Jan. 22nd, 2012
Back in November, Brad Johnson did an interesting piece, based on a Think Progress item (that unfortunately he seems not to have linked to) and figures supplied by the American Farm Bureau Federation, demonstrating how, largely because of global warming, the cost of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner had risen by about 13% between 2010 and 2011.
How so? Well, the price of turkey had increased by about 23% because the torrid summer had made it difficult for turkeys to gain weight, while also killing a lot of birds. The price of pecans has been shooting up in recent years -- about 22% between 2010 and 2011 -- because droughts in the southeast have been killing the crops: production was down about 50% between 2010 and 2011 in Texas and Louisiana. Those same droughts had been responsible for a doubling in hay prices, a cost reflected in greatly increased prices of dairy products like butter, cream and milk -- all likely (especially the cream!) to play a part in the Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkins had increased in price about 13% over the previous year because of flooding in the northeast, which rotted a lot of pumpkins where they grew while also encouraging the spread of fungal diseases and the like.
As for the price of the coffee diners were likely to drink after the meal? As we all know, coffee growers are facing increased infestation by pests whose habitats are migrating as well as, in an increasing number of instances, the dismal fact that coffee will no longer grow well in places where it has for generations, meaning the grower must either sell up (difficult, in the circumstances) and move to a higher latitude or stay put and switch to a different crop. Either way, the price of coffee goes up.
What we need to bear in mind is that all of these price increases, while they may sting us a little, are avoidable for us; we can take radical steps like, y'know, eating less turkey. The options for the luckless farmers are more limited. In simplest terms, the price increases represent increased hardship for the producers.
Now, the source of these various figures is, as noted, the American Farm Bureau Federation ("Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Costing More in 2011", November 10 2011), so you'd imagine the AFBF would be, on behalf of the farmers it claims to represent, campaigning vigorously for action on climate change -- the promotion of greater fuel efficiency, greener energy, and so on.
The AFBF is run by climate-change deniers. The extreme weather events that are driving a lot of its members to the wall are, you see, just a lot of unlucky coincidences about which nothing can be done -- or maybe, who knows, they're The Lord's Will?