60 Percent Of Global Wheat Crop Threatened By Drought In Next 80 Years

The global food supply is about to take a serious blow within the next century if humans do not take drastic action to fight climate change right now because at least 60 percent of the wheat crop is going to be targeted by extreme drought.

Climate change is only accelerating as the world continues to experience hotter global temperatures. This past July is now the hottest month on record and there is no evidence that temperatures won’t get even worse.

That being said, higher global temperatures means drier conditions that set the stage for drought and water insecurity.

And both of these are a major threat to the food supply, which principally depends on wheat production.

According to the International Development Research Centre:

Wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain, occupying 17 percent of the total cultivated land in the world. Wheat is the staple food for 35 percent of the world’s population, and provides more calories and protein in the world’s diet than any other crop.

Wheat is responsible for feeding over a third of the world population, and pretty much everyone has consumed a wheat product at some point. It is, by far, one of the most accessible and cheapest foods on Earth.

But a new study is warning that the rise of global temperatures and the increased drought and water shortages that come with them, will put at least 60 percent of the wheat grown worldwide at risk.

According to the study published by Science Advances:

Global warming is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of severe water scarcity (SWS) events, which negatively affect rain-fed crops such as wheat, a key source of calories and protein for humans.Our projections show that, without climate change mitigation (representative concentration pathway 8.5), up to 60% of the current wheat-growing area will face simultaneous SWS events by the end of this century, compared to 15% today. Climate change stabilization in line with the Paris Agreement would substantially reduce the negative effects, but they would still double between 2041 and 2070 compared to current conditions. Future assessments of production shocks in food security should explicitly include the risk of severe, prolonged, and near-simultaneous droughts across key world wheat-producing areas.

Basically, we not only have to adhere to the Paris climate accord, we have to beyond it and act immediately if we want any hope of reducing the impact on the food supply caused by climate change.

“If only one country or region sees a drought there is less impact,” study co-author Song Feng of the University of Arkansas told Common Dreams. “But if multiple regions are affected simultaneously, it can affect global production and food prices, and lead to food insecurity.”

Climate change is also affecting the price of wheat, which would have further negative impacts on poor families who cannot afford the rising costs.

“Recent evidence suggests that variations in crop product prices are linked to simultaneously challenging economic factors, such as oil prices and exchange rates, as well as the occurrence of large-scale droughts and corresponding market and policy responses,” the study says.

Hunger and starvation could very well be even more serious problems in the world in just a few decades, and it’s going to happen around the globe. No country will be spared from this growing threat. That’s why nations must unite and take strong actions to combat climate change before all hope is lost and the scenario laid out by this study becomes reality.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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