New study finds food supply already imperiled by climate change

Thu, 2007-03-22 09:58Bill Miller
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New study finds food supply already imperiled by climate change

The study by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California found fields of wheat, corn and barley throughout the world have produced a combined 40 million metric tons less each year from 1981 to 2002. Annual global temperatures increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit between 1980 and 2002, with even larger changes observed in several regions.

“There is clearly a negative response of global yields to increased temperatures,” said David Lobell, a researcher and leading author of the study.

Christopher Field, co-author and director of Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, said while most people think of climate change as something that will impact the future, “this study shows that warming over the past two decades already has had real effects on global food supply.”

Previous Comments

Good thing we have this study – I was beginning to wonder why we were having these non-stop famines over the past three decades, and why food is in such short supply.

Oh, wait. That didn’t actually happen. Never mind!

But at least we have a nice study to chat about.
Re: throwaway comment above. It must be great not to have seen people suffering from famine in your life. Many of us can’t say that; I can’t. The level of disrespect to the geographically and environmentally less fortunate is extreme, and even that statement will generate “oh, pulease, whadeeever” from the ignorant.

Although I think Desmogblog is doing a great service, unfortunately the format also draws in all kinds of uninformed deniers and easy spoilers, even denying food shortages for cripes sake, as though just saying it in a nasty tone (anonymously, but perhaps recognizably) will make it so. It might be an indication that Desmogblog needs a different type of blog in order to foster discussion. Humbly submitted - I don’t want to sound like I’m saying you need to keep the riff-raff out, but you really need to keep the riff-raff out. Am I suggesting that you filter out those like above and exclude them from the discussion? You bet I am!


“It must be great not to have seen people suffering from famine in your life. Many of us can’t say that”

True, especially those people in places like North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, or Ethiopia. Strange how this Global Warming-caused Famine only seems to selectively affect countries with caring socialist regimes?

For instance, in the workers paradise of North Korea, people regularly starve to death, due to Global Warming Famine. Yet, paradoxically, the population just across the border in South Korea is well-fed. The same weird phenomenon is evident in the completely democratic Cuba. Cubans go hungry – due to Global Warming Famine. Mysteriously, though, just a short homemade-raft cruise across shark-infested waters, fellow North Americans have never had a food shortage.

Why even in Venezuela, almost as soon as their beloved leader began bravely instituting socialist policies, they are struck with Global Warming-caused Food Shortages!

Why does Global Warming Famine seem to only pick on the glorious vanguards of communism? Surely this is proof-positive that Global Warming Famine is created by devious capitalists, and decadent Western lifestyles, masterminded by George Bush and his CIA weather machine!

The science is clear. The Gore has spoken.
It doesn’t. You made that up. Boring. Go back to the repubtory blogs.

“Global Warming-caused Famine only seems to selectively affect countries with caring socialist regimes? ”

I have never understood the link the deniers make between socialism, a social construct, and global warming, a physical reality. I've heard John Stossel use this comparison in the past and recently heard shock jock Geoff Beck make the comparison.

It would be the same as saying something like capitalism is the cause of, or is somehow related to, gravity.

I guess the reality of gravity was just never politicized to the extent that global warming is today. Oh wait, they didn't have John Stossel and Geoff Beck back then did they?

Nobody here has linked Global Warming and socialism.

Yet, you are trying to link Global Warming and famine.

But when it is observed that this mysterious “Global Warming-caused famine” seems only affect socialist regimes, you don’t like it.

Could it be that these famines are actually the result of some “social construct”? Naaaaah … Must be Global Warming.

But your irate response is fascinating.
No doubt some areas will yield more food in future conditions, but that might be the exception. Some projections for Canada actually indicate an increase in some crops, for example with longer season, but this is unlikely to make it all worth while!

For those who have not had trouble getting up for a sandwich during the last few decades, it might come as a surprise that food has become scarce in some spots. Food production can be driven down by weather-induced problems (drought, grasshoppers responding directly to heat, locusts responding to altered air mass movement and rainfall, these and other weather-dependent pests can expand ranges, etc.), even in North America or Australia (is this news?). In Africa, it is more easily ignored. Weather-related famine keeps West Africa on the edge, and this may just get worse under the projections. And if someone gives you the tripe that it is all about distribution, just laugh. I was there, beginning in 1988-89, when the drought and locusts came back, the first of many.

