European Farmers Are Once Again Protesting Net-Zero Plans - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
European Farmers Are Once Again Protesting Net-Zero Plans
Farmers drive tractors through the streets of Brussels, Belgium, on March 3, 2023 (Republic World/YouTube)

The peasants are rising up again. In Belgium, farmers flooded the streets of Brussels last week with over 2,000 tractors to protest their government’s plan to limit nitrogen emissions. For these farmers, almost everything is at stake — not only their livelihoods, but also their way of life. Of course, the rest of us also have a big stake in all of this: fewer productive farms means less food in the world. How much less? We’ll get to that presently.

In a quirky inverted sort of way, what is happening now has been a long time coming. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich published a bestselling book, The Population Bomb, that promoted the Malthusian thesis that because food production could not keep up with population growth, people would starve to death. Ehrlich predicted that people would be starving by the millions in the 1970s, but, as it turns out, that didn’t happen because of the Green Revolution, which was the implementation of advanced agricultural innovations into less developed countries.

Spurred on by agriculture scientist Norman Burlaug, who later won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, this program consisted in applying well-understood irrigation principles, mechanizing farm work, and increasing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The result was breathtakingly dramatic. It has been estimated that the Green Revolution saved a billion people from starvation. Also instrumental in the Green Revolution was the development of hybrid rice varieties by Chinese agronomist Luan Yongping. All of these innovations taken together resulted in the fact that, in the years prior to the COVID pandemic, the world as a whole was better fed than ever before in all of human history.

But now the environmental Luddites want to reverse all of these gains and thereby create food scarcity on the planet.

Creating scarcity by reversing the development of the earth’s resources is a multi-pronged affair in the climate alarmists’ net-zero agenda. Since their predictions of doom haven’t panned out in the long-run, they are now hell-bent on turning these predictions into self-fulfilling prophecies. It must be remembered that just around the time that Ehrlich was predicting that we were about to run out of food and massively starve to death, other prophets of doom were predicting that we were going to run out of petroleum and suffer from all of the misery that that would entail. Imagine, people actually thought that way in the not-too-distant past! Coincidentally, the greatest panic about this worry occurred in 1973 during the OPEC oil embargo, which resulted in long lines at gas stations, along with all sorts of scuffles along the way. As it turned out, however, these predictions were also foiled not only by the ongoing discovery of new petroleum resources by conventional means, but also by the innovation known as fracking.

So now, all of the innovations that made the prophets of doom out to be fools have been designated as being the enemy. Green Revolution, fracking — “How dare you!” — that is to say, how dare you adapt when you were supposed to have died! The scarcity crowd, the old-fashioned adherents to that dismal science, are to make the catastrophe happen. Having waged a war for decades against carbon dioxide, they are now opening a new front against nitrogen, which, up until recently, has been on their back-burner.

But carbon dioxide is plant food and since plants are at the bottom of the food chain, not only they but everything above them will be affected. Nitrogen is also an absolute necessity for the survival of humans and most of the natural world. Every protein in the human body is made up of amino acids, and nitrogen is a component of every one of the amino acids found in our bodies, without which we simply would not exist. Though nitrogen constitutes about 78 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, it can only be absorbed by plants when fixed in the soil, hence fertilizer. The net-zero campaign against nitrogen is all about less food by design. It is part and parcel of the campaign to cut back on fossil fuel production.

If the catastrophes that were predicted to happen did not happen on their own, then we must make them happen in order to prove ourselves right.

These governmental directives take different forms. In the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is trying to drastically cut back the production of meat, which is one of Holland’s major exports. Meanwhile in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to cut back the production of wheat, which demonstrates that the crusade is not merely about getting you off the top of the food chain, which would naturally appeal to the vegans of the world, but rather taking the food, any food, out of your mouth.

Not surprisingly, ordinary people won’t have it. In Sri Lanka, after the government instituted what can best be described as an anti-Green Revolution by banning the use of chemical fertilizers, the people rioted, burned down the government buildings, and the president ended up fleeing the country. And while farmers in the Netherlands and Belgium continue to push back with protests, in Canada, when Trudeau said that he was going to send inspectors to test the soil of farms for nitrogen content, Scott Moe, the premier of Saskatchewan, where most of Canada’s wheat is grown, said that he too wouldn’t have it and that if Trudeau did indeed send inspectors to test the soil, he would have them arrested for trespassing.

In our time, nothing is more illustrative of the Big Lie as a tool of propaganda than the appropriation of the term “green” by the climate alarmists. In point of fact, their “green” program is the exact opposite of the program of the Green Revolution and, if implemented in scale, would ultimately have the exact opposite results. Undoubtedly, the undereducated and overfed Eurocratic brats that are issuing to clueless politicians the edicts to reduce the production of food do not intend to go hungry themselves, but they may very well experience a rude awakening. The Dutch critic Eva Vlaardingerbroek has tweeted, “The farmers form virtually the only self-reliant societal group in the Netherlands that has enough manpower to bring the government to its knees. And that’s exactly why they’re trying to get rid of them”

The net-zero program to reverse the Green Revolution will not sit well not only with farmers, but also with the vast majority of ordinary people. In a recent paper published by the nonprofit CO2Coalition, “Challenging Net Zero with Science,” William Happer of Princeton University and Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology maintain that, if implemented, the policies of the net-zero gang would mean that billions would go hungry and millions would die of starvation. Of course, the hardest hit will be the poorest and most vulnerable of the world. The rest of us will merely be paying through the nose for our food.

It is almost unimaginable that things will ever get that far. More likely, what will happen is that if pushed far enough, people will do what the people of Sri Lanka have done, and it won’t be pretty.


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