Report: Rising Temperatures Threaten A Food Crisis

Friday, June 3, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Joel N. Shurkin
Jun 2, 2011

A recent study reports that the geographical range of some agricultural crops — such as corn and beans — may be greatly reduced if temperatures continue to rise. While some farmers may be able to readjust what they grow, others may have to give up, producing a disaster.

Food prices have been rising, and climate change is likely to have a larger effect on food production in the future. These issues might be expected in southern Asia and Africa, but if temperatures keep rising, even places now reasonably secure such as China and Latin America could face a food crisis within two generations.

The study was published by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, a non-governmental research organization.

The researchers used current climate models to produce the maps which match “climate hotspots,” places where climate change is expected to be at its most extreme, and indicators of future food problems. One map shows “climate thresholds,” where rising temperatures would make growing certain crops untenable. Another shows densely agricultural areas that may be sensitive to temperature changes, and a third shows areas where producing food always has been problematical.

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