This week on Radio Ecoshock – we give it all.

There are two hot interviews.

Julian Cribb tell us about his new book “The Coming Famine. The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It.”

I had a major realization myself, during this interview, and we’ll talk about that shortly.

Then, Dr. Tim Garrett from the University of Utah blew my mind (again). I interviewed Tim back in February 2010 – after he published a peer-reviewed article suggesting that utter economic collapse, world-wide, might be the only way to avoid punishing climate change.

He applied physics to develop a formula which accurately modeled the relationship between energy use and wealth, as well as emissions of greenhouse gases. The model works backwards on historical figures, and makes sense. If it’s true, we’re in big trouble.

Garrett has a new paper out in the journal “Climatic Change”. During our interview, he suggests one of my questions stimulated the new work. Namely, what would it take to keep emissions to the relatively safe 450 part per million CO2 level?

The new paper not only suggests that isn’t going to happen, not with all the good will dreams and schemes in the world. It goes further. Using Hurricane Katrina as an example, Tim explains why the on-going pounding of our civilization by a disturbed climate will lead to horrible inflation. How does climate change lead to inflation? I asked, he answered. You must read the whole transcript here.

We wrap up with a French flavor of climate denial/doubt. I went out to record the latest climate news from the Arctic, and there is lots of it – but got a boatload of doubts and long-disproved theories from Marie Francois Andre. She’s a Geomorphologist, not a climate scientist.

I speculate on why this gaggle of doubters develop spontaneously out of other disciplines, as the climate threat grows. Read it all here (with some links to real science of the Arctic, and other helpful stuff).


But let’s get back to Julian Cribb. I just ran out of time to transcribe this important interview. If any of you can do it, please send an email to radio [at] Especially those who email me about missing out on the importance of population! Cribb’s book is all about population (though he accounts for strong climate change, and Peak Oil, as well).

Here was my own discovery. I had already listened to an online lecture by Julian Cribb, given at the University of Melbourne. Highly recommended. It is 85 minutes, where he punches you with facts you vaguely knew, or never knew, that should rock our world.

If you have any trouble understanding the lecture link above, check out this page.

As I listened to Cribb’s lecture, a little voice inside me rebelled. “The world will never reach 9 billion people, or 11 billion people! A plague, a war, some energy die-off will trim us back first….”

It wasn’t until our interview, that I realized: I suffer from a form of Population Denial. There is Climate Denial (beliefs contrary to established facts) – but I had Population Denial (belief contrary to observable reality.)

Yes there may be a smaller chance that some disaster will stall world population growth. But for this century at least, it is much more possible that we will reproduce ourselves to death – going for 12 billion, maybe 15 billion humans on Earth.

I used Pessimism to protect me from that horrible prospect.

Julian Cribb does not. With his long-time agricultural experience (he won awards for his agricultural journalism) – Julian figures out our chances of actually feeding the coming generations. Where are the bottlenecks. What happens?

Until we get a volunteer transcript, you’ll have to listen to the powerful interview, at the opening of this weeks’ Radio Ecoshock Show, to here the awful truth from Julian Cribb.

Top that up with a synopsis of his arguments, found here.

Julian Cribb also has a blog (intended for food wonks, but all welcome) here.

Julian also asked me to point out this little detail in the great machine that feeds you and I.

I’ve got more coming up on food, plus a new interview with James Howard Kunstler. Tune in next week, as we travel beyond the oil Apocalypse.

I included two tidbits of songs this week. “1999” by Prince, and “The Dream Before” a 1989 tune from Laurie Anderson’s “Strange Angels” album. Plus two quick clips from the CBC and BBC.

Alex Smith
Radio Ecoshock