Frequently Asked Questions
Cap & Share FAQ - questions specifically about Cap & Share:
Why only adults - shouldn't children get a share? What about poor people who live in old houses or rural areas? What's to stop people just buying more petrol? Does this mean rich people can still have big cars? If prices are higher but I get the income, doesn't this negate the price signal?
Capping Carbon FAQ - more general questions about capping carbon:
Why is capping carbon so important? Isn't it enough to 'do our bit'? And what about China? Won't this hurt our standard of living / exports / jobs? Are carbon taxes a better way than setting a 'hard' cap?
Climate Policy FAQ - questions about climate policy generally:
What is climate change / global warming anyway; why is it urgent, and is it too late? Won't technology sort the problems out? What about nuclear power, recycling, Transition Towns? Wouldn't we be better spending the money on helping people to adapt, or tackling poverty? Isn't overpopulation the real problem?
FAQ - Cap & Share
Why only adults - shouldn't children get a share too?
This is a question to be debated when C&S is introduced. There are arguments for the cashback payments to go to adults only. They, by and large, are the people spending money and paying the higher prices. On the other hand, bringing up children costs money. One solution is to give children partial allowances (say a half allowance each), although that means the amount of the standard allowance for everyone would have to be reduced. Another solution is to help parents separately through adjusting things like Child Tax Credit, which means that C&S can be kept simple.
What about poor people who live in old houses?
'Equal shares for all' sounds fair, and it has a simple, robust fairness to it, like 'one person one vote.' But some poorer people will find the rising price of fuel difficult to cope with, and may be in no position to insulate their houses (for example if they are rented).
C&S is good for poorer people, since they gain as they tend to have lower than average carbon footprints. It's important to realise that even if they have higher than average heating bills, they take fewer if any flights, and spend less on everything else, and as long as the TOTAL carbon footprint is below average, they will gain financially (this is a difference between C&S and Personal Carbon Trading). For those poor people who are worse off, targetted 'fuel poverty' measures are possible (and preferable to making C&S more complicated).
What about people who live in rural areas?
The same answer applies here. Rural populations are more dependent on cars and can say they are a special case. Various groups can argue for special treatment, but this is best done by separate, transparent arrangements, keeping C&S itself simple and easy to understand.
What's to stop people just buying more petrol (and so busting the cap)?
At the petrol pump, there are no controls at all - except for the price. The cap cannot be busted because there are only a fixed number of certificates issued, hence a fixed amount of petrol in circulation, corresponding to the cap. If people (the whole population taken together) want to buy more petrol than this, the price goes up until they don't. That is what supply and demand means.
It's like land - there is only a finite, fixed supply of this too. I can always buy some more land (provided I have the money) - but this doesn't cause more land to be created.
But surely this means rich people can still have big cars?
Yes, but they are paying more (and more) for the privilege. And the prices will make even them cut down somewhat, too. Meanwhile people with lower than average carbon footprints are benefiting. And overall, the cap has been met.
We are likely to have rich people and poor people for some time yet. But C&S is actually 'progressive' in that it yields a transfer of money form rich people to poor people. (See the answer to the second question above).
Prices are higher but I get the 'cashback' income - doesn't this negate the price signal?
No - but it's a fair question. The point is that the higher prices apply to fossil fuels only. Renewables, for example, don't increase in price at all (or do so by a very small amount).
These price rises encourage you to swop to renewables, in other words to change your behaviour. The income you get (from the cashback) won't in itself make you swop back - you'll still go for the cheaper option.
Of course, you will still buy some carbon-intensive goods. But you won't want to carry on exactly as before. In fact, if everyone wanted to carry on as before, they wouldn't be able to, because the demand would push the price up even higher (remember, there are only a fixed number of certificates issued, corresponding to the cap). The higher the certificate price, the stronger the price signal.
Is 'classic' Cap & Share better than 'carbon cashback' a la Cap & Dividend?
This website is using 'Cap & Share' to refer to the general approach of coupling an upstream cap with a sharing of the proceeds to the population. The simplest variant of this is to have an auction 'carbon cashback' payments - a system also called Cap & Dividend.
An auction is a simpler system, and hence cheaper. For you, it is simpler too - you don't have to bother about selling your certificates - or worry about who to sell them to and when. If Cap & Dividend were to be introduced, the 'classic' Cap & Share campaigners would be happy.
