Going Green and Frankenfood

Irrigation, fertilizers, and increased CO2 in the air have turned parts of the world green, especially in previously dry desert- and shrub-lands. – Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

 Satellite data shows the per cent amount that foliage cover has changed around the world from 1982 to 2010.
Satellite data shows the per cent amount that foliage cover has changed around the world from 1982 to 2010.


Going Green and Frankenfood

By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser January 14, 2016

Satellite data shows the per cent amount that foliage cover has changed around the world from 1982 to 2010.

The world is going green – literally, in all kinds of places that were desert-like before.

Have you ever been in an airplane crossing the semi-arid foot hills of the Rocky Mountains and looking down at the ground? You’ll have seen large green, circular patches between the miles of dry brown land. Those patches are irrigated fields sprouting vegetables and fruits of various kinds. They are providing the ample food for the supermarket near you – and the world at large.

What Plants Need to Grow

Plants need just a few things to grow, water, nutrients, and sunshine. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is just one of those vital nutrients. However that CO2 has become more readily available, thanks to mankind’s combustion of fossil fuels.

Just a couple of hundred years ago, with atmospheric CO2 down to 0.02- 0.03%, the globe’s plants were nearly starved of that vital CO2 nutrient. Its natural sources, volcanoes and fumaroles, just could not keep up supplying enough CO2 to the atmosphere to even maintain a steady state between production and consumption. You might say the consumption side took over – somewhat reminiscent of today’s economics.

Luckily for life on earth, nature (in the form of anthropogenic “carbon” emissions) came to the rescue. Ever since, the world has been greening, all around. From the ancient sequoias in California, to the vineyards in Canada, agriculture has experienced hitherto unforeseeable increases in production on all continents (excluding Antarctica). Especially in previous dry desert- and shrub-lands, irrigation, (synthetic) fertilizers, and increased CO2 in the air have turned those parts of the world green. For example, the Sahel (region south of the Sahara desert in Africa) has seen a steady greening.

Apart from more stretches of arable land, the most significant agricultural gain is from increased yields.

Agricultural Yields

Back in the 1800s, agricultural yields had begun to improve with intensive selection of better cultivars, research on soil and nutrient requirement and related methods to increase yields. Gregor Mendel`s research work was of paramount importance for that development. It was successful and provided a slow but steady progress towards higher yields. Increased yields, in turn, enabled the diversion of human ingenuity to (then) more “esoteric” ideas, i.e. like inventions, like the Jacquard loom (1801) and the high pressure steam engine.

Some of those 19th century steam engines and their large fly wheels were in operation for one hundred years or more. One great example is at the “water works” of the City of Hamilton, Ontario. The venerable buildings house an equally venerable steam engine with a humongous fly wheel that operated for over a century pumping water from Lake Ontario to the city. Today, the facility houses the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology National Historic Site and provides a venue for a variety of movie shoots, like the widely watched series Murdoch Mysteries.

Now, where did I go again; oh, agricultural yields. Yes, humans came up with another great advance to increase agricultural yields by leaps and bounds, namely genetically engineered varieties. By now, that invention has become so dominant that steadily more fruits and vegetables are becoming genetically engineered in some way.

Those genetically-modified (GMO) plants are commonly more resistant to adverse influences, from competition with all kinds of natural weeds (due to a higher resistance to herbicides), to insects or fungi that negatively affect the yields, storage and distribution of the produce. In fact, more than 90% of all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. and Canada are now of that GMO variety. GMO organisms (not just plants), however, are still despised in many areas; some people call them “Frankenfood.”

GMO Organisms & Foreign Species

Despite its great increase in yields and established safety record for a couple of decades now, the German Agriculture Minister announced in August 2015 a ban on GMO crops. Some EU countries have opted out of that ban requirement, but the majority went along with it.

What’s so strange about all that, at least in my mind, is that Europe is absolutely dependent on plants originating from the American continents to feed their populations, with or without GMO-type plant varieties. Prior to the discovery of the Americas by Columbus, widespread famines were common place.

