Food Security Will Be Threatened By Global Warming

It is commonly reported that global warming will lead to more extreme weather events, yet scientists are now predicting that these weather events will increase the risk of severe “food shocks” which could cause crops to fail and drive up the price of staple foods.

Over the past decade we have been no stranger to the weather playing havoc with our food production. Two notable examples were poor harvests of grains in 2008 which caused their price to rocket and the drought across Russia in 2010 which indirectly caused food riots in Northern Africa as the price of bread rose. Researchers are now proclaiming that events like these could happen in seven years out of every ten by the end of the century.

By analysing the occurrence of extreme weather events and looking at the production of staple foods such as rice , maize, wheat and soybeans scientists estimate that the chances of a one in 100-year disruption will become a one in 30-year event by 2040. Then by 2070 they believe that severe “food shocks” could cause global production to drop by 10% in seven years out of every ten.

Food production is already predicted to be stretched in the coming decades as the planets population grows as well as the loss of agricultural land to biofuel production. Essentially a changing climate could throw another spark into the mix creating a potentially deadly cocktail. Unlike sustainable intensified demand, weather events are sudden making it more difficult for production to adapt.

The biggest impact from these “shocks” is likely to be felt in Africa and the Middle East. Wealthier countries like the UK and USA will likely cope better as more processed food is consumed in them so there will be less impact on the price of food. However sub-Saharan countries will be particularly vulnerable as they are low-income and food deficient thus consumers will struggle with price rises.

Researchers however warn that whilst wealthier countries may be able to ride out the worst of it they may not be immune from all the effects. Food crises are blamed as a factor in the Arab Spring and also the rise of ISIS.


Further Reading

Extreme Weather & Resilience Of The Global Food System

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Emily Stewart

Owner of Inspire Wildlife A blog designed to promote the positive stories within wildlife conservation. Follow me on Twitter

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