As we all know, there is no global warming (cough). And if there is, it's not caused by human activity (snort). And even if it is, we can't do anything to stop it that might hurt our economy. (Cough, choke, hack. Sorry, something caught in my throat.)
So here comes a very disturbing article from the Reuters news service about the disastrous maple crop of 2012, that seems to portend a very severe crunch on domestic producers. I haven't seen any similar reports in the Vermont media; don't know if they're asleep at the switch or what.
Whammy no.1: this year's domestic crop will be much smaller than last year's. We knew that, but here we have new numbers.
U.S. production will likely total 18 million pounds this year, down from 30 million pounds in 2011, according to a new crop estimate report from Arnold Coombs of Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead, New Hampshire, one of the four largest maple processors in the United States.
Whammy no.2: much of the crop is poor quality and unsalable in its pure form.
"You take 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius) in March by golly it don't help nothing," said Alfred Carrier, a sugarmaker in Glover, Vermont. "We had quite a lot of off-flavored syrup. I don't think you'd want to put it on a pancake."
Finally -- and this is the real topper -- whammy no.3: the scarce crop isn't leading to higher prices for syrup.
Despite the shortfall, retail prices have risen just 5 percent this year as the Federation of Quebec Maple Producers has retained a 38-million-pound reserve from a bumper crop in 2011, says Coombs. Quebec produces about 80 percent of the world's maple syrup.
Take those three together, and it looks like a disastrous year for domestic producers.
Yeah, fighting global warming has associated costs. But failing to fight global warming has some real costs as well.
After the jump: the limits of denialism.
On a related note, one of the leading promulgators of climate-change denial, the Heartland Institute, has made an interesting move. It has spun off its insurance research program into a separate entity.
Because the insurance industry is aware of the tremendous potential economic impact of climate change, and Heartland's insurance researchers are abandoning denialism. Therefore, they can no longer be directly affiliated with Heartland, which is continuing to push its hard line.
(Heartland, ICYMI, is the organization that briefly put up some obnoxious billboards in the Chicago area, comparing climate change believers to mass murderers like Ted Kaczynski and Charles Manson. Real fun-loving folks, them Heartlanders.)