Friday February 22, 2019

Climate Change Changes The Cost Of Eating Veggies

Food production itself is a major contributor to climate change.

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People shop at a vegetable and fruit market in Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018. Climate change could drive up the prices of vegetables, according to a new study.
People shop at a vegetable and fruit market in Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018. Climate change could drive up the prices of vegetables, according to a new study. VOA

Keeping healthy could become more costly as climate change and water scarcity cause a huge drop in the global production of vegetables and legumes, scientists said Monday.

The amount of vegetables produced could fall by more than a third, especially in hot regions like southern Europe and swaths of Africa and South Asia, said researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

By analyzing studies across 40 countries, with some dating as far back as 1975, they found that hikes in greenhouses gases, water scarcity and global temperatures lowered the amount of vegetables and legumes produced.

Such drastic changes could drive up the prices of vegetables, which would affect poorer communities the most, according to the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If we take a ‘business as usual’ approach, environmental changes will substantially reduce the global availability of these important foods,” said Alan Dangour, a co-author of the paper, in a statement.

Scientists have warned that world temperatures are likely to rise by 2 degrees to 4.9 degrees Celsius this century compared with pre-industrial times.

Climate change
Climate change, Pixabay

This could lead to dangerous weather patterns — including more frequent and powerful droughts, floods and storms — increasing the pressure on agriculture.

Food production itself is a major contributor to climate change.

Agriculture, forestry and changes in land use together produce nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, making them the second-largest emitter after the energy sector, said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The volume of food transported around the world also is exacerbating global warming.

The global demand for food is expected to soar as the world’s population is projected to grow to 9.8 billion people by 2050, up from 7.6 billion today, according to the U.N.

Crops now take up 11 percent of the world’s land surface, and livestock grazing covers 26 percent of ice-free land, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Farming accounts for about 70 percent of all water used globally, said the OECD.

Water scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the world’s population, according to the U.N.

Green vegetable
Green vegetable, Pixabay

That number is expected to rise due to global warming, with one in four people projected to face chronic or recurring shortages by 2050, the U.N. said.

Also read: Climate change driving dramatic rise in sea levels: NASA

“Urgent action needs to be taken, including working to support the agriculture sector to increase its resilience to environmental changes,” said Dangour. “And this must be a priority for governments across the world.” (VOA)

Next Story

Americans ‘Alarmed’ by Climate Change Double in Just 5 Years

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities.

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Paris Climate Meet, Global Warming
A woman displays a placard during a demonstration in New York on June 1, 2017, to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 195-nation Paris climate accord deal. VOA

The proportion of Americans found to be “alarmed” by climate change has doubled in just five years, the pollsters behind a nationwide survey revealed on Tuesday.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the poll conducted last December by Yale and George Mason universities were in the alarmed category — an all-time high — and twice the percentage of those surveyed in 2013.

More than 1,100 adults across the United States were asked about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors toward climate change.

The answers were then used to classify respondents into six groups, from dismissive, or least worried about climate change, to alarmed, for those most worried.

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FILE – People cool off at the Unisphere in Queens, New York, July 2, 2018. VOA

Those deemed dismissive of global warming represented 9 percent of respondents, a drop of five points compared to 2013.

‘Green New Deal’

The findings come amid a growing polarization of the political debate over the issue of global warming in the United States.

The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Paris climate deal has fired up his base, while opponents have championed a “Green New Deal” that seeks to eliminate the nation’s heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions within a decade.

The 2015 Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 nations, seeks to wean the global economy off fossil fuels in the second half of this century, limiting the rise in average temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

The increased visibility of global warming such debates generate could explain Americans’ rising concern, said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at Hunter College in New York City.

New York, Climate
The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now. Pixabay

“The more information you get there more interested that you are,” he said.

Academic research has further shown that growing exposure to bouts of extreme weather may also change minds, he added. “And it results in higher concern.”

Climate change influences economy

Climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century, hitting everything from health to infrastructure, according to a 2018 government report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II.

ALSO READ: Global Warming Could Change US Cities’ Climate by 2080- Study

Meanwhile, three of the five costliest hurricanes in the United States — Harvey, Maria and Irma — occurred in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Commerce Department. (VOA)