Dutch farmers currently protesting their government’s fertilizer reduction policies.

In the footage, many of the vehicles can be seen donning the Netherlands flag, with some of the flags being flown upside-down, which is a practice done throughout the world as a way to signal distress.

One large tractor had a sign on it that read, “No fertilizers, No Farmers, No food,” while a pick-up truck had a sign reading, “Government is lying. Fight for freedom.”

As reported by LifeSiteNews, for the past month farmers in the Netherlands have been protesting the fertilizer reduction policies put forward by their World Economic Forum-linked Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

Under the guise of “climate change,” Rutte and his government have created a “nitrogen and nature” ministry to curb nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions in the country, and told farmers that failure to comply with the new policies would lead to an expropriation of their land.

According to the Dutch farmers, compliance with the policies would mean far smaller crop yields and insufficient food production – nitrogen and ammonia are integral ingredients in fertilizers – and would lead to a massive loss of income or having to sell their farms altogether.

Despite the pleas of thousands of farmers to have the implementation of the policies reconsidered, Rutte dismissed the group as “small” and “unacceptable,” echoing the statement made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year, when he called the anti-COVID mandate “Freedom Convoy” protesters in his country a “small, fringe minority.”

In addition to the similar attitude they express to disgruntled citizens, both politicians are members of the World Economic Forum, and have both signed their countries up for the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In fact, a December 2020 press release from Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food shows that Trudeau has been planning to implement fertilizer policies similar to those being imposed by Rutte for quite some time.

However, nitrous oxide emissions, particularly those associated with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use have also grown significantly. That is why the Government of Canada has set the national fertilizer emissions reduction target, which is part of the commitment to reduce total GHG emissions in Canada by 40-45% by 2030, as outlined in Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan,” adds the release, which includes references to “the 2030 Agenda” and the U.N.’s “17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

The World of N2O

Just as CO2 is a small part of a planetary Carbon Cycle, so too is N2O an even smaller part of a global Nitrogen cycle.  Some charts below provide a perspective on how N2O fits into a larger picture.

Sources of Atmospheric N2O

Source: Global Carbon Project

The chart above shows several important things to know.  First, the atmospheric inputs of N20 from natural sources are about 60% and human sources 40%.  Note that the estimates of inputs have a range of +/- 20% for natural sources, and +/- 50% for human sources.  Over time N2O breaks down into the main atmospheric gases N2 and O2.  No uncertainty is provided for the removal of N2O, leading to suspicion it is not measured but calculated to make a balance.

The second chart informs on the scale of N2O concentrations.  At first glance, it appears comparable to CO2, but on closer inspection the amounts are in ppb (parts per billion), not ppm (parts per million) as with CO2.  To get comparable amounts requires dividing by 1000, thus the vertical axis goes from 0.315 ppm to 0.340 ppm.  Yes, the dramatic rise over the last 22 years is 0.025ppm.

Then we have the annual global increase of N2O from all sources ranging from about 0.5 to 1.3 ppb.  Does anyone believe they can measure N2O down to 0.0005 ppm?

Then there is the matter that Nitrous oxide emissions in the United States decreased by 5% between 1990 and 2020. During this time, nitrous oxide emissions from mobile combustion decreased by 61% as a result of emission control standards for on-road vehicles. Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils have varied during this period and were about the same in 2020 as in 1990. So any increases came from elsewhere, including the majority natural sources.

About Global Warming Potential

IPCC puts out a table like the Ten Commandments listing the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of all the “greenhouse gases.”  CO2 is assigned “1”, and all others are given a number as a multiple of CO2.  As noted above N2O is assigned ~300, making it a fearful GHG, depending of course on how much warming CO2 actually generates.

Source: GHG Institute

There are no details on the N2O GWP calculation of 300, but one suspects it is mainly due to the projected long residence time (100+ years) compared to about 5 years for CO2 (much shorter for CH4).  But no matter the half-life of N2O, consider the above absorption spectra of ghgs.  Note that N2O has no peaks, more like three pimples, all on the low energy longer IR wavelengths.  Moreover, the one at 4.5m overlaps entirely with CO2, the second at 7.9m is overwhelmed by H2O, and the third at 17.0m can only absorb what CO2 has not.

Getting Perspective on N2O Climate Fear

The Claim:  Nitrous Oxide is claimed to be a GHG 300 times as powerful as CO2; claimed to cause 7.5% of warming effect.  Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas with an atmospheric half-life of 120 years.  Environmentalists and ecologists share the consensus that there should be an 80% reduction in the total greenhouse gases below the 1990 level.

The Facts:

Start with a wholistic picture of IR active gases (so-called “GHGs”) .  H20 is 95% of all such gases, water vapor in the atmosphere ranging from 0 to 4%.  CO2 is a trace gas by comparison, 4% of GHGs, at 400 ppm, amounting to 0.04% of the atmosphere, presumed to be well mixed in the troposphere.

