Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

Climate

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less