'Classic' Cap & Share, with its certificates, is simply a different option. The advantage of certificates is purely psychological. Your certificate is your share of the overall carbon footprint. You are in control of this share, and by selling your certificate (via a bank) you are allowing this share of the carbon footprint to be emitted. If you want to, you can withhold part of it (simply tear up some of your certificates) and you will reduce the overall carbon footprint by that amount.
What about other greenhouse gases?
As we have explained on this website, C&S applies only to suppliers of fossil fuels which generate CO2 emissions. We need a parallel system for the other gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and HFCs. But because CO2 is the front-runner it is the most important arena in which to get action first.
Some of these other gases may be best dealt with by separate industry regulation. But schemes like C&S (or Cap & Dividend) are simple enough that we could have them applying to several gases in parallel - whereas it is hard to imagine having Personal Carbon Trading and also Personal Methane Trading, Personal HFC Trading and so on.
Isn't it naive to suppose politicians will do this in time?
We have to be realistic about human nature, and about the world of politics. Although we might think politicians should show leadership, in practice they only tend to act when they feel the people are pushing for something. In general we need to stress to our politicians that:
- we know the climate crisis is serious and urgent,
- we want and expect politicians to address it through C&S (or something similar), and
- we are prepared to support politicians who face up to somewhat painful choices today in order to safeguard the future.
However, there are other sources of pressure too. For Cap & Share to function effectively we need fossil fuel companies to comply, that is, to agree to buy permits to cover the (carbon content of) the fossil fuels they extract. Why would they do this?
One route, certainly, is legislation. If a nation 'signs up', it agrees to mandate compliance in its jurisidiction. The Trust operating Cap & Share might request this as a condition for releasing the cashback funds for the population of that nation. One could envisage populations pushing for this, despite pressure from vested interests resisting it.
However, we don't need to rely on ratification by nations: there are other routes for securing compliance by fossil fuel suppliers. These corporations might sign up even in the absence of legislation, in order to label their fuels 'climate-safe' (similar to 'fair trade' goods or 'dolphin friendly' tuna). The fossil fuel companies which refuse to sign up are then a clear target for divestment campaigns and more general confrontation on moral grounds; legal challenges are also an up-and-coming trend.
Consumer pressure could extend this by calling for other corporations, starting with energy companies, to be climate-safe too, meaning that they only used climate-safe fuels. NGOs would investigate and highlight supply chains (much as they do now for palm oil, say).
In all cases, promoters of C&S make a clear, unambiguous demand. Signing up and complying is clear cut: if you don't say yes, then you're saying no.
None of these tactics is guaranteed to work; they are simply tools available to overcome the obvious sources of resistance (cartel pressure, greed, and the capitalist wish to be unfettered by restrictions of any kind). This will be a political fight - but so will any attempt to wrest control from those responsible for the destruction of our planetary life-support system.
FAQ - Capping Carbon
Why is capping carbon so important?
Because we need to be serious in stopping global warming. We have to stop the atmosphere filling up with greenhouse gases (which cause climate change), just as we had to stop the streets filling up with sewage (which caused disease).
Our emissions are still rising, which means that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is not only still rising, but is still accelerating. This has to stop. We may well be able to develop methods to extract CO2 (already in the atmosphere) back out of the atmosphere, and this will help, but there is no question that we will also have to radically curb our emissions, which are making the problem worse all the time.
It's not the only thing we need to do, of course. Huge efforts are also needed on tackling deforestation, on developing sequestration, on research into geo-engineering techniques as a last-resort fallback. Moreover, to get all this done we will need to change our outlook and attitudes, particularly in acknowledging and tackling poverty and inequality. All these efforts are necessary, for the survival of our civilisation and all that we hold dear.
Why a cap? Isn't it enough to 'do our bit'?
No, it isn't. We need to make sure that everyone does their bit, and that the bits add up to solving the problem.
Nobody would pay income tax if it were voluntary. We only pay it, at the levels necessary (to fund hospitals, roads and everything else), because we know that everyone else has to pay it too. There has to be a cap, and it has to be not just a vague target, but a target that is guaranteed to be achieved. It needs to be a mandatory (compulsory) system. And we need to do this fairly. C&S is a good way of doing this.
