Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food Production and Climate Change

More frequent extreme weather events caused by climate change are expected to increase food price volatility. If we want to feed the world we need to pursue a course that includes environmental sustainability. Both mitigation and adaptation are required to address the impacts of climate change.Climate change is already having a major impact on agricultural yields. According to a paper published in journal Science and quoted in ENN, global wheat and corn output was reduced by more than 3 percent over the past three decades and these impacts translated into up to 20 percent higher average commodity prices. Higher prices lead to more starvation.

This is a foretaste of the agricultural declines due to climate change. "Climate changes are already exerting a considerable drag on yield growth," said the study titled "Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980." The study shows global falls in wheat output of 5.5 percent and 3.8 percent for corn as a result of climate change from 1980-2008.

However, scientists from Stanford and Columbia, have noted that there are things we can do to adapt to a warming climate. According to a study titled CO2 The paper, adaptation responses, such as advances in crop breeding, could soften the blow of future warming.

"Without successful adaptation, and given the persistent rise in demand for maize and wheat, the sizable yield setback from climate change is likely incurring large economic and health costs," it said.

Unless we act now, climate change risks the future food supply and this will be further exacerbated by increased prices.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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