How climate change is dramatically affecting global wheat supplies
We probably don’t spend too much time thinking about the impact of climate change on agriculture, but we should. As the United States Environmental Protection Agency points out, the agricultural sector injects more than $300 billion each year, and if we add other sectors related to food, agriculture and food in together they contribute more than “$750 to gross national product income.”
Paul Elkins, professor of environmental resource policy at University College London, explains that while crops per hectare have improved over the past five decades, there have been fluctuations over the past 15 years. and 30% of observed fluctuations in crop yields were caused by weather (via The Conversation). He points out that these fluctuations are best seen in certain crops, including barley, corn, millet, pulses and rice. It also sounds the alarm that the countries considered most exposed to climate change conditions are the same ones suffering from food shortages.
Adverse growing conditions are already hurting global wheat crops. Bloomberg notes that European farmland outside of Russia and Ukraine is experiencing hot, dry weather; drought also delayed planting in parts of Canada, while scorching heat damaged wheat crops in India. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said 1.7 billion people have been affected by extreme weather in the past decade alone, according to the United Nations. The war against Ukraine is also affecting the world’s food supply.
Ironically, Time Magazine adds that the only place where wheat crops will produce an exceptional yield is Russia, which is currently at war with Ukraine.