What about China?
This is the same question writ large. It's no good the UK doing something, for example, unless all the other countries do too. So we need a global framework where everyone contributes, such that these contributions add up to solving the global problem. This is why an international agreement is so important. The Copenhagen conference did not achieve this and the pressure is on to reach one at Paris in 2015.
It's no good waiting until China does something; they are waiting for us. And there is a good argument for the West (especially USA and Europe) to act first, since we are responsible for most of the global emissions which has caused the problem in the first place. But if we take the first step, the second step should have all countries acting together (although contributing by different amounts).
Won't this hurt our standard of living / exports / jobs?
Not so much as you'd think. Businesses often claim 'jobs' as an excuse for everything from airport expansion to excluding German car manufacturing from the EU ETS. But it needn't be so.
For example, suppose we bring in Cap & Share in the UK (say) very swiftly (and for our own benefit - more people would be better off than would lose out). To begin with, we could have a mild cap, and this would minimise any of these concerns over competitiveness.
Once we demonstrate that C&S works and that we are serious, then other countries - starting with the EU say - would be encouraged to follow suit. Then, we can all go forward together, making more serious cuts in emissions. At this point, the competitiveness issue becomes greater, but so does the market 'inside' the cap. If necessary we can impose 'border tariffs' on imports from 'outside the cap' to cover the cost of the 'embedded carbon' in these imports.
Finally, nothing will affect exports, jobs and our standard of living as much as runaway climate change would. We simply have to avoid this: our survival as a planetary civilisation is at stake. When we get on the survival path back down to safe levels of CO2, it will mean transforming our world in a thousand different ways, with opportunities for new businesses (not to mention much healthier lives).
Are carbon taxes a better way than setting a 'hard' cap?
Carbon taxes are certainly the simplest way to put a 'price' on carbon. Carbon taxes can be applied upstream, and so could capture all the carbon emissions easily, in the same way that C&S (or any other upstream capping system) does.
Many economists - and the magazine 'The Economist' - have argued for carbon taxes. The respected climate scientist James Hansen has also called for carbon taxes rather than cap and trade mechanisms. In particular he dislikes the international trading and CDM systems (these are like carbon offsets) which are a part of Kyoto, as these encourage developed nations to ignore or avoid tackling their own emissions in any meaningful way. But anyone who is really serious about tackling climate change would be equally sceptical of these systems (and of other features of Kyoto).
Governments will be tempted to keep the money raised from carbon taxes - putting it in the 'general taxation' pot (or just possibly spending it on 'green' projects) - which means that the population will be worse off. For this reason, taxes may be unpopular. In particular, the poor could be hit hardest (carbon taxes are 'regressive', in the jargon). However, the money raised from carbon taxes could instead be given back ('rebated' or 'recycled') to the population, just like the benefits are returned to the population in C&S or Cap & Dividend.
A further downside of carbon taxes is that they are a 'price' rather than a 'quantity' mechanism. What this means is that setting a carbon price puts up the price of fossil fuels, and all carbon-intensive goods, and this will reduce demand and hence emissions, by some amount - but not necessarily by the amount needed to stabilise the climate. Applying a tax does not guarantee any particular level of emissions like a cap does. Conversely, setting a cap guarantees a level of emissions (but we don't know what the carbon price may be - it might go very high). Politicians may value the certainty of knowing that there is a ceiling on the carbon price, more highly than they value the certainty of knowing that an emissions target is met.
In theory we could keep increasing the tax until the emissions reduced to any given target - but in practice governments would find it politically hard to do this.
Is capping carbon basically all we need to do then?
No, of course not (as mentioned in the answer to the first question above). But it is a vital part. We need to have a world agreement which caps carbon globally. Getting there will be a messy business, but that's where we have to be heading, and quickly.
But it's not just about setting a cap and sitting back. We have to smooth the way to a low-carbon economy. The cap will force the pace of this transition, and we will need to provide Information, support and encouragement to help everyone adapt in the least disruptive ways. And people will be taking decisions for themselves and in their local communities, as is starting to happen with the Transition Towns movement.
And we face many other challenges, not least peak oil. But a stable climate is a pre-requisite for tackling all the other challenges, in fact for much of life on earth.
