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The Reality Of Resource Limits

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Guest LongBlackKilt

Grauniad

Food shortage fears have prompted the Chinese government to suspend the reforestation of marginal arable land, a senior government official said today .

The sacrifice of a key environmental restoration project for crop production highlights the growing problem of feeding the world's biggest population as cities expand into farmland and urban residents consume more meat and vegetables.

Lu Xinshe, deputy head of the ministry of land and resources, said the country was struggling to hold the 120 million hectare "red line" considered the minimum land areas needed for food self-sufficiency.

With industrialisation eating into the countryside, he said the government would halt plans to restore arable land to nature.

"We will not plan any new large scale projects to return farmland to its natural state, beyond those that have already been planned," he was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Any change in the balance of food production causes unease in a country where the elderly still remember the devastating famines of the early 1960s that killed between 15 million and 40 million people.

But the decision to halt many environmental restoration programmes is likely to have a knock-on effect. The government has been compensating farmers in the north and west of China to give up farmland as a central pillar of its strategy to fight desertification and water shortages. The end of ploughing helps stabilise the soil, while stopping irrigation alleviates water shortages.

Tree planting has also helped the country offset the increased emission of carbon dioxide from factories.

But food is the more immediate priority. By the end of last year, the amount of arable land in China had decreased to within 1% of the "red line."

Against the backdrop of rising global food prices, Chinese companies have bought the rights to farm swaths of land in the Philippines, Laos, Russia, and Kazakshstan. They have invested in biofuel crops in Zambia and the Congo. By one estimate there are now one million Chinese farmers in Africa....

Not so much "truth or rice" as "trees or rice".

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China should expand china.

Do what the Americans did with Alaska.

They could buy 80% of Mongolia which is just north of china.

Pay them $45B for the land distributed amongst their 3million population would be equivlant to $15k for every man woman and child. The mongals would accept considering the average wage is under $2k per year so a family being offered $75k would jump at it. China gets a huge amount of land (Mongolia is massive) for what is for them less than a months savings and the Mongols get lots of dosh.

They could do the same with Kazakhstan.

Or even just integrate Mongolia with china. The 3 mil population would easily dissolve into the 1B plus of china.

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1. Rampant globalisation and industrialisation saves the poor china man from the horrors of the open air paddy fields to the smokey smoggy haven of the 80 hour a week factories.

2. Oh but the local environment/ecosystems have taken a beating and they're now running out of food.

3. Poor china man gets frog marched back into agriculture, only less fields left to grow crops as they're covered in abandoned factories, and old sustainable farming techniques/knowledge have died away.

4. You globalists are nuts.

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China should expand china.

Do what the Americans did with Alaska.

They could buy 80% of Mongolia which is just north of china.

Pay them $45B for the land distributed amongst their 3million population would be equivlant to $15k for every man woman and child. The mongals would accept considering the average wage is under $2k per year so a family being offered $75k would jump at it. China gets a huge amount of land (Mongolia is massive) for what is for them less than a months savings and the Mongols get lots of dosh.

They could do the same with Kazakhstan.

Or even just integrate Mongolia with china. The 3 mil population would easily dissolve into the 1B plus of china.

Yeah, great investment Mongolia would be for growing food :rolleyes:

vast semidesert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/th...ok/geos/MG.html

Edited by Von Moses

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1. Rampant globalisation and industrialisation saves the poor china man from the horrors of the open air paddy fields to the smokey smoggy haven of the 80 hour a week factories.

2. Oh but the local environment/ecosystems have taken a beating and they're now running out of food.

3. Poor china man gets frog marched back into agriculture, only less fields left to grow crops as they're covered in abandoned factories, and old sustainable farming techniques/knowledge have died away.

4. You globalists are nuts.

+1

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Maybe this is what will save us all in the West. China is running out of land, America is returning parts of Michigan to land.

In the last 150 years the amount of farmland actively farmed in the Midwest USA has actually decreased, although production is up.

Just look at how much of New England forested compared to England - They could greatly expand production there.

For once we can export something to China. We just need them to starve first. As i understand it china is having huge drougts atm, and there massive damming projects arent going to fill that gap in time.

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Yeah, great investment Mongolia would be for growing food :rolleyes:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/th...ok/geos/MG.html

crap it says arable land: 0.76%

it has other things going for it that china would want (which it could trade for food or use internally)

Economic activity in Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding and agriculture. Mongolia has extensive mineral deposits. Copper, coal, gold, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten account for a large part of industrial production and foreign direct investment.

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crap it says arable land: 0.76%

it has other things going for it that china would want (which it could trade for food or use internally)

Oh so well worth having then. :lol: I notice they aren't the foremost grain exporter of the region due to them being the bread basket of southeast asia. :lol:

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Chinese are buying up and developing lots of arable land in Africa:

http://www.economicroadmap.com/2009/06/a-h...d-security.html

They're showing a lot of interest in Africa, are the Chinese. I wonder how much food produced on African land will end up on the plates of already hungry Africans?!?

Am I the only one who is worried about where all this is going?

