CleanTechnica | January 28, 2014 12:11 pm
Climate impacts are likely to lead to drastic increases in the prices of common food-stuffs over the next few decades, according to a series of new studies from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
The studies strongly suggest that the agricultural industry won’t be able to adapt fast enough to the shifting climatic patterns to prevent a decrease in production—hence rising prices.
As a result of climate impacts, average food prices could increase up to 25 percent by 2050. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
The research also addresses the concerns that some have that expanding biofuel production could also lead to higher food prices. Such an expansion could indeed lead to increases in food prices according to the new research, increases of up to five percent by the year 2050. While such a rise is quite significant, it is absolutely dwarfed by the rise that is now expected to be caused by climate change. The new research predicts increases in food prices as high as 25 percent by the year 2050 as a result of climate impacts. That means up to 25 percent higher without even including important secondary effects, such as increased war/conflict, increasing levels of disease/plant diseases, increasing populations of common pests, etc.
In total, three separate studies were completed—one assessing the impact of climate change on demand for cropland, one assessing the impact on crop yields and one assessing the impact of second-generation biofuels on the transport sector.
The lead researcher on the cropland study, Christoph Schmitz, notes that climate impacts are “likely to lead to a drastic increase in demand for cropland.” Continuing: “We find most models projecting an increase in cropland by 2050 that is more than 50 percent higher in scenarios with unabated climate change than in those assuming a constant climate,” adding that the “increase meant the world would require 320 million hectares instead of about 200 million hectares by 2050—a difference equal to an area roughly three times the size of Germany.”
Global Climate Change