So if we want to cap carbon, isn't Personal Carbon Trading (PCAs or TEQs) a better way forward?
A variety of approaches to capping carbon have been proposed, and the important thing is to start capping carbon SERIOUSLY, and to get going SOON - the choice of which method we use is less important, as long as it does the job. Having said that, some schemes are quicker and simpler to implement than others, and we feel that C&S scores over PCAs/TEQs in this regard.
Another advantage of C&S over PCT, however, is that C&S covers ALL emissions - not just personal direct emissions (our petrol, gas etc) but also Indirect emissions (embedded in the goods and services we buy). PCT leaves these indirect emissions (some 60% of the total) to be covered by a separate emissions trading scheme. So C&S is '100% fair', as opposed to PCT which may be only '40% fair' (depending on what happens to the revenue from the emissions trading scheme).
FAQ - Climate Policy
What is Climate Change / Global Warming anyway?
There are plenty of websites which explain this, so we won't duplicate it all here. What follows is the briefest summary. Many of the basic terms are explained in the Glossary.
Climate is like weather, but averaged out over time and over a region. So we might have a temperate climate in Britain (as opposed to a tropical climate or an arctic climate), which tells us what the weather is like 'on average'. The weather itself changes from day to day.
Climate Change is a change in the climate of the earth (as opposed to the day to day changes in weather). Climate has changed in the past history of the Earth, but has been relatively stable for the last 10,000 years (since the end of the last ice age). 'Climate Change' usually refers to the man-made changes being kicked off by mankind's actions in burning fossil fuels, deforestation, etc. since the start of the industrial revolution and at an increasing pace ever since.
How does burning fossil fuels cause climate change? The main mechanism is the greenhouse effect. The Earth is kept warm by sunlight. Some of this is reflected into space by the Earth and its clouds, but a lot passes through the atmosphere and hits the Earth's surface, warming it. The Earth would get hotter and hotter unless it also lost the same amount of heat, and it does this by radiating the heat back into space. Greenhouse gases partially block this outgoing radiation and stop it escaping into space. (They can do this because the outgoing heat is no longer sunlight, it is infra-red radiation like the heat from an electric fire, which the greenhouse gases can absorb and trap). The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped, and the more the Earth heats up.
The greenhouse effect is a simple and natural thing (without it the temperature on Earth would be well below freezing). But by burning fossil fuels we are adding such a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that we are pushing the greenhouse effect into overdrive, and causing global warming.
Climate change is more than global warming: it includes sea level rise, ocean acidity, increases in storms, changes in rainfall leading to droughts, etc.
Isn't there still disagreement among scientists that global warming's real?
There are vested interests who want to make it appear that there is a big debate going on, but there isn't, any more than there is serious debate over whether the earth is flat. The tactic of pretending that there is more uncertainty than there is, has also been used by many other groups (for example by the tobacco industry for a long time). Newspapers and TV news reports also like to manufacture 'debates', since arguments make a good story. For a couple of decades these forces confused the issue mightily, but the science is increasingly clear for all to see.
Science works by looking at evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming. Nothing is ever certain in science, but some things are pretty close: for example the fact that the Earth is round. In theory, something may overturn this fact in the future, just as relativity replaced Newtonian physics. (But even then, something that works as well as Newtonian physics isn't completely overthrown, but rather extended. Newtonian physics is a good approximation to relativity in all everyday circumstances).
What does 'upstream' mean?
(or 'ppm', 'permit', 'sequestration' ... )
All these terms are defined in the Glossary.
Why is it so urgent?
This is a vital point. Many people are now aware of climate change, but few people appreciation how urgent it is that we tackle the problem.
The urgency comes from tipping points in the climate system. A tipping point is where something suddenly takes off of its own accord, and becomes hard to stop. Suppose you are pushing a car up a hill. This is hard work, and if you stop, the car wants to roll back. But if you go over the brow of the hill, this is a tipping point. The car wants to run away from you, and the more it does, the faster it goes. It gets faster and faster by itself, and you may not be able to stop it.
A tipping point in climate is methane in Siberia. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and there is a lot of it trapped under the tundra in Siberia. If the Earth warms up and the tundra melts, this methane will escape, heating up the Earth more. The more it warms up, the more methane escapes, and the faster the heating happens - it is like the runaway car. But this is not the only tipping point. Another one involves melting icecaps (if they disappear, less sunlight is reflected into space, so the Earth heats up faster), and there are many others.
