Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 9 News List

A warming world threatens our food supplies

Global warming is exacerbating political instability as tensions brought on by food insecurity rise, and new research suggests the issue can only get worse

By John Vidal  /  The Guardian, LONDON

EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST

In Europe’s high and middle latitudes, global warming is expected to greatly expand the growing season. Crops in Russia are expected to be able to expand northwards but yields will be much lower because the soils are less fertile. In the south, the climate is likely to become much drier which will reduce yields. In addition, climate change is expected to increase the scarcity of water resources and encourage weed and pest proliferation.

Many Russian regions were hit by an extreme heatwave in 2011, which forced the government to ban exports of wheat and grains. Warming will increase the number of forest fires by 30 percent to 40 percent. This will affect soil erosion and increase the probability of floods.

In the Middle East and North Africa, declining yields of up to 30 percent are expected for rice, about 47 percent for maize and 20 percent for wheat.

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