Earth Policy Institute: Podcast

Global demand for soybeans has soared in recent decades, with China leading the race. Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans entering international trade today go to China, making it far and away the world’s largest importer.

Direct download: Chinas_Rising_Soybean_Consumption.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 9:43am EST

Unfortunately, dust bowls are not just relics of the past. Today two new dust bowls are forming: one in northern China and southern Mongolia and the other in Africa south of the Sahara. Whereas the dust bowls in the United States and the Soviet Union were the result of overplowing, the main culprit in Asia and Africa is overgrazing.

Direct download: Expanding_Dustbowls_in_China_and_Africa.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 10:02am EST

On October 18, 2012, the Associated Press reported that “a massive dust storm swirling reddish-brown clouds over northern Oklahoma triggered a multi-vehicle accident along a major interstate…forcing police to shut down the heavily traveled roadway amid near blackout conditions.” For the full Plan B Update, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: dust_bowl_revisited.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 11:15am EST

In the race to transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and avoid runaway climate change, wind has opened a wide lead on both solar and geothermal energy. Solar panels, with a capacity totaling 70,000 megawatts, and geothermal power plants, with a capacity of some 11,000 megawatts, are generating electricity around the world. The total capacity for the world’s wind farms, now generating power in about 80 countries, is near 240,000 megawatts. China and the United States are in the lead.

Direct download: Building_a_windcentered_economy.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 9:52am EST

The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about pollution and climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced with an economy powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

Direct download: From_Fossil_Fuels_to_Renewable_Energy.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 3:17pm EST

Environmental analyst Lester R. Brown discusses the global struggle for food security and other themes in his new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. The U.S. Great Drought of 2012 has raised corn prices to the highest level in history. The world price of food, which has already doubled over the last decade, is slated to climb higher, ushering in a new wave of food unrest. “In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold,” Brown writes. He explains the factors leading to higher demand for food and the new challenges to food production in the U.S. and worldwide.

Direct download: FPEP_Telecon.mp3
Category:Press Teleconferences -- posted at: 12:43pm EST

September estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show 2012 U.S. corn yields at 123 bushels per acre, down by a fourth from the 2009 high of 165 bushels per acre. Yields are the lowest since 1995 and well below the average of the last 30 years. The summer heat and drought also hit U.S. soybean yields, which are down 20 percent from their 2009 peak. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Heat_and_drought_ravage_corn_crop.mp3
Category:Data Highlights -- posted at: 11:22am EST

Forests provide many important goods, such as timber and paper. They also supply essential services—for example, they filter water, control water runoff, protect soil, regulate climate, cycle and store nutrients, and provide habitat for countless animal species and space for recreation. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: World_Forest_Area_Still_On_the_Decline.mp3
Category:Eco-Economy Indicators -- posted at: 5:16pm EST

Over the last two months, the price of corn has been climbing. On July 19th, it exceeded $8 per bushel for the first time, taking the world into a new food price terrain. With heat and drought still smothering the Corn Belt, we may well see more all-time highs in coming weeks as the extent of crop damage becomes clearer. For full report, visit the EPI website.

Direct download: Rising_Temperature_Raising_Food_Prices.mp3
Category:Plan B Updates -- posted at: 10:41am EST

As drought and high temperatures continue to devastate much of the country's corn and soybean crops, the USDA reports that food prices will continue to rise at least into 2013. NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and The Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown discuss the rising cost of food.

Direct download: The_Ripple_Effect_from_Rising_Food_Prices.mp3
Category:Lester Brown on Radio -- posted at: 10:00am EST