‘Extremely extreme’: Scientists warn climate change will ‘disrupt food supply’
Scientists have warned that the extreme changes that are threatening food supplies could mean global food shortages.
Key points:Scientists warn climate changes could disrupt food supplyThe US government says it is taking steps to limit global warming and climate changeThe UK government says there is no risk to human healthThe US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the warming of the planet is altering the planet’s weather patterns.
Scientists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) have issued a report warning that global warming will disrupt food production in the next 50 to 100 years.
“We are not only seeing extreme temperature changes, we are also seeing changes in the composition of soil and the type of plants and animals on the planet, the potential for extreme weather events, the impacts of sea level rise and drought and extreme heat, and we also have climate change-related events occurring on a daily basis,” said Mark Zukunft, a professor of geology at the University of Wyoming and the study’s lead author.
“This is something that is likely to disrupt food supplies and it’s going to affect our ability to feed the world.”
The report found that while global temperatures have slowed down over the last 15 years, the average global temperature in the US has remained above average.
But the US is only just starting to adapt to the change and it will take some time to get to a sustainable level, Dr Zukubft said.
“It’s a transition period for the US, but we’re going to see a lot more warming as the planet warms,” he said.
He said there is a huge gap between the US and other countries in terms of the food supply.
“There are some parts of the world that have a much more limited supply of food, but the vast majority of the US population has access to more than adequate food,” Dr Zauunft said, adding that the US had a large food surplus.
“But that’s changing rapidly and it doesn’t take very long for food prices to increase, so that gap will widen.”
The US Department of Agriculture has already warned that it will need to spend $20 billion to feed its population.
Dr Zauubft, who was also a senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said the USGS has not been able to forecast the impacts the changes are likely to have on crop production.
“The USGS can’t predict what will happen over the next decade, but they can forecast what will change,” he told the ABC.
“So the more that we understand what these impacts are going to be, the better prepared we will be to address those changes.”US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has pledged $1.5 billion to tackle the effects of climate change.
The USDA’s food security plan is expected to be released later this year.
Dr Jody Cagle, a research fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told the program the report highlighted how climate change was impacting food production.
She said the report showed the US was at a tipping point.
“I think we are seeing this accelerating pace of climate disruption,” she said.
Topics:environment,environmental-impact,climate-change,science-and-technology,earth-sciences,environment,science,united-statesFirst posted October 02, 2019 13:35:51Contact John White