There may be four billion more of us by the year 2050, but experts believe that due to global warming, there just won’t be enough food to go around.
Population growth estimates suggest that as a whole, the world will need 50 per cent more food by 2050.
Which is bad news, because according to a new study, increasing temperatures and ozone pollution will damage crops to the extent that our overall food supply will be cropped significantly.
In fact, global food production is predicted to fall at a rate of around 10 per cent by the time 2050 comes staggering to our door like a poorly-fed dog in need of a good meal.
The Daily Mail reports:
“As a result of global warming, rates of malnourishment in the developing world could increase from the current 18 per cent to 27 per cent within the next four decades.”
Talk about reaping what you sow, hey!
Researchers have long known the damaging effect on both plants and crop yields that higher temperatures and ozone pollution can cause.
Yet the true significance of what both these factors entail for the future of our food supply is now being considered in much more detail.
The authors of the new study claim that while the effects of global warming and rising temperatures on our crops has been studied, debated, and analyzed for many a moon, the impact of air quality is less recognized.
For example, ozone pollution can be tricky to identify because it produces the same sort of flecks on leaves and discoloration that is caused by other plant illnesses.
Additionally, while heat and ozone can each damage plants independently, they can also interact and cause merry havoc.
The researchers studied how global warming affects the worldwide production of four leading food crops — rice, wheat, corn, and soy.
The aforesaid crops are pretty important because in every corner of the globe they are responsible for half the calories we ingest on a daily basis.
Different crops will be effected differently depending on their location and nature. For instance, corn doesn’t like the heat so much and wheat is hyper sensitive when it comes to ozone exposure.
The good news is that in the U.S. the enforcement of strict air-quality regulations is anticipated to initiate a sharp decline in ozone pollution. So Stateside, at least, the crops can breathe an air of relief.
Professor Colette Heald, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is one of the researchers behind the study, and would like to see all countries adopt air-pollution policies.
The Professor said:
“In other regions the outcome will depend on domestic air-pollution policies but an air-quality cleanup would improve crop yields.”
Researchers found that pollution-control measures could make a major dent in the expected crop reductions following climate change.
The Professor added:
“Agricultural production is very sensitive to ozone pollution. These findings show how important it is to think about the agricultural implications of air-quality regulations. Ozone is something that we understand the causes of, and the steps that need to be taken to improve air quality.”
Earlier this year the IPCC warned that as well as reducing our food supply, global warming would trigger storm surges, flooding and heat-waves in the years and decades to come.
It also claimed that the world is in “an era of man-made climate change” which has already seen impacts of global warming on every continent and across every ocean.
The only problem is the world doesn’t appear to be listening. We’ve gone sun-bathing instead.