Without the introduction of potato, tomato, corn (in Europe called maize) and other plants from overseas, Europe’s population would still be starving and certainly not in a position to welcome millions of migrants from other continents. For example, the great (potato) famine in Ireland (in the 1840s) was caused by virus and fungus infections of the potato plant, by then a local staple, resulting in the death of a million people. But the list of introduced species does not end with important food plants; there are also other organisms of increasing importance.

Other introduced species include a variety of carp, i.e. “mirror carp.” Served in many restaurants especially around Easter, it also is an introduced species in Europe, having arrived there already a few centuries ago from Asia. Another (intentionally) introduced fish species, the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) also does well in many European creeks and rivers. Even a tree species currently planted in many “managed” forest plots in Europe is from the Americas, like the “Douglasia” spruce (Pseudotsuga menziesii), also known as Oregon pine. In short, Europe is full of alien species of various kinds and has become heavily dependent on them.

It should be recognized that the new abundance of food and fodder in the world is not only a result of introduction from other continents or the result of genetic modifications. Indeed, the greening of the world is also the consequence of the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide level that’s beneficial to plants worldwide.

Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts.
See convenientmyths.com

Dr. Kaiser, scientist and author, has been conducting research for more than four decades. After receiving his doctorate in chemistry from the Technical University Munich, he joined Environment Canada’s National Water Research Institute where he served as research scientist and project manager for several research groups. He represented the institute at a variety of national and international committees, gave numerous presentations at scientific conferences, was editorial board member and peer reviewer for several journals, adjunct professor and external reviewer of university theses, and was the Editor-in- Chief of the the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly ten years.

Dr. Kaiser is an author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and national and international agency reports, books, trade magazines, and newspapers. He has been president of the Intl. Association for Great Lakes Research, and is a recipient of the Intl. QSAR Award. He is currently Director of Research of TerraBase Inc., and is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

Dr. Kaiser is widely recognized for his expertise in environmental chemistry and his “no-nonsense” approach to issues.


Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: mail@convenientmyths.com

33 thoughts on “Going Green and Frankenfood”

  1. I learned in high school biology (or maybe elementary school biology) that CO2 was plant food, without which plants cannot grow, no CO2, no plants, no food, no animals, no us.

    One might imagine that the “Anit-CO2 Activists” and at least some of their fellow travelers, politicians, scientists, might remember this, but apparently not.

    A great mystery. Maybe there is a mass global pandemic of undiagnosed Alzheimers disease among the Ruling Class.

  2. The GMOs are deadly I can eat old style non GMO corn. The GMOs make my joints ache and make me blow up like a balloon. Before you ask how I know the difference I use heirloom seeds in my yard. I rarely eat out we get kitvhenette hotels and bring our own food.

  3. 13 January 2016, with video
    Moscow, the capital of Russia, is currently in the grip of a major snow storm.
    Heavy snow like that might bring normal life in the UK to a standstill but not in Moscow.
    The locals are used to extreme winter weather and the city has 15,000 snow ploughs and trucks working night and day to keep the city moving.
    Steve Rosenberg, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, showed us some of the incredible machines keeping Moscow up and running.

    The snow cover in Estonia reached 40 cm. Jan. 14, 2016
    The situation is complicated beacuse heavy snowfall continues throughout the day – in some places the snow depth exceeds 40 cm. According to the forecasts of meteorologists, rainfall will continue in the coming hours, the danger of ice on the roads.
    In the largest residential area Lasnamäe Tallinn increased the number of teams to clean the snow and special vehicles.
    For weather forecasts, in the afternoon on January 14 in Estonia will be partly sunny. Mostly – snow and blizzard. Wind north-westerly direction up to 10 meters per second. The temperature of the air – up to – minus 13 degrees C.

  4. Forbes had an article a while back that stated genetic modification has been around since the nineteen-forties. Back then scientists took bags of seeds and bombarded them with radiation to scramble the DNA. Then they planted the seeds.

    Most of the new plants were worse than the original but the occasionally the scrambled seed produced something superior. Eventually the new variety was brought to market.

    This may be how the ruby red grapefruit was developed.

