Saturday December 15, 2018

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
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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)

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Countries in Climate Talks Move to Produce a Draft To Combat Climate Change

The text still contains some wording in brackets, denoting it has yet to be agreed, but less than previous drafts.

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United Nations, Global warming
Participants take part in plenary session during COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland. VOA

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries produced a draft text Thursday on how to implement the Paris Agreement on combating global warming, but some disputes remain with only one day left before the official end of the conference.

The presidency of the climate talks in Katowice, Poland, had asked for a draft of the final package to be ready by Thursday afternoon after almost two weeks of negotiations, but work continued into the evening to get it ready.

The draft lays out options on ways to implement the 2015 Paris pact which aims to limit global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius.

“We can implement the Paris Agreement as you all designed it. It is now time to move forward. We need to move. Climate change will not wait for us,” Poland’s Michal Kurtyka, president of the talks, told delegates.

Climate Talks, global warming
COP24 President Michal Kurtyka speaks during the opening of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland. VOA

Ministers are expected to continue working on sticking points through the night into Friday.

Disputes over finance have been a stumbling block at the talks, as well as monitoring and reporting countries’ efforts to reduce emissions. The United States, which intends to withdraw from the pact, is trying to ensure a level playing field for U.S. businesses against China.

“Money is the most difficult part of it. This is all money talk. This (meeting) is about technical decisions although it turned political,” one delegate told Reuters.

Groups of small island states and poorer countries, representing over 920 million people, issued a statement to Kurtyka expressing their frustration with the slow pace and lack of ambition of the talks.

“(We are) deeply concerned over the direction in which the outcomes … are heading,” the statement said, adding that a robust rulebook is needed to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made.

United Nations, global warming
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

The text still contains some wording in brackets, denoting it has yet to be agreed, but less than previous drafts.

Also Read: U.N. Chief Returns To Climate Talks To Hopefully Reach a Deal With Countries

The talks are formally scheduled to end Friday, but in the past they have often over-run into the weekend. (VOA)