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Port should look at China
Re: Leave Roberts Bank Alone, Letters, Aug. 23, 2013.
Thanks to Roger Emsley for his succinct and sane assessment of the realities about Port Metro Vancouver’s plans for the fragile estuary we all live in. Recent reports from Bloomberg and Mother Jones magazine strongly support his assessment. Bloomberg notes, “About half of China’s rivers have dried up since 1990 and those that remain are mostly contaminated. Without enough water, coal can’t be mined, new power stations can’t run and the economy can’t grow.”
Tom Philpott of Mother Jones tells us China’s farmland is shrinking. “…China has just 0.09 hectares of arable land per capita, less than half the global average and a quarter of the average for OECD member countries.”
The land is also polluted: “Fully 40 percent of China’s arable land has been degraded by some combination of erosion, salinization, or acidification…”
Mother Jones also reports that China’s food production now uses more than a third of the global output of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.
The nitrogen industry relies on coal for 70 per cent of its energy needs, a source that competes with farming for water. Heavy use of nitrogen fertilizer causes pH levels in the soil to drop, with the result that crop production has lessened 30-50 per cent in some areas.
This picture certainly makes Mr. Silvester’s assessment of the value of agricultural land in the Lower Mainland as “almost meaningless” in terms of food security, completely ludicrous and his plans for port expansion a disaster.