    Before 1970 Grapefruit was yellow on the inside and bitter. The ruby red variety has red flesh and is deliciously sweet.

    So we have been eating GM food for decades. All Monsanto has done is to purposefully create new varieties by rearranging DNA in the lab.

    The Forbes article seems to confirm the writings of our genial host, Robert W Felix, who describes in Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps how nature creates new species by bombarding DNA during magnetic reversals.

  5. I am disturbed by the way this article promotes Genetically Modified food as though it is an absolute necessity and should be praised.
    In 2015, here in New Zealand, Swedes that had been developed to withstand herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, were fed to cattle after which thousands died. The story has not been largely taken up but the possibility of these feeds being able to take up larger quantities of toxins that are then passed on up the food chain seems to be a dangerous practice to me.
    What is the sense of investing hugely into these foods if they are going to kill you in the long term ?
    Plus, does this article really relate to an imminent Ice Age ?
    Wander too far from the point of this site and my interest will go cynical.

  6. The safety of GMO plants has not been established. It was a primitive attempt to corner the world’s cereal seed market by patenting.
    There are 2 issues with GMO foods. One is that they are introducing new protein structures that humans have never been exposed to before.
    The second is the expanded use of glyphosate (Roundup) on both GMO and conventional crops (as a desiccant). Glyphosate poisons the gut bacteria killing the beneficial ones 1000 to 1 over the harmful ones. It also damages the lining of the intestinal wall allowing large particles to go into the blood stream.
    And to top it all off the marker assisted selection (MAS) is succeeding where the GMO engineering has failed.

    Roundup ready weeds are now getting to be a serious problem brought about by the overuse of glyphosate.

    It is strange why some people try to link global warming and genetic engineering of foods as they are totally different subjects. The extra CO2 helps plants and is not a danger to the climate. The GMO foods are not proven safe and have been beaten by the MAS approach.

  7. France on alert as snow storms sweep through
    Published: 15 Jan 2016
    Parts of France welcomed the first snowfalls of winter on Friday as the country’s weather agency issued alerts as snow storms approach the north east.
    Weather agency Météo France issued an “orange alert” on Friday for the départements of Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, and Bas-Rhin – all in the north eastern corner of France.
    It predicted “significant amounts” of snowfall or sleet – up to 15 centimetres in fact – to fall in the area throughout Friday afternoon and into the evening.

    Snowy Denmark brrr-aces for cold weekend Published: 14 Jan 2016
    As residents on Thursday were digging out from another round of snowfall, forecasts for the weekend were calling for temperatures to drop as low as -11C.
    Thursday dropped upwards of 20cm of snow on parts of Denmark and the white blanket covering most of the country is almost certain to stick around with temperatures barely expected to exceed the freezing point until Monday.
    According to TV2, parts of northern Jutland received close to 20cm of snow, with confirmed measurements of 15cm near Aalborg by mid-morning. In the Copenhagen area, snowfall totals were closer to 6cm, while southern Jutland and the islands of Funen and Lolland-Falster had only negligible snowfall.

  8. Al Jazeera confirms snow (hail) in Saudi Arabia. January 15, 2016
    Video .. snow coats the migration route.
    Tightening stock falling hailstones heavily between Mecca and Medina goers road and residents of nearby villages to hail site; where covered various parts of the region, which has taken on in white, and relay Mtabao social networking sites and new applications a lot of photos and video clips that showed enjoy many in this atmosphere and scenic nature, while others exercise hobby Alttaas above the snow in the simulation of Ttaas preferred above the sand.
    For his part, a researcher at the weather, climate and member of the Committee naming distinctive climatic conditions in Saudi Abdulaziz Al Hussaini’s (Island online), that “snow seen on the migration route between Medina and Mecca formed as a result provide good moisture for the layers of the upper atmosphere led to the emergence of Cumulus huge, These clouds -bakdrh God and Almighty originated on that area and has evolved to become a giant clouds, and the movement is relatively slow, resulting in high altitude to the descent of the cold dense and heavy rain and God Praise, “expected” constitute a withdrawal similar between Mecca and Jizan through Taif and Al Baha Asir and, God willing. ”

    Reader’s comment: This news item is only in Arabic and cannot be found on the English spoken website of Al Jazeeera.

