Runaway population growth heads for a smash into "peak everything"

Tim Fischer: 'Runaway population growth heads for a smash into "peak everything".'

Former Deputy Australian Prime Minister Tim Fischer can see it. Former NSW Premier Bob Carr can see it.  How come our federal PM and Opposition Leader can't?? 
 
'Peak everything': Fischer
MATTHEW CAWOOD
12 Feb, 2012
Tim Fischer warns 'all the signs of impending catastrophe are in front of us'.
 
 
FEW public figures in secular Australia can wangle the Pope and agriculture into the same speech, but Tim Fischer is a notable exception.
The former Nationals leader, and until recently the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Fischer addressed the National Press Club last week on the question of global food security - an issue he said the Vatican was keenly aware of.
Mr Fischer quoted Pope Benedict XVI from a 2010 address: "It seems to me it is time to re-evaluate and revitalise agriculture, not in a nostalgic sense but as an indispensible resource for the future".
All the signs of impending catastrophe are in front of us, Mr Fischer said, as runaway population growth heads for a smash into "peak everything" - water, land, nutrient, oil, fish and research.
Increased climate volatility, bringing more regular droughts, floods and accelerated glacier melt, must be factored into attempts to feed the growing population, Mr Fischer told the Press Club.
Peak water is not just an issue of the world's rapidly-depleted groundwater supplies, Mr Fischer observed, but must also account for melting glaciers in the Himalaya, the source of several major rivers supplying the world's most populous regions.
A major study reported in Nature on February 9 found that overall, the Himalayan ice pack is stable. While the global satellite survey found lower-altitude glaciers in the Asian mountain ranges are definitely melting, enough ice was added to the peaks to compensate.
Globally, the study reported significant melting of ice, with little revision to forecast sea level rises.
Mr Fischer also flagged forecasts that up to 40 per cent of the Earth may face regular drought by end of the 21st century, and cited Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine, who wrote that world food production may decline by around 25pc "exactly when we are attempting to double it".
"The IC of BRIC (the combined economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are especially exposed, namely India and China, with both huge urbanisation and much pollution impacting on agriculture," Mr Fischer said.
"The squeeze is on in these two giant countries of Greater Asia, with the prospect that there will be millions on the move, driven by hunger.
"The two key priorities, in my view, are to boost research on all aspects of the chain from seed to paddock to plate, including the dissemination of the research information; secondly, mount a huge war on food waste, both with crop production and processed foods.
"The Food Famine Clock stands near midnight, not just for Africa, but for many parts of greater Asia and beyond."
"We need action and leadership on this now, and I welcome the federal government decision to set up the Australian International Food Security Centre at ACIAR here in Canberra."
Mr Fischer is a new member on the board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an organisation dedicated to the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security.
Among its other programs, the Trust funds the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground seed bank in the Arctic that secures duplicates of the world’s most important crops in case natural disasters, civil strife, extreme weather or other threats destroy a unique variety.
Australian sent its first shipment of genetic material to the vault last year.
"Worldwide, preserving the original genetic material in our food crops matters a great deal," Mr Fischer said.
"It goes to the core of the future of agriculture and preventing famine."
 
The Land