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Food without sun: Price and life-saving potential
| By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.
Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation • Energy Policy • Industrial Symbiosis • Life Cycle Analysis • Materials Science • Open Source • Photovoltaic Systems • Solar Cells • Sustainable Development • Sustainability Education
- David C. Denkenberger, Joshua M. Pearce, Ray A. Taylor, Ryan A. Black, Food without sun: Price and life-saving potential. Foresight 21(1), pp.118-129 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-04-2018-0041 open access
The purpose of this study is to estimate the price and life-saving potential of alternate foods. The sun could be blocked by asteroid impact, supervolcanic eruption or nuclear winter caused by burning of cities during a nuclear war. The primary problem in these scenarios is loss of food production. Previous work has shown that alternate foods not dependent on sunlight, such as bacteria grown on natural gas and cellulose turned into sugar enzymatically, could feed everyone in these catastrophes, and preparation for these foods would save lives in a manner that is highly cost-effective.
This study estimates the price of alternate foods during a catastrophe in line with global trade and information sharing, but factors such as migration, loans, aid or conflict are not taken into consideration.
Without alternate foods, for a five-year winter, only approximately 10 per cent of the population would survive. The price of dry food would rise to approximately $100/kg, and the expenditure on this food would be approximately $100tn. If alternate foods were $8/kg, the surviving global population increases to approximately 70 per cent, saving >4billion lives.
A nongovernmental mechanism for coordinating the investments of rich people may be possible. Identifying companies whose interests align with alternate food preparations may save lives at a negative cost.
The probability of loss of civilization and its impact on future generations would be lower in this scenario, and the total expenditure on food would be halved.
Preparation for alternate foods is a good investment even for wealthy people who would survive without alternate foods.
alternate food; global catastrophic risk; nuclear war; existential risk; economics; food
|Feeding Everyone No Matter What|
- Feeding Everyone No Matter What - The full book main page
- David Denkenberger and Joshua Pearce, Feeding Everyone No Matter What: Managing Food Security After Global Catastrophe , 1st Edition, Academic Press, 2015
- Free Preview: Google books
- Cover on Academia
- Facebook page
- Alternative Foods as a Solution to Global Food Supply Catastrophes
- Resilience to global food supply catastrophes
- Feeding Everyone if the Sun is Obscured and Industry is Disabled
- Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Alternate Food to Address Agricultural Catastrophes Globally
- Dave Denkenberger Publications
- Feeding Everyone: Solving the Food Crisis in Event of Global Catastrophes that Kill Crops or Obscure the Sun
- Food without sun: Price and life-saving potential
- Cost-effectiveness of interventions for alternate food in the United States to address agricultural catastrophes
- Micronutrient Availability in Alternative Foods During Agricultural Catastrophes
- OSE Wiki "Synfood" (i.e. protein and other dietary components from microbial organisms fed on gas or other hydrocarbons)