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Putin’s war will spark a food crisis

A few “chin-scratching moments of despair”

I tend to approach life with a general sense that “everything will be all right in the end”, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. Despite the constant warnings that we’re turning Earth into a “superheated ruin”, I still drive seven cars, because I’m sure that in the nick of time some “Munich-based boffin” will invent a giant “space-based vacuum cleaner” to suck up all that excess carbon dioxide and make everything normal again. It was the same with Covid. “Of course it wasn’t going to wipe us out” – some clever chap in a room full of pipettes and Bunsen burners was bound to dream up a vaccine sooner or later.

This Ukraine business, however, is causing me to have a few “chin-scratching moments of despair”. The war has caused gas prices to “skyrocket” and the price of chemical fertiliser to quadruple. As farmers around the world cut back, crop yields will fall, resulting in “maybe 20% less food” in the shops. Wheat prices are already up a massive 37%. Given that a third of the wheat Ukraine grows goes to Africa, which “won’t be getting any this summer”, we are likely in for a huge wave of Europe-bound migration. That in turn will fire up the “right-wing, anti-immigration parties” to blame the EU, fragmenting Europe. If that happens, “the world’s last bastion of liberalism and common sense and decency will be broken”. What a victory for Vladimir Putin.