More tipping points are being discovered all the time, which is why scientists are getting increasingly worried. It's not so much like pushing a car over the gentle brow of a hill, more like pushing a car off a cliff. We are going over this cliff in extremely slow motion, but if we pass the tipping points it won't matter - there'll be no way back.
And we are at or very close to several of these tipping points. That's why it's so urgent. If you need convincing, look at www.350.org.
Is it already too late?
Firstly, beware of this argument as a ploy by deniers. A problem that you can't do anything about isn't a real problem (so, they will say, hey, we might as well ignore it and get on with Business As Usual).
The honest answer is that we don't know. The trouble is that climate change happens slowly (if inexorably). We might not know in our lifetimes.
One prospect, though, is that the evidence continues to mount, the ice all melts, and we will know that we're heading over the cliff. The full effects will unfold slowly, over decades and centuries, but that will not matter - it will be unstoppable. We would then be living with the knowledge that we might have avoided it but that it's now too late. If you think about how you would feel in this situation, and how you would face your children, then this is a prospect worth avoiding.
Won't technology sort the problems out?
No. We will need many things pulling together to survive the coming crisis, and technology will play an important part. But by itself, technology won't be enough.
For one thing, technology often focuses on 'efficiency' (for example, making aircraft which emit less CO2 per passenger-kilometre). This sounds good, but it is useless if the growth in passenger-kilometres outweighs these gains. The only thing that matters is getting the TOTAL emissions of CO2 down.
Secondly, sequestration (capturing and burying carbon) technologies need a carbon price to work effectively. It is similar for low-carbon substitutes for existing technologies (things like wind-power and electric cars, which replace the current carbon-intensive ways of doing things). In other words, green technology will only happen if the economic mechanisms (to cap carbon) are in place.
In the book 'Ten Technologies to save the Planet', which is all about technological approaches, Chris Goodall says (on the last page of the book, page 278), that the reason he wrote the book was to persuade the inhabitants of democratic countries to vote out politicians who refuse to act on climate change.
What about nuclear power?
What about it? You could be on either side of this issue, but the important thing is not to get side-tracked into this debate to the extent that it diverts you from pushing for a cap.
We have to replace carbon-intensive (e.g. coal-fired) electricity generation by cleaner alternatives. Among the options are nuclear, a range of renewables (solar, wind, tidal), and making coal clean (by 'proper' CCS).
There are several disadvantages to nuclear power, but some of these are very long term compared with the immediate climate problem. Nuclear is being pushed hard by various vested interests, who would prefer large, centralised, industrial projects rather than small scale, more distributed, autonomous and local projects (similar struggles are underway over the Severn barrage in the UK).
The climate doesn't care which, it only looks at the global temperature, and the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. So the nuclear debate is subsidiary to the real debate on getting an effective, overall climate policy.
But we have policy, surely? We have the EU ETS, the UK has a Climate Change Act, President Obama is doing things in the USA?
Yes, but it's just nowhere near enough, fast enough. This is the real problem, that there is very little recognition of the urgency which is coming from the science. There is still no sign of any cap in place. Lobbyists are still trying to weaken things like the EU ETS, which is already full of loopholes. And setting targets for 2050 and so on is pushing the problem aside. We need to get started for real right now, or else we'll be over the tipping points.
Well if it's so important, why is the government not taking it seriously?
A good question. It appears to be because they are ignorant, especially of science, and because they are weak, and increasingly in thrall to large corporate interests.
Politicians in general are highly negligent in ignoring or minimising the importance of climate change. They will tell you that everything is under control, that it's being taken care of, don't worry; while in practice allowing the situation to get beyond dangerous and into critical. Ask them why they are doing this!
The government may claim that it sees climate change as important - and it also claims the people are 'not ready' for stronger action. But people are not daft - they see through this. If the government gives the green light to runways and coal-fired power stations they will rightly see it as a sign that the government doesn't take climate change seriously, so why should they?
So what can we do?
The usual answer here is to 'do your bit'. Many people do in fact try to 'do their bit' to cut down their carbon footprints, hoping to send a message to government and in the meantime hoping to be a part of the solution.