  9. aargh
    yes sahels greening, and the aus Ord river irrigation areas been enlarged, but..the bit re GMO enhancing anything?
    reducing chemical use?
    increasing yields?
    err NO
    chem use of pesticides and weedicides has grown
    artificial fertiliser is byproduct waste of oil etc processing and started to be used after the WW2 debacle.they had all the tocix crap and no where to use it..so they started dumping it at a price..onto farms
    they even tried using Melamine as nitrogenous fert..it doesnt work btw
    chem fertilisers do NOT improve soils, they may enable some growth , sure, but compared to rockdusts or even poop theyre a sad sad runner up
    they dont enhance soils OR the biota plants depend on, more often they kill it.
    I ran a small soil test lab some yrs ago..the soils that had glyphosate on them, and artificial nutrient, had the lowest countd for biota, if they had any at all,
    and I gave them every chance to show up with extended moisture and ambient temps to encourage them.
    I saw a hell of a lot of moulds and rust etc. because the idiotic no till just spray the crap outta it theory- leaves roots and stems to develop diseases. and they do NOT add to soils in places that have a hot dry summer, in fact they ADD to our fire risk! they simply sit and dessicate on top and dryout and do naff all underneath, then rot in winter rains
    while a decent burnoff and then ploughover burnt the weed seeds added biochar and got oxygen TO the microbes as well as allowing moisture to get IN to the soils, not to runoff hardpan.
    the GMO for saving the world LIE gives me the major irrits
    the fact the big aggroPHarma mobs are pushing their crud as a pro agw saver solution oughta ring alarm bells loudly.
    tests done on GMO cornstubble show the BT bacteria moving into soils and pests are already gaining immunity to them
    hence the newest multi chem tolerant toxic crops.
    245D and glyphosate for a start, some up to 6 variants.
    do the crops really produce more?
    data says NO in fact.
    any hybrid will usually produce more. it does NOT need to be a gmo crop.
    Every hybrid will NOT breed true for second year..so the farmer growing it needs to BUY at a high price every season.
    saving your seed saves many thousands, and gives you freedom from the track n harrassment the bigagri crowd are so good at.
    and then the amazing rise in food intolerances?
    in the same span as we have been using glyphostae and GMO crops?
    many of us do NOT think so.
    buying up every small seed supplier to corner the market and remove the options to consumers..yes that exactly what theyve been doing for many years!
    what do you do?
    BUY Heritage seeds only NON hybrids. save the seeds from the best plants, and share them with others.
    use natural rockdust and manures.
    be smart and avoid the pitfalls of false prophets for profit.
    see Joel Salatins webpages. and many others. fight back!

  10. I just find it hard to believe that man is helping plants with c02 in any noticeable way. GMO crops could and should be a benefit, not used against us to sell chemicals and raise the price of food. I haven’t seen an earthworm in a cornfield since the early 70s, farmers now often have to spray urea on toxic stalks because the breakdown process is so slow. One farmer I know grows some non gmo, he gets a little better price,not much, he also has to throw the first 80 rows around the edge of the nongmo field in with the gmo stuff due to cross contamination of pollen. Is that fair to someone who would want to grow all nongmo?

  11. Both farming and ranching, are now, and always have been completely dependant on genetic manipulation. Our domestic crops bear very little resemblance to their wild ancestors. Our domestic animals are no different, a chihuahua and a Great Dane from a wolf. We have hundreds of breeds of cattle and chickens etc all from a single common ancestor line. Selecting appropriate seeds and breeding pairs is intrinsic to successfull agriculture.

    • I don’t think crossbreeding of plants & animals is quite like GMO, MyShetland sheepdogs were created by crossbreeding circa 1700-no gmo’s. Ialways grow different types & colors of corn, I can take out any color I want and have a whole patch of that color in just a couple of years with only a few throwbacks- no GMO, Natural is Natural- implanting genes is not.

