Bill Gates doesn’t miss much. In the last two-years Mr. Chief Climate Officer has been on 60 Minutes twice to make climate change predictions. Note to self: don’t forget Chief Pandemic Officer Gates accurate prognostication in 2014.

Clearly, Bill Gates is at the forefront of how technologies, whether existing or future, can be employed to mitigate carbon-emissions. His assessment of the sense of urgency created by the timeline to act is terrifyingly accurate and blunt.  And his understanding of the breadth and depth of proposed solutions stretch far, wide, and deep. Transportation and energy top Mr. Gates immediate clean-up list – because they represent the largest carbon-contribution segments. There’s only one problem. The largest industry segment of carbon emissions in the United States is not transportation or energy – its food production.

That’s correct.  More than any other segment. How can this be so? Let’s start with the fact that the 4 largest producers of seed grown by farmers are also the 4 largest purveyors of herbicide, pesticides, and fertilizer. It doesn’t help that those 4 producers of seed are also buying the farms (can you say backwards integration?) Or that most of the seed these Big Ag firms promulgate is grown to feed animals that should be eating grass, for slaughter. Not so fun fact: if the United States doesn’t change the way it produces food, in 60 more harvests the Big Ag top-soil will turn into dirt (2081). Top-soil is fertile with living organisms aplenty, naturally utilizing carbon to grow whole foods while removing carbon from the earth. Herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer put tremendous amounts of carbon into the top-soil effectively turning live earth into dead dirt. So, if we don’t tackle the way we produce and consume food – it really won’t matter what we do on climate change. Not good.

Mark