Agriculture is one of the sectors that will suffer the impacts of climate change. As expected, agricultural production in developing countries will be seriously affected pushing millions of people into situations of nutritional deficiency or hunger.

A few days ago Professor Richard Muller, a physicist at UC Berkeley and one of the last famous scientists who raised doubts regarding Climate Change and the importance of human action on global warming, acknowledged that he is definitely convinced that the phenomenon is real and that human emissions of GHG gases are the main cause. Using data collected in the “Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature" project, the scientist concluded that the average temperature on Earth has increased 1.5 ° C over the past 250 years.

Maybe it's a good time to recall some of the major impacts on world agriculture by the year 2050, anticipated by several prediction models of climate change:

Significant reduction in harvests of rice, maize and wheat in developing countries (especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa). This reduction may exceed 40% for some critical crops, such as wheat in Asia).

Increase in food prices. Although it is expected that food prices continue to rise even in a hypothetical scenario without climate change (population growth, the evolution of purchasing power, pressure from biofuels, among other factors inevitably lead to higher prices), climate change will lead to an extra increase that will vary between 10% (soybean) and 110% (wheat). This increase will also impact the products of animal origin (additional increases of over 20%).

Changes in food consumption patterns, including the continuation of the direct dependence from cereals in developing countries.

Together these three impacts result in an effective reduction of the overall calories available (and consumed) per capita. This is especially serious in developing countries where it is expected that, by 2050, each inhabitant will have access to 10% less calories that they had in 2000.

Regardless of the considerable economic costs associated with a transition to a low carbon climate change resilient agriculture, we should always keep in mind that the "business as usual" approach will have much higher human and economic costs...

Action is needed now.


Note: The numbers cited come from the "Climate Change - Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation" report by IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute).