According to Iowa plant physiologist Dr. Jeff Schussler, global warming has yielded “particularly pleasant weather“ for North American crops since 1970. In a January talk at the Ontario Agricultural Conference as reported by the Farmers Forum, Dr. Schussler began by noting “For decades, the farmers of Canada and the U.S. have enjoyed ever increasing yields, and a lot of that extra bounty is due to a slight increase in global warming and extra sunshine.” To the astonishment of no one with even a passing acquaintance with farming, he explained that longer growing seasons, extra sunshine (for some reason there has been a substantial solar brightening over North America) and a boost in atmospheric CO2 content, along of course with improved seed varietals, has led to a boom in corn, soybean and other crop yields. The crops benefit directly from the extra CO2 as food. But they also benefit indirectly because they don’t lose as much water during respiration (a vital aspect of global greening as plants do better in dry, cold or high-altitude marginal land), making them more drought tolerant. And, Schussler notes, the good times are just getting started.
The article explains that:
“He confidently predicted that scientific advancement and continued crop development are up to the challenges that climate change might pose in North America. He’s involved with one initiative that resulted in more drought resistant corn hybrids using conventional plant-breeding and trait-selection techniques.”
It’s not obvious to us what those “challenges” are given his presentation. Which includes that the gradual increase in rainfall has also helped, although he concedes that more rain falls in short intense bursts which can damage corn. For that reason, he said, scientists are working on breeds with shorter stalks to make them more wind-resistant. Or rather, those few scientists who are interested in finding low-cost strategies that might actually help. The other 97% are working on schemes to eliminate fertilizers and energy from the economy altogether in the hopes of controlling the weather a century from now.
Schussler declined to say whether we should stop worrying about reducing CO2 emissions. But he noted that “I would just say I’m very confident that we should not have starvation as our number one concern in the next 50 years.” You wonder where they find these crackpots.
Possibly they are outstanding in their field.