Quantcast

British Chips Now One Inch Shorter Due to Climate Change

Climate
Chips like these are an inch shorter after the 2018 UK heat wave. Szakaly / iStock / Getty Images Plus

One of Britain's favorite snacks is now an inch shorter, and climate change is to blame.

That's because the UK's 2018 summer heat wave, which the Met Office said was made 30 times more likely by climate change, led to a harvest of smaller potatoes. Smaller potatoes also means shorter chips, one of the UK's most beloved pub foods.


The finding is one of many recounted in Recipe for Disaster, a new report from the Climate Coalition that looks at the impact of climate change on Britain's fruits and vegetables. In addition to the 2018 heat wave, growers were also impacted by snow and freezing temperatures earlier in the year.

"This year made it seem like an impossible job," co-founder of vegetable growing and delivery service The Natural Veg Men Matt Smee said in the report. "It's really hard work growing fruit and vegetables, but erratic and extreme weather pushes you over the edge. I'd be devastated if I had to deal with this year again."

The report found that more than half of UK farms had been impacted by flooding, storms or other extreme weather events in the past 10 years. Weather events in the past two years have taken a toll on a variety of crops, the report found.

  • Late frosts in 2017 cost apple growers 25 percent of their crop.
  • Heat reduced carrot harvests 25-30 percent in 2018.
  • Heat also reduced onion harvests by 40 percent in 2018.
  • Potato yields fell 20 percent in 2018 in England and Wales, the fourth smallest harvest since 1960.
  • Bad weather in Spain and Italy led to shortages of zucchini, spinach and lettuce in UK supermarkets in early 2017.

The report had even more dire warnings for the future of the UK's potato crop. Currently, 80 percent of the country's potatoes are grown within its borders, but climate change could make 75 percent of the land they are now grown on unfavorable to the tuber by 2050.

"It should be unthinkable to us that the humble spud could become a delicacy," Gareth Redmond-King of the World Wildlife Fund, which is part of the Climate Coalition, said, as The Guardian reported. "But the unthinkable becomes reality if climate change isn't tackled."

However, the report said there was hope, as farmers, retailers and the UK public have all expressed willingness to work to reduce emissions from agriculture and work towards more sustainable food production. For example, the National Farmers' Union pledged in January to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 at the latest.

"The challenge for everyone—and not just the food and farming sector—is to work to reduce climate emissions to help protect [what] we love for future generations," the report said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

David Gilmour performs at Anfiteatro Scavi di Pomei on July 7, 2016 in Pompei, Italy. Francesco Prandoni / Redferns / Getty Images

David Gilmour, guitarist, singer and songwriter in the rock band Pink Floyd, set a record last week when he auctioned off 126 guitars and raised $21.5 million for ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law group dedicated to fighting the global climate crisis, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks during a forum April 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

The Trump administration ratcheted up its open hostility to climate science in a move that may hide essential information from the nation's farmers.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Protestors and police stand on ether side of railway tracks. dpa / picture-alliance

Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.

Read More Show Less
Cecilie_Arcurs / E+ / Getty Images

By Megan Jones and Jennifer Solomon

The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Cigarette butts are the most-littered item found at beach clean ups. John R. Platt

By Tara Lohan

By now it's no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.

Read More Show Less

Andrea Rodgers, second from the right, takes notes during a hearing in the Juliana v. U.S. case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon on June 4. Colleague Elizabeth Brown sits to her left, while colleague Julia Olson sits on her right, with co-council Philip Gregory on Julia's right. Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust

By Fran Korten

On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.

Read More Show Less
Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday. SCOOTERCASTER / YouTube screenshot

Seventy Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested outside The New York Times building Saturday as they demanded the paper improve its coverage of the climate crisis, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less