Edited by PopGun

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They're showing a lot of interest in Africa, are the Chinese. I wonder how much food produced on African land will end up on the plates of already hungry Africans?!?

Am I the only one who is worried about where all this is going?

global domination by stealth

it will most likely end in war

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They're showing a lot of interest in Africa, are the Chinese. I wonder how much food produced on African land will end up on the plates of already hungry Africans?!?

Am I the only one who is worried about where all this is going?

Happy View: Chinese investment and know-how will help improve yields in Africa - where there is significant scope for this - making sure that China has food security and Africa has improved GDP allowing greater security and more investment in a virtuous circle.

Less Happy View: China, facing food riots due to shortages at home, buys up all of the production from these farms. The African locals start starving. Civil war erupts in the African countries between Chinese backed governments/farmers and everyone else; food production collapses as a result and everyone starves; the global repercussions are so great that some Americans actually lose weight.

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Are we hitting the buffers of exponential growth?

There are huge structural weaknesses in China caused by the huge population.

Why has the Chinese population got so big, what's been the trigger apart from having too much sex (thought I'd say it before someone else does).

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The problem isn't that we can't grow the food, there is enough sunlight and earth easily for that, the problem is that people aren't allowed to because they are excluded from land that is owned by someone else and who seeks to sell the food to those among the landless who can afford to pay.

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Guest X-QUORK

It doesn't take the brains of an archbishop to realise populations and economies cannot keep growing forever. It's the elephant in the room, especially for capitalists.

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Are we hitting the buffers of exponential growth?

There are huge structural weaknesses in China caused by the huge population.

Why has the Chinese population got so big, what's been the trigger apart from having too much sex (thought I'd say it before someone else does).

i don't think the black death was as bad there was it was in europe

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population will grow until checked,

the means are famine, disease, and war,

the crunch point is when easy carbon fuels run low then the means of production and distribution will falter, then it will turn nasty

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Chinese are buying up and developing lots of arable land in Africa:

Britain and France had boating rights in Suez once, too :P

When push comes to shove, if it's not on your sovereign territory, it's not really yours.

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Don't believe the Chinese propoganda machine, I LIVE in China and from what I can see there are vast amounts of unfarmed arable land, no water shortage, food and water are cheap even for a Chinese salary.

If you want facts don't read newspapers or random online websites which have a half chance of a dodgy source or just being completely made up. I have an anecdotal, a friend who works for the government told me they are taking huge swathes of land from the rural farmers, giving the farmers a token gift of a nice looking house (sounds familiar!).

Sounds to me like China is trying to create the appearance of an artificial shortage to justify their farming of Africa and some parts of Asia. Compare now to 30 years ago and the average Chinese person is eating a much better variety of food now whereas 30 years ago it may have just been a bowl of rice most days!

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The problem isn't that we can't grow the food, there is enough sunlight and earth easily for that, the problem is that people aren't allowed to because they are excluded from land that is owned by someone else and who seeks to sell the food to those among the landless who can afford to pay.

UK land area amounts to about one acre each at our current population; much of that is paved-over or marginal. A future in which we had to rely on our native food-producing resources would be unimaginably different from what we're used to.

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Don't believe the Chinese propoganda machine, I LIVE in China and from what I can see there are vast amounts of unfarmed arable land, no water shortage, food and water are cheap even for a Chinese salary.

As with fossil fuel, a country relying on "fossil water" and imports to feed itself can maintain the appearance of plenty even as they head for disaster -- a local observer won't necessarily notice what's happening until it's happened. Saudi Arabia is a current example; they are winding down their food production because of exactly this issue.

Falling Water Tables in China May Soon Raise Food Prices Everywhere

Water Deficits Growing in Many Countries

A World Bank study of the water balance in the North China Plain calculated an annual deficit of 37 billion tons of water. Using the rule of thumb of 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain, this is equal to 37 million tons of grain--enough to feed 111 million Chinese at their current level of consumption. In effect, 111 million Chinese are being fed with grain produced with water that belongs to their children.

The fact that the Chinese authorities are taking this issue seriously has to be positive IMO. I don't believe it's propaganda.

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UK land area amounts to about one acre each at our current population; much of that is paved-over or marginal. A future in which we had to rely on our native food-producing resources would be unimaginably different from what we're used to.

Take away set-aside, bring some more areas into production, eat less meat.. doesn't actually take much to bring the UK into food balance.

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It doesn't take the brains of an archbishop to realise populations and economies cannot keep growing forever. It's the elephant in the room, especially for capitalists.

Unfortunately we have the brains of economists to deal with, and they believe that the planet is infinite.

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China should expand china.

Do what the Americans did with Alaska.

They could buy 80% of Mongolia which is just north of china.

Pay them $45B for the land distributed amongst their 3million population would be equivlant to $15k for every man woman and child. The mongals would accept considering the average wage is under $2k per year so a family being offered $75k would jump at it. China gets a huge amount of land (Mongolia is massive) for what is for them less than a months savings and the Mongols get lots of dosh.

They could do the same with Kazakhstan.

Or even just integrate Mongolia with china. The 3 mil population would easily dissolve into the 1B plus of china.

Last time I looked, China aren't in the business of buying.

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