- A new report warns that climate change may sharply reduce the yields of staple crops by 2050.
- One food item already impacted by the worsening crisis is pasta.
- The pandemic may help people understand the severity of the issue.
Yields of staple crops could ultimately decline by nearly a third by the year 2050. The 50% price increase for a packet of spaghetti was predicted in some places as a result of the depleted global wheat harvest ,reports World Economic Forum.
Influence of climate change on staple crops
By the 2040s, though, the odds that the four countries producing nearly all global maize exports will simultaneously lose more than 10% of their crop may be the same as guessing the flip of a coin according to a Chatham House report published last week.
Yields of staple crops could ultimately decline by nearly a third by the year 2050, according to the report, if governments don’t ramp up commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
The durum wheat:
Among the staples already being affected by extreme weather attributed to climate change is the durum wheat needed to produce much of the world’s pasta.
The 50% price increase for a packet of spaghetti predicted in some places as a result of the depleted global wheat harvest is a small but meaningful reminder that a warming climate can take the food out of our mouths.
In Canada, the world’s biggest exporter of durum wheat, record temperatures this past summer and pervasive drought attributed to climate change reduced the country’s anticipated production for this year to about 3.5 million metric tones, a nearly 50% decline from last year. European producers were meanwhile deluged by record rainfall chalked up to warming temperatures.
Impact of pandemic
The heavy impact of climate change on the global food supply chain has been made even heavier by COVID-19.
Last year, according to the UN, global hunger surged as the pandemic disrupted supply chains and inflated food prices. Nearly 10% of the global population was undernourished, the UN reported, and nearly a third didn’t consistently have access to the food they need daily.
Modern supply chains are generally built for efficiency. But they’re also not often designed to withstand the unpredictability wrought by a sudden disaster.
A record number of cargo ships were forced to idle at one time near southern California’s busy ports due to pandemic-related disruptions, and dry bulk carrier congestion has hit historic levels in China.
The pandemic may be helpful in this regard. The temporary roadblocks erected in the global food supply chain seem to have woken many people up to the fact that climate change can do the same sort of thing, albeit on a more permanent basis.
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Source: World Economic Forum