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Thursday, July 19, 2012

None Dare Call It Climate Change
Posted by Jill | 6:16 AM
If you only pay passing attention to the news, you'd never know that in addition to being in another Great Depression, we're also on the verge of another Dust Bowl:

Oppressive heat and a worsening drought in the Midwest pushed grain prices near or past records on Wednesday as crops wilted, cities baked and concerns grew about food and fuel price inflation in the world's top food exporter.

Soybean prices at the Chicago Board of Trade set a record high and corn closed near a record as millions of acres of crops seared in triple-digit heat in the Corn Belt. Corn fields have been plowed up in many locations for lack of rain. Now soybeans, which develop later than corn, are in the bull's eye.

"I get on my knees everyday and I'm saying an extra prayer right now," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters after briefing President Barack Obama. "If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it."

Vilsack said the drought was getting worse for hard-hit farmers and the wilting crops will mean higher food prices.

"Part of the problem we're facing is that weather conditions were so good at the beginning of the season that farmers got in the field early, and as a result this drought comes at a very difficult and painful time in their ability to have their crops have good yield," Vilsack said.

Drought conditions now extend over more than 60 percent of the lower 48 states, the government said. The Department of Agriculture on Wednesday extended drought aid to an additional 39 counties designated as primary natural disaster areas, bringing such aid to a total of 1,297 counties across 29 states.

And still, despite this severe drought and record-setting temperatures, unusually intense storms, and just generally crazy weather, no one is willing to talk about this in the context of climate change.

When you think about how pervasive corn is in the average American diet, from corn oil to the ubiquitous corn syrup to corn-as-a-vegetable in school lunches, or how pervasive soy is, from tofu to baked goods to processed meats to cereals, you don't have to be a genius to understand that if drought causes scarcity in these commodities, food prices will skyrocket.

Have you seen much coverage of the midwest drought in the corporate media where most Americans get their information? I haven't. And when Americans start very soon to see the kinds of food price hikes that are coming, and that we are stuck in a miasma of low employment, income inequality, and sky-high food prices, it's unlikely, thanks to Republican intransigence on addressing climate change, that they'll be able or willing to put together what is happening in the supermarket with what is happening around them.
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Anonymous Oragone said...
Looks like an opportunity to make some money from corn futures in the commodities market

Anonymous Anonymous said...
And don't forget the ethanol scam.
Fuel prices will be affected too.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Drought in the mid-west equals starvation in the countries that cattle feed is imported from.

Millions will die so that muricans could eat beef.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Check out the Mississippi too. Historically low levels.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Corporate media not covering this enough? Wonder why. Maybe so that when folks are dealing with high prices in November, they might blame it on the Prez and decide to vote Republican?

Yeah, I'm cynical that way...

Blogger Jill said...
Anon @ 2:17 PM: You get the award for dumbest comment ever on this blog. The president sets food prices? Willard Romney will go out and pick corn himself? What on earth do you even mean?

Blogger Eric said...
"I get on my knees everyday and I'm saying an extra prayer right now," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters after briefing President Barack Obama. "If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it."

Yeah, Mr. Vilsack - prayer. That's the ticket. It sure did a lot of good down in Texas, and since he's a Repubbican, he's a much better Christian than you and god must love him a whole lot more than you.

Anonymous e.a.f. said...
well it looks like the 1%ers have the American people where they want them, loosing their homes, low incomes, destroying union, now high food prices. Those 1%ers might want to start thinking about gun control if things get much worse in the U.S.A.

Any more bitamen spills in the remaining water, compliments of Embridge, things will really get bad. Don't expect the Candians to send their water.

The Americans have known for a long time they needed to deal with their water problems & didn't. yes, the political elite did nothing but the voters are the ones who voted for the political elite.