Food production shocks ‘will happen more often because of extreme weather’

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Major “shocks” to global food production will be three times more likely within 25 years because of an increase in extreme weather brought about by global warming, warns a new report.

The likelihood of such a shock, where production of the world’s four major commodity crops – maize, soybean, wheat and rice – falls by 5-7%, is currently once-in-a-century. But such an event will occur every 30 years or more by 2040, according to the study by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience.

Such a shortfall in production could leave people in developing countries in “an almost untenable position”, with the US and the UK “very much exposed” to the resulting instability and conflict, said co-author Rob Bailey, research director for energy, environment and resources at Chatham House.

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Prof Tim Benton, professor of population ecology at the University of Leeds and co-author of the report, said that the compound effects of climate change and rising demand from a growing population could create a “very frightening” situation.

“The food system is increasingly under pressure because demand is growing and our ability to supply it is much more constrained. On top of that we have climate change affecting where we can grow things.

“If we are coping with demand increases by sustainable intensification but then suddenly we have a catastrophic year and lose a significant chunk of the world’s calories, everybody will feel it.”

Read more via The Guardian
Food production shocks ‘will happen more often because of extreme weather