Global food supply: Global Food Production Warming Climate

Published: December 2, 2015

Global food supply: Global Food Production Warming Climate, As world leaders meet in Paris to set a target to reduce carbon emissions, scientists and farmers fear even the ambitious aim of limiting global warming to two degrees would have huge impacts on Australian farm production, leading to more expensive food prices.

Lesley Hughes, a professor of biology at Macquarie University and a councillor on the independent Climate Council, has examined the impact of global warming on Australian farming and says two degrees of warming creates real risks.

There will come a time when in many regions, many of the climatic extremes will be simply too great to adapt to.

Lesley Hughes, Climate Council

“(It’s) very dangerous for agricultural production, 2.7 degrees is even more dangerous, though, on the bright side it’s still considerably safer than the four to six degrees that is what we are heading for currently on our emissions trajectory,” Professor Hughes said.

She said more extreme weather conditions linked to global warming, including longer droughts and more intense cyclones, were already affecting food production, and increasing the price consumers pay.

“Food prices during the drought, during 2005 to 2007, went up quite substantially,” she said.

“For example fruit went up over 43 per cent in price and vegetables over 33 per cent.

“Of course fruit and vegetables both have very significant requirements for water, in many cases irrigated water, and when that wasn’t available, fruit and vegetable production declined and therefore fruit and vegetable prices went up.”

Professor Hughes said droughts also affected meat prices.

“The typical pattern during a drought is that at the onset of a drought and in the early days people de-stock, they sell off and so meat prices can decline because the market is full.


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