According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, several key crops will be drastically affected, if not made extinct, by climate change. The study focuses on nine crops across sub-Saharan Africa, but three of them (maize, beans and bananas) are expected to face major transformations as soon as 2025. Between 30-60% of areas growing these three crops are projected to become unviable by the end of the century.
While the United States is not a stone's throw from sub-Saharan African, the study indicates the vulnerability of food security worldwide. Some, including University of Birmingham student Rachel Taylor who comments below, believe genetically modified foods could be the answer to this crisis. But health experts and environmentalists alike have their own concerns with food whose genetic make-up has been created in a laboratory. One way to avoid having to use genetically engineered crops is to work toward stemming the proverbial (and literal) rising tide of climate change. Reducing climate impacts by ensuring the enactment of the Clean Power Plan, is a beginning. We hope you'll join us to get involved.
By Rachel Taylor I April 2, 2016
In the face of climate change, researchers from the University of Leeds have published a timescale in Nature predicting the extinction of major food crops and highlighting the “transformations” that need to take place to minimise the impact of climate change.
Agricultural practices are generally considered to improve food security and reduce poverty in less economically developed countries, feeding an estimated 800 million undernourished population throughout the world. On the other hand, climate change will have a massively deleterious effect on good practices, making it difficult to adapt plants in the face of stress factors such as drought or flooding.
With the world’s population expected to increase to 9.6 billion by 2050, food production will need to increase to over 110% in order to sustain such a massive increase. While this is unlikely to happen in the next 30 years, scientists are working hard to look for genes that may increase a plant crop’s stress tolerances. However, with the genetic adaptation of plants, comes anti-GM protests and scare-mongering amongst the public. With this in mind the CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) funded the University of Leeds study that set out to quantify the most likely points at which changes in crops will occur.
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