Our changing climate is impacting agriculture today and will continue for decades to come. No place on Earth is immune to this; the major growing areas of the world are being affected. Additional impacts brought on by war, supply chain issues, resource shortages, and more just add to the impacts and the consequences.
And beyond smaller harvests, crops grown in high carbon dioxide (CO2) conditions have lower concentrations of essential nutrients.
*Ray, D. K., West, P. C., Clark, M., Gerber, J. S., Prishchepov, A. V., & Chatterjee, S. (2019). Climate change has likely already affected global food production. PloS One, 14(5), 1. [PDF] [Cited by]
“Crop yields are projected to decrease under future climate conditions, and recent research suggests that yields have already been impacted. However, current impacts on a diversity of crops subnationally and implications for food security remains unclear. Here, we constructed linear regression relationships using weather and reported crop data to assess the potential impact of observed climate change on the yields of the top ten global crops–barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat at ~20,000 political units. We find that the impact of global climate change on yields of different crops from climate trends ranged from -13.4% (oil palm) to 3.5% (soybean). Our results show that impacts are mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa and Australia but generally positive in Latin America. Impacts in Asia and Northern and Central America are mixed. This has likely led to ~1% average reduction (-3.5 X 1013 kcal/year) in consumable food calories in these ten crops. In nearly half of food insecure countries, estimated caloric availability decreased. Our results suggest that climate change has already affected global food production.”
*Zhao, C., Liu, B., Piao, S., Wang, X., Lobell, D. B., Huang, Y., Huang, M., Yao, Y., Bassu, S., Ciais, P., Durand, J., Elliott, J., Ewert, F., Janssens, I. A., Li, T., Lin, E., Liu, Q., Martre, P., Müller, C., . . . Asseng, S. (2017). Temperature increase reduces global yields of major crops in four independent estimates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(35), 9326-9331. [PDF] [Cited by]
“Agricultural production is vulnerable to climate change. Understanding climate change, especially the temperature impacts, is critical if policymakers, agriculturalists, and crop breeders are to ensure global food security.
Wheat, rice, maize, and soybean provide two-thirds of human caloric intake. Assessing the impact of global temperature increase on production of these crops is therefore critical to maintaining global food supply, but different studies have yielded different results. Here, we investigated the impacts of temperature on yields of the four crops by compiling extensive published results from four analytical methods: global grid-based and local point-based models, statistical regressions, and field-warming experiments. Results from the different methods consistently showed negative temperature impacts on crop yield at the global scale, generally underpinned by similar impacts at country and site scales. Without CO2 fertilization, effective adaptation, and genetic improvement, each degree-Celsius increase in global mean temperature would, on average, reduce global yields of wheat by 6.0%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4%, and soybean by 3.1%. Results are highly heterogeneous across crops and geographical areas, with some positive impact estimates. Multimethod analyses improved the confidence in assessments of future climate impacts on global major crops and suggest crop- and region-specific adaptation strategies to ensure food security for an increasing world population.”
*Zhu, C., Kobayashi, K., Loladze, I., Zhu, J., Jiang, Q., Xu, X., Liu, G., Seneweera, S., Ebi, K. L., Drewnowski, A., Fukagawa, N. K., & Ziska, L. H. (2018). Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels this century will alter the protein, micronutrients, and vitamin content of rice grains with potential health consequences for the poorest rice-dependent countries. Science Advances, 4(5), 1. [PDF] [Cited by]
“Declines of protein and minerals essential for humans, including iron and zinc, have been reported for crops in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, [CO2]. For the current century, estimates of the potential human health impact of these declines range from 138 million to 1.4 billion, depending on the nutrient. However, changes in plant-based vitamin content in response to [CO2] have not been elucidated. Inclusion of vitamin information would substantially improve estimates of health risks. Among crop species, rice is the primary food source for more than 2 billion people. We used multiyear, multilocation in situ FACE (free-air CO2 enrichment) experiments for 18 genetically diverse rice lines, including Japonica, Indica, and hybrids currently grown throughout Asia. We report for the first time the integrated nutritional impact of those changes (protein, micronutrients, and vitamins) for the 10 countries that consume the most rice as part of their daily caloric supply. Whereas our results confirm the declines in protein, iron, and zinc, we also find consistent declines in vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 and, conversely, an increase in vitamin E. A strong correlation between the impacts of elevated [CO2] on vitamin content based on the molecular fraction of nitrogen within the vitamin was observed. Finally, potential health risks associated with anticipated CO2-induced deficits of protein, minerals, and vitamins in rice were correlated to the lowest overall gross domestic product per capita for the highest rice-consuming countries, suggesting potential consequences for a global population of approximately 600 million.”
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