Climate Change: Stripping Food of Nutrients

June 18, 2018

Is that bad? That sounds bad.

But I thought “CO2 is plant food”.
Video above is 8 years old, one of my “Climate Denial Crock” series –  but more current than ever.

DeutscheWelle:

A new study has further revealed how climate change is reducing yields and sucking the nutrients from our vegetables and legumes, raising serious questions over the future of food security and public health around the world.

The report, which was led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is apparently the first of its kind to methodically examine to what extent environmental changes such as water scarcity, increases in temperature and a greater concentration of carbon dioxide could impact the nutritional quality and yield of crops vital to our everyday nutrition.

Previous research into the impact of environmental change on food has mostly focused on the yield of staple crops such as wheat, rice and corn. However, there has been comparatively little discussion on how climate change is affecting nutritious foods that are considered more important to a healthy diet.

The phenomenon of crops being stripped of their high nutritional qualities due to environmental factors has become known as the “junk food effect.”

For some time now, researchers have been aware that many of our most important plant-based foods are becoming less nutritious. Studies have shown how the mineral, protein and vitamin content in fruits and vegetables has decreased over the past few decades, although until recently this had been explained away by the fact that we had been prioritizing higher yields over nutrition.

“Vegetables and legumes are vital components of a healthy, balanced and sustainable diet, and nutritional guidelines consistently advise people to incorporate more vegetables and legumes into their diet,” says lead author Pauline Scheelbeek.

“However, our new analysis suggests that this advice conflicts with the potential impacts of environmental changes that will decrease the availability of these crops.”

The carbon dioxide factor

Alongside water scarcity and increasing temperatures, higher levels of carbon dioxide are being blamed for stripping crops of their nutritional value.

But carbon dioxide is good for plants, so why should we be worried about rising CO2 levels? While it’s true that plants do require carbon dioxide in order to grow and thrive, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Rising carbon dioxide levels ramp up the process of photosynthesis — which is what allows plants to transform sunlight into food. While this certainly helps plants grow, it has the side effect of causing them to produce more simple carbohydrates such as glucose.

And this comes at the expense of other important nutrients we need in order to stay healthy including protein, zinc and iron.

Weather Network:

Rice is the primary food source for more than 3 billion people around the world. Many are unable to afford a diverse and nutritious diet that includes complete protein, grains, fruits and vegetables. They rely heavily on more affordable cereal crops, including rice, for most of their calories.

My research focuses on health risks associated with climate variability and change. In a recently published study, I worked with scientists from China, Japan, Australia and the United States to assess how the rising carbon dioxide concentrations that are fueling climate change could alter the nutritional value of rice. We conducted field studies in Asia for multiple genetically diverse rice lines, analyzing how rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere altered levels of protein, micronutrients and B vitamins.

Our data showed for the first time that rice grown at the concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide scientists expect the world to reach by 2100 has lower levels of four key B vitamins. These findings also support research from other field studies showing rice grown under such conditions contains less protein, iron and zinc, which are important in fetal and early child development. These changes could have a disproportionate impact on maternal and child health in the poorest rice-dependent countries, including Bangladesh and Cambodia.

Concentrations of minerals critical for human health, particularly iron and zinc, do not change in unison with CO2 concentrations. Current understanding of plant physiology suggests that major cereal crops – particularly rice and wheat – respond to higher CO2 concentrations by synthesizing more carbohydrates (starches and sugars) and less protein, and by reducing the quantity of minerals in their grains.

