The calm before the storm
Changes in weather conditions and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods are already causing losses in yield of many agricultural commodities. The negative effects of climate change will increase further in future, depending on the degree of global warming and the capacity to adapt to this.
Some regions and species of plants will actually be able to benefit from climate change, but for other agricultural commodities such as wheat and maize it appears that climate change has already had a negative effect on crops in some growing regions and from a global perspective.
This report by WWF Germany investigates the luxury foods coffee, bananas, oranges and hazelnuts with the following results: » Half of the global cultivation of coffee takes place in Brazil and Vietnam where it is a mainstay of the economy.
These regions have already experienced major crop losses in recent decades. It is calculated that 50 % of the areas in the world suitable for growing coffee will be lost by 2050. » In Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of bananas, their cultivation is at risk from droughts.
Agriculture already uses over 80% of the freshwater abstracted. In Colombia, the third largest banana exporting country, around 60% of the area suitable for growing bananas could be unusable by 2060 due to climate change.
Climate change will affect the availability, quality and price of foodstuffs much more than in the past. The Calm before the Storm – The consequences of climate change for the agricultural economy and consumers.
There are major differences in the effects of climate change in the exporting and importing countries. In Germany the availability, quality and price of foodstuffs will suffer increasingly from changes in the climate. But it is unlikely that this will endanger food security. For the population in many growing regions, however, the loss in earnings when crops fail often means that their livelihoods are at stake.
Read the report here
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