DEAR READERS: Americans are feeling the pinch in grocery stores as prices for bacon, steaks and chicken breasts soar, in part because of pandemic-related supply chain breakdowns. All of this is compounded by rising fuel and animal feed costs, and now, the emerging shortage of food grains and fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine, of which other countries are in dire need.
The Minnesota Star Tribune published an opinion piece in May, “War will bring famine unless America acts,” which was written by a distinguished professor of economics (Carlisle Ford Runge) and a former Cargill executive (Robbin S. Johnson). The writers suggest some remedial actions that will only exacerbate the climate change that this war is already intensifying. They suggest converting land from Minnesota’s Conservation Reserve Program to food crop production to help feed the hungry world. But this will reduce biodiversity and increase carbon emissions as this vital sink of carbon-sequestering soil and vegetation is destroyed. To take advantage of the food crisis created by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — like fossil fuel companies are taking advantage of the fuel shortages — is ethically untenable and will only worsen climate change.