 

 

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7 Responses to “Climate Change: Stripping Food of Nutrients”

  1. Abel Adamski Says:

    A simple one, tomato’s , when I was growing up dad had a great vege garden – the tomato’s were plump, juicy and oh so tasty, loved my sandwiches with tomato’s.
    Also fruit trees etc,The Fowlers preserving outfit used to get a real workout
    Commercial crops of course were grown for firmness for keeping and transportation qualities and were inferior for taste, but still far better than todays offerings from greenhouses where CO2 is pumped in to maximise growth and color with a very substantial drop in flavour and the important bits nutritionally, this is recognised and the geneticists are working on a fix, but it is the combination of factors, factory farming and growth maximisers including CO2.
    The only time I can enjoy a “real” tomato is visting family in the country who still grow from those original Grosse Lisse seeds or from European neighbors who have their own vege gardens using old seed varieties.
    But most people have no idea

  2. Abel Adamski Says:

    Just ban update on Tesla
    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/06/elon-musk-allegedly-tells-tesla-staff-to-remain-extremely-vigilant-amid-sabotage-factory-fire/

    From: Elon Musk

    To: Everybody

    Subject: Some concerning news

    June 17, 2018

    11:57 p.m.

    I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.

    The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.

    However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organisations.

    As you know, there are a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumour has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?

    Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole. Occasionally, it is much more serious.

    Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.

    If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible. This can be done in your name, which will be kept confidential, or completely anonymously.

    Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week!

    Will follow this up with emails every few days describing the progress and challenges of the Model 3 ramp.

    Thanks for working so hard to make Tesla successful,

    Elon

    From: Elon Musk

    To: Everybody

    Subject: Some concerning news

    June 17, 2018

    11:57 p.m.

    I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.

    The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.

    However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organisations.

    As you know, there are a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumour has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?

    Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole. Occasionally, it is much more serious.
    Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.

    If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible. This can be done in your name, which will be kept confidential, or completely anonymously.

    Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week!

    Will follow this up with emails every few days describing the progress and challenges of the Model 3 ramp.

    Thanks for working so hard to make Tesla successful,

    Elon

    From: Elon Musk

    To: Everybody

    Subject: Some concerning news

    June 18, 2018

    9:38 a.m.

    Late last night we had another strange incident that was hard to explain. Small fire on the body-in-white production line. No one was in the area and there were no injuries or significant equipment damage, but it was enough to stop the body production line for several hours.

    Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, “Only the paranoid survive.” Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company. If you aren’t getting a response from the emdesk email, please send me a note directly.

    Thanks,

    Elon

    • neilrieck Says:

      Electric vehicles will be necessary to reduce atmospheric CO2 (provided the electricity is not produced by burning fossil fuels). That said, I have never understood the actions of the internal corporate saboteur; especially one who does not understand that he is shooting himself in his own foot.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      OT but interesting. Will he soon be blaming Democrats and the Fake News Media for Tesla’s problems? Or the Chinese? I demand an independent investigation to see if there is any truth to all this.

      BTW, a Tesla-S burst into flames while being driven in CA—-no big deal, says Tesla.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tesla-electric-vehicle-fire-mary-mccormack-tweet/

  3. Abel Adamski Says:

    Sorry for the double post

  4. neilrieck Says:

    It is a scientific fact that many plants do a little better with higher levels of atmospheric CO2. What is less known is this: production of plant proteins require nitrogen, and this element is usually provided by nitrogen fixation (which is usually done by microorganisms) -or- adding man-made fertilizers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_fixation

    This means that plants grown in a higher CO2 environment without man-made fertilizers will be less nutritious. Please visit this article for more details:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23831754-200-plants-love-carbon-dioxide-but-too-much-could-be-bad-for-them/

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Optimal plant growth requires that the conditions they evolved under for millions of years be present and maintained. We have altered those conditions through the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and factory farming practices. Soil contains a complex community of mostly invisible critters, and soils all over the world have been heavily damaged and are not as productive as they once were.

      It’s a downward spiral that reduces the nutrition level of food plants and lessens the survival and success rates of any “natural” plants that try to recolonize areas that have been farmed for crops or stripped of natural forests for tree plantations.

      Perhaps the best book I have read in years is The Overstory, a novel by Richard Powers (Norton, 2018). It interweaves the stories of nine strangers who come together to try to save a last bit of virgin forest in the Pacific NW. An almost “religious” but scientific exploration of how trees evolved over billions of years and how they relate to one another through the soil and air is woven into the story—-a WOW book—-I recommend it highly.


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