The “social cost of carbon” is a foolish calculation

Indur Goklany has a paper being published in Conservation Biology, the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, titled: “Reduction in global habitat loss from fossil‐fuel‐dependent increases in cropland productivity.” It focuses on habitat lost to agricultural uses, which is generally considered to be the major cause for global biodiversity loss. Currently, about 35 to 40% of global land area is in agricultural uses.

The paper demonstrates that: [from Goklany]

Over 60% of “global food production is due to increased agricultural productivity from fossil-fuel-dependent technologies.

Absent fossil fuels, at least another 20% of global land area would have to be converted to cropland to maintain global food production, further threatening global biodiversity.

This exceeds the total amount of land currently set aside globally for conservation in one form or another (15%), which some have called the world’s greatest conservation success story (or words to that effect).

Global food supplies would also drop, at least temporarily, to levels about a quarter below those experienced by the Chinese people during their last Great Famine of 1959-61. Food prices would skyrocket to balance supply and demand.”

Those who are anxious to ban the use of fossil fuels probably never considered its positive effects on agriculture. Further, calculating the “social cost of carbon” is foolish without estimating the positive impacts of CO2 on agriculture productivity and the use of fossil fuels in reducing acreages needed for planting.


The text above is an extract quoted from this past Sunday’s edition of TWTW, a weekly e-newsletter written by Ken Haapala, President of Science and Environment Policy Project (

Indur Goklany’s paper is here:

TWTW is here:

Indur M. Goklany, PhD short biography is here:

About budbromley

Bud is a retired life sciences executive. Bud's entrepreneurial leadership exceeded three decades. He was the senior business development, marketing and sales executive at four public corporations, each company a supplier of analytical and life sciences instrumentation, software, consumables and service. Prior to those positions, his 19 year career in Hewlett-Packard Company's Analytical Products Group included worldwide sales and marketing responsibility for Bioscience Products, Global Accounts and the International Olympic Committee, as well as international management assignments based in Japan and Latin America. Bud has visited and worked in more than 65 countries and lived and worked in 3 countries.
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1 Response to The “social cost of carbon” is a foolish calculation

  1. Pingback: “All-the-Above” Energy Policy Is a Compromise That Reverses Human and Environmental Progress | budbromley

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