Global warming threatens agriculture

The global temperature could rise at least 2.4 degrees by 2020, according to an NGO based in Argentina. However, these are disputed predictions by some climatologists who think this scenario is too alarmist. The spectrum of food insecurity recently resurfaced. While the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warned on 5 that food prices had reached their highest level since 2008, the year of riots in several developing countries, the NGO Universal Ecological Fund, the U.S. subsidiary of Universal Fundo Ecologico created in Argentina in 1990, in turn pushed a cry of alarm.

In a recent report entitled "Food deficit: the impacts of climate change on agricultural production by 2020", the organization believes that the global temperature could rise by at least 2.4 degrees by 2020 if nothing more is done to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. In parallel, the world population will reach 7.8 billion by 2020, or 900 million more than today. Together, these two phenomena will create a game of turmoil in world food production.

Wheat, rice and maize crops threatened

Three of the four main crops of the world would be so threatened. The world wheat production would suffer a deficit of 14% compared to the demand within ten years. A deficit to 11% for rice and 9% for corn. Only soybeans, which is experiencing an increase in its production would show a surplus of 5% on demand by 2020, according to projections by the NGO. Water and climate, two essential elements in food production will be particularly affected by global warming. Which would produce negative effects for regions becoming drier and positive for those wetter and warmer.

In Europe, for example, the northern countries, like Sweden or Norway, would benefit from the global yields of wheat to rise by 3 to 4% by 2020. European countries on the Mediterranean side, including Italy, Spain and France, however will suffer a decrease of 10% of all their crops. In China, the world's largest producer of rice and wheat and second for corn, the price of these products should increase by 20%. In North America, the report predicts some increase in wheat yields in the Great Plains, but predicts a reduced harvest of maize and soybean in the corn belt. Africa should finally see two-thirds of its arable land disappear by 2025 because of drought.

Shortage of arable land

The risk of food shortages are particularly serious, according to the organization saying that most arable land in the world are already being exploited. The total area of these lands stood at 1.4 billion hectares, of which 576 million hectares are in developed countries and 834 million in developing countries.

The United Nations has insisted during the Climate Change conference in Cancun in 2010 fpr the need to boost investment in agriculture in the developing world. It is impossible to achieve food security without relying on significant investments in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the rural sector. The organization has pushed for a smarter agriculture based on a report it had prepared for the Cancun conference. As smart practices, sustainable agriculture means able to increase the productivity and resilience to pressures from the environment while reducing the carbon footprint because we cannot ignore the fact that agriculture is itself one of the largest emitters of CO2.

Is the study too alarmist for the future? If the concerns of the Universal Ecological Fund for the dangers of global warming to food security in the world are widely shared by experts, some disagree. Indeed, many consider it too alarmist. All the current climate scenarios are based on a projection of a rise of 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 accoding to a climatologist. A rise of 2.4 degrees over the next ten years is absolutely impossible for some researchers.

According to another climatologist, the study contains an important error in that it confuses the rise in temperature called equilibrium with the rise of temperature called transitional. It does not take into account the time needed for the ocean to warm including the cooling effect of some current circling around Antartica, which slows the rise in atmospheric temperature due to emissions of greenhouse gas emissions.

© 2008-2014 UK Youth Delegation. All rights reserved