Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Reports Affirm Climate Change Could Lead to Drastic Increases In Food Prices

Climate
Reports Affirm Climate Change Could Lead to Drastic Increases In Food Prices

Climate impacts are likely to lead to drastic increases in the prices of common food-stuffs over the next few decades, according to a series of new studies from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The studies strongly suggest that the agricultural industry won’t be able to adapt fast enough to the shifting climatic patterns to prevent a decrease in production—hence rising prices.

As a result of climate impacts, average food prices could increase up to 25 percent by 2050.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The research also addresses the concerns that some have that expanding biofuel production could also lead to higher food prices. Such an expansion could indeed lead to increases in food prices according to the new research, increases of up to five percent by the year 2050. While such a rise is quite significant, it is absolutely dwarfed by the rise that is now expected to be caused by climate change. The new research predicts increases in food prices as high as 25 percent by the year 2050 as a result of climate impacts. That means up to 25 percent higher without even including important secondary effects, such as increased war/conflict, increasing levels of disease/plant diseases, increasing populations of common pests, etc.

In total, three separate studies were completed—one assessing the impact of climate change on demand for cropland, one assessing the impact on crop yields and one assessing the impact of second-generation biofuels on the transport sector.

The lead researcher on the cropland study, Christoph Schmitz, notes that climate impacts are “likely to lead to a drastic increase in demand for cropland.” Continuing: “We find most models projecting an increase in cropland by 2050 that is more than 50 percent higher in scenarios with unabated climate change than in those assuming a constant climate,” adding that the “increase meant the world would require 320 million hectares instead of about 200 million hectares by 2050—a difference equal to an area roughly three times the size of Germany.”

Business Green provides more:

He warned that with most of the demand for new cropland likely to come in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa, there was a real risk that climate impacts would have a knock-on effect of pushing up greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the reasons why demand for cropland is likely to increase was explored in a separate study, which concluded that while climate change may lead to higher agricultural yields in some regions, others will be hit by steep declines in food production.

“Potential climate change impacts on crop yields are strong but vary widely across regions and crops,” stated lead-author Christoph Müller. Adding that “for rice, wheat, maize, soybeans and peanuts, the study finds a climate-induced decrease in yields of between 10 percent and 38 percent globally by 2050 in a business-as-usual scenario of rising greenhouse-gas emissions, compared with current conditions.”

Müller argues that in order to deal with these changes that it will be necessary to create “a more flexible global agricultural trading system would be needed”—something that is very unlikely to happen. A far more likely response to vastly diminished agricultural productivity in many parts of the world will be mass-migration and/or war.

The new studies were just published in the journal Agricultural Economics.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE and FOOD pages for more related news on this topic.

Oil spills, such as the one in Mauritius in August 2020, could soon be among the ecological crimes considered ecocide. - / AFP / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

An expert panel of top international and environmental lawyers have begun working this month on a legal definition of "ecocide" with the goal of making mass ecological damage an enforceable international crime on par with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Polar bears are seen in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Alan D. Wilson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

After ongoing pressure from environmental groups and Indigenous communities, Bank of America has said it will not finance any oil and gas exploration in the Arctic, making it the last major U.S. financial institution to do so.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Map shows tracks and strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones in 2020. Blues are tropical depressions and tropical storms; yellow through red show hurricanes, darker shades meaning stronger ones. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia Commons

By Astrid Caldas

As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.

Read More Show Less
Protesters shouting slogans on megaphones during the climate strike on September 25 in Lisbon, Portugal. Hugo Amaral / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.

The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."

Read More Show Less
A child plays with a planet Earth ball during the Extinction Rebellion Strike in London on Apr. 18, 2019. Brais G. Rouco / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Will concern over the climate crisis stop people from having children?

Read More Show Less