      • do you happen to have “jewel corn” by any chance?
        been trying to get seed for years
        I have blue /bloody butcher -deep red with reddish cob/black, and the varicoloured reds/blues from crossings

        • I have grown a black jewel popcorn and it’s heirloom & available in some stores & seed magazines here. I grow a tiny kernel yellow Amish heirloom called Ladyfinger, tastes excellent & no big hulls.

    • however..the difference between a NATURAL variant being bred from over generations and something gene spliced that is highly unlikely to ever have occured in nature
      ie BT IN crops- cross species genes in any way shape or form..
      as I said elsewhere you can get hybrid grains to do well.. for ONE crop after youve crossed then they revert..and usually are plain useless.
      and they are naturally happy to cross same speies or close relateds
      the only one I know thats bred true is Triticale. wheat oat barley combo
      and am not sure how stable that is long term either actually.

    • There is a very big difference between gene selection which has been practiced for a few thousand years, and gene manipulation by introduction of cross species material. The two processes can not be compared.

  12. However that CO2 has become more readily available, thanks to mankind’s combustion of fossil fuels.

    Yes. up to a point, the vast majority of the increase in CO2 has come from out gassing from warming sea waters during the recent three high output solar cycles 21, 22 and 23, as well as increased volcanism and rifting during SC20 and SC24.

  13. New topic: See Carbon Emissions Postpone Iceage at BBC.com
    The next ice age may have been delayed by over 50,000 years because of the greenhouse gases put in the atmosphere by humans, scientists in Germany say.
    They analysed the trigger conditions for a glaciation, like the one that gripped Earth over 12,000 years ago.

  14. Fine on the “greening” aspect, but misses the mark on GMOs and introduced species.

    First, GMOs. The introduced gene for BT toxin puts a proven allergen on the surface of every cell of the plant. It can not be washed off like regular BT treatments. As someone with immunoglobulin E, I am more resistant o parasites, but prone to allergies. Every allergy prone person can look forward to the day they can no longer eat corn, soy, and every other plant so modified. I already react to corn…

    The introductio of Roundup Resistance, in addition to creating super weeds since genes do NOT stay in the target species, also means your food and the land is drenched in ever higher load of glyphosate and the adjuncts in it. This has know mineral chelating effects, and is a suspected carcinogen along with other bad effects. There is already a superweed that picked up the Roundup Ready gene in Japan.

    That’s the super short list of issues. There are many more.

    Per Europe needing plants from the Americas: While it is helpful and adds variety, it isn’t essential. The Americas got just as much from Europe.

    Europe can happily live on wheat, rye, barley, oats, fava beans, peas, lentils, cabbages and kales, beets, turnips, onions, carrots, and many more. Beef and sheep grazed on grassland.

    What America provided was corn (maize) that is largely fed to poultry and hogs (who are just as happy with the other grains), potatoes, and the common bean along with squashes. The European beans yield about the same as the American beans, so that is a “wash”, squash is nutritionally no great leap over European vegetables, and grains from Europe are preferred for human food (i.e. French Bread).

    The only big loser would be grain fed meat animals, where the grass fed ones have a better omega 3:6 ratio in their fats while high omega-6 meeat from grain fed and direct corn oil production directly increase inflammatory disease issues. Having more arthritis does not seem a ‘feature’ to me…

    The potato did help in The Little Ice Age when heavy rains blew down tall wheats and armies burned fields (the potato being underground doesn’t burn well…), but that was an act of stupid people, not an essential of European agriculture. Today we have very short stem varieties of wheat, so blow down is much reduced.

    Globally, THE largest tonnage crop is sugarcane. We care more about added sweetner than grain calories. Second is maize mostly fed to animals in economically advanced countries (and increasingly to our cars…40% of crop in the USA). We prefere one pound of pork chops to 3 pounds ofcorn tortillas…

    Europe would not starve with black coffee instead of sweet, bread instead of frosted cakes, and oats for breakfast instead of cornflakes and bacon. Maybe not as happy… or maybe more so with fewer dental problems and less heart attacks, obesity, and arthritis…

    Think a bit more about your thesis and look at tonnage yields of alternative Europe native plants, and where the corn actually goes.

