Category Archives: global warming

Flood risk-Est Anglia-Essex-Kent

The container port at Felixstowe, and hundreds of thousands of hectares of Land in the SE have a very real flood risk BUT we are not doing what we could be doing.

What will happen in the UK eastern counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex and Kent if we do not manage to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C?

Well, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) points out that even at 1.5, as the ice-caps melt, all low-lying land is at risk of flooding. Now, Lincolnshire produces 40% by value of UK farm output and 80 % of Lincolnshire is below sea level. By the way, we also already know that the protection offered to Landon by the Thames Barrage is on its limit and a high tide and the wind in the right direction might push over the limit.  Logically, improving sea defences in these areas might be seen as pretty important. Yet we know that in the last 12 months at least 30,000 tonnes of drilling “wastes” which could have been used to bulk up sea walls has gone elsewhere because of prevarications about UK interpretation of EU regulations.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 19 October ‘18

The beginning of the end

It is not impossible to turn global warming upside down.

 

The New Scientist this week comments on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that we have 12 years to save the planet. Interestingly, while pointing out that the evidence is overwhelming that the rise in global warming is human-made and really dangerous and already producing problems, they also argue that the evidence is that we can do something about it.

What this blog is sometimes about is that composting urban waste globally could make a real contribution to limiting and even reversing by locking up Carbon in organic matter and by reducing and eliminating the manufacture of Nitrogen fertilisers (which, according to UN-sponsored research takes 21,000 kWh to make one tonne of N nutrient – and that is in a modern and efficient USA factory).

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 16 October 18

Winds will get stronger

We know that burning aviation fuel advances global warming by producing GHG (Green House Gas), BUT, it also delivers what is called “global dimming” because the ice crystals which allow us to see jet contrails also reflect sun radiation back into space. Complexity yields uncertainty.

The global weather system is complex and how it will change with respect to the global warming that we all (except, apparently, Mr Trump) know is happening is difficult to predict in detail and fast enough. One of the problems with that is that by the time we are sure of something, it may be too late to do much about it. The evidence so far does not suggest that climate change causes hurricanes. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that a warming climate leads to more devastating hurricanes.

As far as UK farming is concerned, the implication is that winds generally will get stronger and storm winds will do more damage to crops. Wind breaks and stronger cereal straw are still likely to be part of the defence strategy.  Wind turbines may be a better investment, too.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 3 October 18

Food security is a UK issue

This years drought in the UK was a warning shot. The global starvation issue affects us all – people with full bellies are less likely to go to war or emigrate.

New evidence in The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2018 confirms a rise in world hunger: the number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years, returning to levels from almost a decade ago.
Multiple forms of malnutrition are evident in many countries: adult obesity is growing even as forms of under-nutrition persist.
The reports says that climate variability and extremes are key drivers behind this rise, together with conflict and economic downturns, and are threatening to erode and reverse gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition.

The current need to secure home-produced food is as strong now as it was in the 1939 to 45 war; the threat is different but just as potentially lethal, We neglect UK food production now at the cost to our children.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd  11 September 18

The real truth about shale gas

You can download a copy for free this Sunday, 8th October,  by clicking below on “Buy at Amazon”.

Water in farming

 

Does the rainbow promise better weather, wetter weather, both or more extreme weather? What can we actually do about it?

 

On 24 August 2017m the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 

Reason 1. We’re Changing the Climate, Making Dry Areas Drier and Precipitation More Variable and Extreme.

Without mentioning any particular name, one who denies climate change must either be demented or have some ulterior motive. In most farming areas, water will in general get shorter in areas where it is already short and rain, when it does happen, at higher rates and with more wind. In general terms, most climatologists agree, this trend will continue.  However, there is some evidence that we may have already started to switch off, or otherwise change, the Gulf Stream. If that turns out to be the case, the western areas of the UK may get colder, not warmer, especially in winter.

The effects of these changes will affect everything in farming including field drainage, soil organic matter, the way we control weeds in crops.  We had better be ready to respond to these pressures.  One thing is for sure – it will not stay the same.

There is one rule to watch; mostly, where rain is already short in the eastern areas, we will get less and when it happens it will be in heavy weather.  Cereal crop lodging before harvest will be an increasing risk.  All areas may experience flash flooding.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Add organic matter and reduce cultivations to reduce oxidation of organic matter.
  2. Subsoil at intervals.
  3. Maintain ditches and field drainage.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  September 17

Farming, Global Warming and Profit

Farming is the fundamental key to removing Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and giving back our Oxygen.

A UK-based development programme has shown that a wide range of urban and agricultural wastes can be recycled as fertilisers, to the exclusion of manufactured mineral fertilisers, to produce sustainable, high-yielding agriculture and increase bio-diversity and populations. The programme has shown how that technology can be used to develop sustainable worldwide agriculture and dramatically reduce irrigation requirements including in arid and desert soils. This, in turn, closes the loop on recycling potentially significant amounts of global Carbon dioxide by changing the hydrological cycle, and increasing the global soil Carbon sink and releasing Oxygen back to atmosphere. Click here.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 16 May 17