With storms to the east and wildfires to the west, the climate crisis is at the forefront of public consciousness. But aside from dramatic disasters, another pernicious threat comes with a warming climate: diminishing global crop yields.
In a new study published in Nature Food, researchers assessed global yields for 18 of the most farmed crops — wheat, maize, soybeans, rice, barley, sugar beet, cassava, cotton, groundnuts, millet, oats, potatoes, pulses, rapeseed, rye, sorghum, sunflower and sweet potatoes — crops that, all together, represent 70 percent of global crop area and around 65 percent of global caloric intake.
The authors found that climate change will not only hamper farmers’ abilities to maintain current harvests, but that countries already facing food insecurity will be disproportionately affected. The researchers investigated temperature variations, but didn’t examine climate impacts to precipitation patterns or other weather phenomena such as flood or drought.
The most negatively affected countries across most crops, their models found, were those in sub-Saharan Africa and certain countries in South America and South Asia such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and Venezuela, among others. Read more…