But we have to get real. You will not save the world by your own efforts. We can each do our bit, but the government has to do its bit too. Only the government can bring in an effective carbon cap. So we need to work together here. And that means getting political, even in small ways like writing to your political representative. Ask them - or tell them - to stand up to vested interests, reject the greenwash, push for real leadership on this. And in local situations (transition towns, local environmental groups, churches, whatever), push the message up to higher levels too. Support groups such as 'Stop Climate Chaos'.
And don't just read this, nod, and pass on - write to your political representative now!
This all sounds political. Shouldn't you be advocating that people do practical things like switching to low-energy light-bulbs?
These practical measures are good things to do, but totally inadequate on their own. It's like putting tape on windows in World War 2 (to reduce flying glass). It was a good thing to do, but it would have been criminally wrong for the government to suggest to people that this was all we needed to do.
What about recycling? Green living? Plastic bags?
Climate Change is not the only environmental problem. We are running out of landfill sites, there are increasing toxicity levels, depletion of fish stocks; the list goes on. Things like recycling can help (but not as much as reusing/repairing things, or reducing consumption in the first place). Not using plastic bags prevents them from getting into the oceans and creating problems for marine life.
So these actions are good. But they can be bad, if they become a substitute for real action on climate change. It is all too easy to be diverted into 'displacement' actions which make us feel as if we are doing 'something'.
But it is not enough to do 'something'. We have to do what is necessary. Climate responds to things like the levels of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere; it does not respond to good intentions.
How does all this relate to Transition Towns?
The same answer applies as with the previous question. The Transition movement is great in galvanising local action, and gets people thinking about resilience, and in general about important issues (as opposed to, say, 'celebrities').
But we can't hide from climate change, even in 'resilient' local communities. So while we build local resilience, we still have to fight for national and global action on carbon capping. For this reason, the Transition movement endorses approaches like TEQs.
Wouldn't we be better spending the money on helping people to adapt, especially in poor countries?
This is the line pushed by Bjorn Lomborg. The jargon words here are Adaptation and Mitigation. But it's not an either/or choice between these two.
Weighing up whether it is more 'cost-effective' to put money into mitigating (avoiding or limiting) climate change, or adapting to it, is also what the Stern Report tried to do. But doing this involves things like the 'Social Cost of Carbon'; it ends up being like 'Cost Benefit Analysis' where you try to assign costs to various amounts of climate change. Apart from being pretty blatant about assigning monetary costs to things like the 'value of a human life', this approach fatally assumes that you can choose which amount of climate change to have, in order to optimise your calculations. But the climate system, with its tipping points, isn't like this. Once you've driven over a cliff, that's it - you can't decide it would be economically optimal to stop half-way down.
Because of the time lags in the system, we will have to cope with some climate change even if we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, purely because of what is already 'in the pipeline'. So we will clearly need some adaptation measures. But the prime effort must go in to mitigation: stopping climate change getting any worse before it's too late. Otherwise, no amount of adaptation measures will be of any use.
Isn't it more important to tackle poverty, AIDS and other ills?
See the previous question. Of course these issues are important, but it's not an either/or choice between them. Why not do both, and take the money from cosmetics manufacturing?
If a ship is sinking, is it more important to treat the injured, or to plug the holes in the ship? If the ship sinks, treating the injured won't in the end have achieved very much. In the same way, all the work which has been done towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals risks being swamped being overtaken by climate change.
There is however a real sense in which poverty and climate change are faces of the same problem. Unless we come to hold very different attitudes to global inequality we are unlikely to be able to get global agreements to tackle climate change, which are essentially agreements on how to live together on our shared planet.
Isn't overpopulation the real problem?
It would be easier to live sustainably with a smaller world population, but there are two points to make here.
The first is about timescales. Even if we decided on draconian birth-control policies, the effects would take decades to come through, while the priority is to reduce the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere now. And actually birthrates globally are falling as health care, education and womens' empowerment spread.
The second point is that 'overpopulation' often covers up a tendency to regard the problem as lying in the developing world. What countries spring to mind in connection with the word 'overpopulation'? Nigeria? And yet Holland has one of the largest population densities in the world, and Japan hasn't been able to feed itself for a long time. It isn't the poor countries, so much as the manic overconsumption in the developed world, that's at the root of the problem.