None of these technologies can come even remotely close to scaling to the size that would ever matter to the global food system.
Remember, agriculture is HUGE. It covers 40% of the Earth’s land surface, and 75% of that is for meat.
And vertical farms grow little more than greens — not the staple crops that feed the world.
Because it is looking at large-scale, real-world yields. Not just experimental plots. If large areas of Iowa (with GMOs) can’t beat corn yields in France (without GMOs), over a five year period, then what good are they for yield?
Do the simple test I put in the essay: look at the real world yields of corn in Iowa. And then look at the yields of corn in Europe, in places that have the same precipitation and growing degree days. They are identical.
Some people have — quite rightly — challenged this article, saying that some of the steps are hard to do for students and renters, and may be out of reach for people in a very tight budget.
Of course, they’re right. And I hope people look for the ones they can do, without financial hardship. Many are cheaper than you think…
35–40%. See articles by Ramankutty and Foley for original sources. Most of this is pasture (30–35 million km2) and the cropland (16 million km2). Not that the percentage is of ice-free land, so doesn’t include Greenland, Antarctica, etc.
I have no idea what that UN quote is based on, but in the scientific community the number for Ag and land use is well known and about 24–25%, total, if you include both direct agricultural emissions (and emissions from CH4 and N2O), and indirect (mostly deforestation). Emissions from food transport, energy used in agriculture, making fertilizers…