Consider that claimed N2O IR activity is less than 1%.  And in fact constitutes roughly 1/1000 of the gold blocks representing CO2.  An earlier graph showed N2O is presently ~ 0.340 ppm, or 0.00034% of the atmosphere.

Add in the estimation by Dr. Happer regarding IR activity in our atmosphere.  The black line shows gases absorbing radiation at various wavelengths from near IR on the left (shorter wave, higher energy) to far IR on the right (longer wave, lower energy). The big black line notch in the 600s is CO2 absorption in its modern concentration of 400 ppm.  The red line shows what will be the absorption should CO2 double in amount to 800 ppm. [See Climate Change and CO2 Not a Problem]

Notice that the difference between the red and black lines is miniscule. Notice also the microscopic effects of N2O across the spectrum.  Mathematically, 300 times miniscule = negligible.

Summary

This is a bogus war on fertilizers, farmers and food.  Everything is exaggerated for the sake of an extreme agenda to impose controls on free enterprise developed societies.  It is true that use of fertilizers results in some release of N2O into the air, but even this has been overstated. And as the video demonstrates, farmers have a vested interest in using fertilizers wisely and are applying techniques that improve efficiency.  As well, there is evidence of efficiency gains in the process of producing ammonia and then urea from air and natural gas.  The attack on food supply is in effect an effort to reduce the population.

Footnote The Living Soil

“Green” Mentality

 

 

 

6 comments

  1. terryoldberg · August 19

    The “War on Fertilizer” is based upon an application of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness by the argument made by a modern climate model. Under this application of the above referenced fallacy, an “abstract” event of the future for Earth’s climate system is mistaken for a “concrete” event of the future where an:”abstract” event of the future lacks a location in space and time but a “concrete” event of the future has such a location. It follows from their respective definitions that an “abstract” event of the future is unobservable while a “concrete” event of the future is observable. A collection of observable events is an example of a statistical population, but a collection of unobservable events is not. Consequently, a modern climate model lacks the empirical support of a statistical population. Further, underlying an “abstract” event are 0 concrete events, falsifying the Law of the Excluded Middle (LEM) and “unit measure.” The LEM is among Aristotle’s three Laws of Thought. “Unit measure” is an axiom of probability theory. Consequently, the measure of an “abstract” event is not a probability. It is by assignment of a numerical value to a conditional probability that a run of a model of a physical system generates information gain. It follows that in a run of a model of Earth’s climate system the information gain is nil to a regulatory official, precluding regulation of this system by this system. The myth that a regulatory official can regulate Earth’s climate system by making runs of a modern climate system has the people of SRI Lanka at the brink of starvation for the lack of chemical fertilizers. Fifteen years ago I discovered that in the runs of a modern climate model information about the outcomes of the events of the future for Earth’s climate system was not created, precluding regulation of this system by a regulatory official. I promptly advised the regulatory officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they were incapable of regulating Earth’s climate system. They ignored me then and continue to do so. That the people of SRI Lanka are at the brink of starvation is among the consequences of this misbehavior. Recently I served as a referee for the latest edition of the “Climate Assessment Report” of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). While acting in this capacity I advised the editors of this document that Earth’s climate system could not be regulated by making runs of a modern climate model. They ignored me. I advised the chairman of the IPCC of this fact. He ignored me. I advised the chief statistician of the United Nations of this fact. He ignored me. In this way, the false belief that Earth’s climate system could be regulated by making runs of modern climate models was perpetuated.

    Like

  2. beththeserf · August 19

    ‘We need to eliminate 15 million people ‘.

    Shades of the Gulag Archipelago and Solzhenitsyn’s memories of waves of arrests of farmers and engineers causing widespread famine in Russia.

    Beware top down fear and guilt campaigns. Wage. wage war against the lying and the fright.

    Like

  3. Mark Krebs · August 19

    What are cost-effective, long-term solutions? As I see it, we do have a serious problem. The problem is decreasing soil productivity. Industrialized farming is mining carbon out of the soil that ends up in the atmosphere. The addition of synthetic nitrogen to improve crop yields is (loosely) likes taking steroids to increase strength. At best, it masks the problem of declining soil productivity.

    The trick is cost-effectively getting “excess” atmospheric carbon back into agricultural soils where it is increasingly depleted. Photosynthesis via “cover crops” is one such way to achieve much of it. This also reduces runoff which reduces nitrogen pollution, algae blooms, etc.

    If you’re interested in learning about it, a good place to start would be to google “Living Soil: A Documentary for All of Us”

    Like

  4. HiFast · August 20

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #516 – Watts Up With That?
  6. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #516 - Energy News Beat

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