Douglas A. GrandtP. O. Box 1582El Dorado, CA 95623March 4, 2013Mr. Rex W. TillersonExxonMobil Corporation5959 Las Colinas Blvd.Irving, TX 75039 Re: Geologists, geographers and geo-hazardsDear Mr. Tillerson,Over the weekend, Thomas Friedman wrote about the “global hazard” that is resultingfrom global wheat price increases. Global droughts are the cause for wheat productionshortages ... and the lack of bread is increasing creating social instability and unrest.Droughts are affecting food production across America ... Australia ... Asia ... Africa.Friedman wrote (
The numbers tell the story: “Bread provides one-third of the caloric intake in Egypt, acountry where 38 percent of income is spent on food,” notes Sternberg. “The doubling of global wheat prices — from $157/metri c ton in June 2010 to $326/metric ton inFebruary 2011 — thus significantly impact ed the country’s food supply and availability.” Global food prices peaked at an all-time high in March 2011, shortly after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in Egypt.Consider this: The world’s top nine wheat-importers are in the Middle East: “Sevenhad political protests resulting in civilian deaths in 2011,” said Sternberg. “Householdsin the countries that experience political unrest spend, on average, more than 35 percent of their income on food supplies,” compared with less than 10 percent indeveloped countries.Everything is linked: Chinese drought and Russian bushfires produced wheat shortages leading to higher bread pricesfueling protests in Tahrir Square. Sternberg calls it the globalization of “hazard.”
Scientists like to say that, when it comes to climate change, we need to manage what is unavoidable and avoid what is unmanageable. That requires collective actionglobally to mitigate as much climate change as we can and the building of resilient states locally to adapt to what we can’t mitigate.