Climate Change – The Wild Card

Climate Change – The Wild Card

Climate change is already radically changing the weather. How might it change what we eat?

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Climate Change – The Wild Card

Climate change is real, and “scientific evidence for the warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” On average, the Earth has warmed 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century. The recent rapid global warming of the Earth’s climate, the “greenhouse effect,” is mostly human-induced and results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth towards space.

Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Unless we reduce significant amounts of these gases flowing into our atmosphere, the International Food Policy Research Institute has projected that (crop) yields might fall by 13-50 percent by 2050, thereby jeopardizing the food security of more than 2 billion people in Asia alone.

Widespread impacts on food and farming are highly likley

Source: CCAFS. 2014. Climate change, food security and small-scale producers. Info Note.

With a growing world population requiring a 60% increase in food production by 2050, the continued impacts of climate change are our wake-up call. One of the most disconcerting aspects of climate change is its unpredictability. “…as the Earth’s average temperature climbs, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling. As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas.” This volatility will require building resilience and efficiency into our global food supply system to be able to withstand not only the impacts of climate change but also the unrest that may result.

“Climate change is THE problem, so it needs to be the filter through which we examine everything we do. When we’re designing policies in every area we should view them through that filter. Is this policy helping or hurting with climate change?”

Michael Pollan. 6 February 2015. Reforming Farming to Fight Climate Change: An Interview with Michael Pollan. Center for Ecoliteracy.

The Future of Food

The Future of Food has been produced by Future iQ as a foresight research paper. It examines a range of critical catalysts of change relating to the global food supply chain, and the potential impacts upon human health, the environment and food security.
Learn about the Future of Food Project »