Famine in Niger and Mali

Earth Observatory maps ; Visible earth

“Images of starving children have once again turned the attention of the international community to Africa. Food shortages have left more than 2.5 million people in need of food aid in Niger, where over 20 percent of the population is suffering life-threatening malnutrition. Niger’s western neighbor, Mali, is facing similar food shortages, with as many as 2.2 million hungry by UN estimates. Mauritania has also been affected. The current famine throughout western Africa is a result of drought and locusts decimating crops in 2004. The seeds of famine were evident in satellite imagery acquired in July 2004. Streaks of brown in the top image reveal where drought thinned crops across the western Sahel…”

21/07/2005 - “Up to a third of Niger’s population suffers from food scarcity, every day children die from under nourishment.”

Or were the famine deniers disputing recent famines or previous famines, like Mali 1988-, Ethiopia, 1983–85, etc. Or is it “famines occurred thousands of years ago and are natural, therefore nothing we could do could influence them”.

And the “related causes” consequences of famine.

notes

- “In 2005, about 10.1 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. Almost all of these deaths occured in developing countries, 3/4 of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two regions that also suffer from the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition.

- “Most of these deaths are attributed, not to outright starvation, but to diseases that move in on vulnerable children whose bodies have been weakened by hunger.

- “Every year, more than 20 million low-birth weight babies are born in developing countries. These babies risk dying in infancy, while those who survive often suffer lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities.

“Famine in Niger and Mali.”

Huh! Who would have thought that an incredibly prosperous country like Mali, located in that fertile farming area known as The Sahara Desert, and who’s chief industry is agriculture, would ever have a famine. Obviously, this is caused by Global Warming.

And Niger, a country so modern and sophisticated, they actually banned slavery in 2003. Hard to imagine such an economic powerhouse could possibly have a famine. But there you go, Global Warming strikes again.
The Sahara is well north. Read a book or use the internet. The soil is better than Sask. But don’t take my word for it.
That’s you joshin us, right? Nobody is that dumb.
I actually kind of wish it was me joking around…
“The soil is better than Sask. But don’t take my word for it.”

I guess that explains all those famines in Saskatchewan we keep hearing about.

Soil quality has nothing to do with the prevalence of droughts. Droughts of course are linked to weather patterns namely rainfall of course. Mali is a country that has the risk of severe droughts (CIA Factbook). Luckily for most of Canada there is no shortage of fresh water, and severe droughts are infrequent, though not impossible. Getting more extreme weather is obviously bad for a place like Mali which is already at risk for nasty droughts.

So you are saying Mali being at risk of “nasty droughts” is only a recent phenomenon?

That would depend on what you define as recent. Agnew and Chappell (2004) state that

The Sahel region of West Africa (Bukina Faso, Mali and Niger) is well known as a region of environmental degradation. The reported incidence of desertification has been challenged but persistent and widespread drought is still widely accepted. Drought, defined solely as a function of rainfall, is believed to have commenced in the early 1970s and continued through to the present.

So that would imply that the tendency of droughts before 1970’s were low and infrequent, while the current risk of nasty droughts began in the 70’s and continues to today. So yes I would be saying it is a recent phenomena.

“That would depend on what you define as recent.”

We’ll take that as a “no”.

Quite obviously you didn’t even read the entire post, as it’s been a phenomena noticed over the last 30 years but not prior. That’s recent enough in my books and the question was rhetorical but that concepts seems to have been lost or confused.

Yup, and keep in mind the original claim (if you can call it that), that there have been no weather-related famines in the last 3 decades. That looks like a good fer-instance. I agree - no basis for that, obviously fired in as a potshot.

So *THAT* explains it! Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 2007-03-22 10:35. Good thing we have this study – I was beginning to wonder why we were having these non-stop famines over the past three decades, and why food is in such short supply. Oh, wait. That didn’t actually happen. Never mind! But at least we have a nice study to chat about.

It is healthy to be sick sometime and remove from sickness our body requires good and sound and healthy food.

Chicago food delivery

It is healthy to be sick sometime and remove from sickness our body requires good and sound and healthy food.

Chicago food delivery

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