NC State Economist Talks Biotech Food in The NY Times

October 29, 2009
By Chris Richter

Michael Roberts, an assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics, is back on The New York TimesRoom for Debate blog (we linked previously to his May appearance). This time, he responded to the question “Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?” One of his concerns:

I am mindful of arguments coming from technological optimists who believe crop yields will continue to rise, that there is plenty of oil still left to find and that geo-engineering will solve global warming.

But I don’t think today’s doomsayers are a few voices in small corners of the scientific community. There is a real threat to worldwide food security over the next 10 to 40 years. The threat comes from global income inequality combined with projected global warming, which could cause tremendous declines in crop yields.

As he writes in his follow up on his excellent Greed, Green and Grains blog:

I don’t think biotech crops are evil and could be a big help, especially in developing nations.  But I think we’d be naive to think these will solve all the world’s food problems going forward.  Maybe they will but they probably won’t.

Roberts and a colleague from Columbia University published a paper in August that made some startling predictions about declines in crop yields due to global warming.

h/t to @ncstatenews


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