Thursday, 5 December 2019

Without drastic and immediate action, climate change will spell less food for the vast majority of Earth's population by century's end. Study. by Larry Powell

A disastrous 2019 growing season in Manitoba included drought,
rain and snow at the wrong times. Both seeding and harvesting
of food crops like canola (above) were disrupted,
yield and quality reduced. A PinP photo.
There are few bright spots in this body of research. 

If developed countries don't reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate "promptly," it warns, a "perfect storm" will result. Food such as soy, corn, wheat and rice produced by the agriculture sector and seafood by marine fisheries, will go down for about 90 percent of Earth's population - more than seven billion, by 2100. Most of those affected already live in the most sensitive and least developed countries.

As overwhelming as the impacts would be, they wouldn't be universal. A scant three percent of the population would actually experience a food production increase over the same period.

And, if countries actually make those emissions cutbacks (a "best-case scenario"), "Most countries would experience net gains in both agriculture and fisheries production."

Even without concerted efforts, consequences for those living in high latitudes in North America and Europe may still not likely be as severe.  Canada and Russia, for example, "will experience losses of lower magnitude or even gains in some cases." That's because residents of those countries do not depend on food from farming and fishing as much as others do.

The authors, part of an international team of scientists, call the effects these changes will have on vulnerable human societies, "One of the grand challenges of our time."

Their findings were published recently in "Science Advances."

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