The news about climate change and global food production, that is. Recent studies suggest that unprecedented heat, erratic weather and surging human populations will put intense pressure on food supplies. This will make necessary vast increases in agricultural productivity in coming decades. The why is fairly straightforward; the how less so. Wheat yields, according to a study in Science, could fall by 20 to 40 percent. “”For me, this is the strongest argument that either you have to do something about global warming or you need to actually figure out how you’re going to deal with these kind of permanent reductions in yield,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. David Battisti says.
Another study, this one prepared for an upcoming G8 meeting on agriculture, warns of a permanent world food crisis — if agricultural productivity doesn’t rise by 100 percent by 2050. But can it? How? More on that in future blogs. A drought in northern China, where much of the country’s wheat and other primary crops are grown, is bedeviling production. It’s also drying out wells that provide water to homes and industries. Already one of China’s more arid regions, the drought in northern China is the worst in perhaps 50 years. According to the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, nearly 5 million people and 2.5 million farmed animals don’t have enough water to drink.