    BTW, I didn’t address soy beans as they are from Asia, but similar things apply vis omega-6 oils and feeding pigs and chickens, along with roundup and similar GMO issues. My niece can no longer eat anything with soy in it… Look at the studies of gut damage and infertility problems in animals fed a lot of GMO feeds, especially BT toxin corn and soy.

  15. Just a brief note in reply to several comments:
    1) @ Truscia Falconer
    We had several private emails on your comment as below; in short: turnips (you call them swedes; AKA rutabagas) are a root veggie; the above ground parts are not for consumption, like potatoes.
    2) @ TRM
    The first issue (new protein structures) ought not be an issue as they comprise the “same old” amino acids.
    Re your second point (glyphosate pesticide use), I think that GMO effectively provides for REDUCED use of such materials when compared with non-GMO plants.
    3) @ Laurel
    Sorry, I’m cannot watch or listen to aljaizirahonline.com
    [and the translation lacks clarity].
    4) @ squatterman
    Can you provide me with more info re “toxic stalks” and “breakdown process”?
    5) @ CraigAustin
    6) @ Jimbob
    Agree, mostly.
    7) @ E.M.Smith
    Just a couple of questions her4e:
    a) What “super weeds”?
    b) How would Europe be able to feed itself without potatoes (or imports of this or other staples)?

    • K Kaiser, can I provide info? probably no more than you could show me proof of earth worms out there. Corn stalks have always been a problem, some of it’s due to no till, some use stalk choppers,some spray urea,but did Monsanto, or Chevron provide any of us on Lab results of genetic & chemical experiments? I argue about this with my brother, he farms corn & soy.When the corn borer eats the corn ,it crystalizes their stomachs, did anyone give you proof that when something else eats the stalk or pollen that that the gene doesn’t have any effects on them? My brother say’s oh, they wouldn’t do that. I need more than that too. Do you know how much arsenic is in chemicals, if any?

    • err I didnt send al jazeera I linked to newint and a lds page I came across

      I heard aljazeera usa is shutting down btw -Fauxnooze is easier to accept in usa I gather:-)

    • oh and your reply to EM Smith
      eu needent go without spuds
      just NOT monocropped one type which was what did the irish in..the “lumper variety was pretty much a one type only so succumbed to blight
      mant thousands of natural NON GMO spuds we can all grow

      and the Irish lived on spuds cos they were forced to as their corn wheat etc was sold to the Brits while they went without. its not that there was no food..same as for the Scots
      the rich and the Brits had the land ownership n power and abused the people..starving people dont have the strength to fight

    • I can tell you that in Australia we had wild oats develop GM resistance within 5 yrs of roundup overuse
      marshmallows dont always die and 3corner jack laughs at it
      garden weeds like Couchgrass(think you call it crabgrass?) and Kikuya an african grass that smothers everything climbs walls and is a far bas##rd to dig out also has a tolerance from overuse of roundup etc used by homeowners(many using overstrong mixes now too) and councils
      and the runoff from parks n footpaths is ignored as it goes into the drains and to sea untreated
      while they bitch at farmers up north in qld many miles inland for chem killing the damned reef.
      and BEES ..get gut upsets if let fly on any crops sprayed with glyphosate and die on the GM Canola and the supposed non gm clearfield mutant crops also

    • 2) @ TRM
      “The first issue (new protein structures) ought not be an issue as they comprise the “same old” amino acids.”

      – I am not going to risk my and my family’s health on “ought not to be an issue”. Seralini’s work (and others) have clearly shown serious issues.

      “Re your second point (glyphosate pesticide use), I think that GMO effectively provides for REDUCED use of such materials when compared with non-GMO plants.”

      – Then why has glyphosate use increased by 5 times since genetically engineered foods were introduced? The plants are made to be sprayed several times a year with glyphosate and are. Add into that the use as a desiccant on conventional crops and you have a huge risk.

  16. Dear Dr Kaiser,
    Kindly back up you statements as true and independent by revealing the following to this audience; how much income have you recived from big agiculture in the last decade?
    Thanking you for sharing the values of transparency.

Comments are closed.