The worst of the many horrible consequences in a warm world is what it will do to agricultural production. A new study finds that it’s not just about the future – if the world were to maintain the conditions of the 1960s, we would already be growing a fifth less food than we are.
Technological advances still hide it to increase overall yields. But as global warming accelerates, agricultural scientists need to work harder to keep up. Even in epidemics, the population is growing by millions a year and it will not stop soon. Better distribution of food can help avoid famine to some extent, but avoiding a starving future is almost certainly to produce more food. Climate change makes that even tougher, but no one can be sure how much.
Robert Chambers, a professor at the University of Maryland, seeks to answer that question. Nature Climate Change He concludes that global food productivity has declined by 21 percent since 1961 as a result of the changing climate, including droughts in some places and floods in others. Chambers said in a statement, “Agricultural productivity measure historically has not integrated weather data, but we would like to see trends in these inputs beyond the control of the farmer.”
Previous studies on the effects of global heating on agriculture have focused on cereals as the largest source of calories, but Chambers and co-authors have used crop prices to include all the foods we grow. “We have used the model in this paper to estimate what the total factor productivity patterns would be like in the absence of climate change.” The chamber has been added. “Our research shows that climate and weather-related factors have already had a major impact on agriculture.”
The introduction of hybrid crops such as dwarf wheat and the widespread use of fertilizers and equipment have made chambers much more productive during the study period and saved us from predictable disasters. Yet, the changed climate has eaten away at seven years of productivity growth. Missing out on these potential benefits has made meals more expensive, leaving some people completely starving. This has forced farmers to expand their sown areas, destroying ecosystems that will never return and extinct species.
Chambers had previously made a similar analysis for the United States, where he found that the effects of climate change were far more modest than those of science and engineering. The spread of the assessment around the world has brought even worse news. Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the places that can manage the lowest losses in food production, have seen their productivity decline by 26-34 percent as a result of climate change.
Most of the countries in Central Africa have seen a decline in total agricultural productivity in the last 60 years. Russia and Canada have experienced the rise of climate change in productivity in agriculture, but they are almost alone. “Some people think of climate change as a distant problem, which should primarily concern future generations. But it ignores the fact that people have already changed the climate,” says first author Dr. Ariel Ortiz-Bobea.