Anation’s wealth has long been defined by its ability to trade its resourceswith others. With innovations in communication and technology, trade has grownto become even more important, and a shift from local and regional markets, toone that is more of a global market. Of this trade, one of the largest is thatof importing and exporting food.
With population growth exceeding foodproduction, many countries are now dependent on the global food market.However, climate change is threatening to make food scarcity a reality acrossthe world. Currentlythe world population is 7.6 billion people, but by 2050 population is expectedto reach 10.7 billion people (Dahlman, 2015). In correlation, food demand isexpected to increase anywhere between 59% to 98% by 2050 (Cimons, 2016).Amongst academics there is strong agreement that climate change, includingrising temperatures and droughts, will have severe long-term effects on cropyields globally (Schierhorn,2016).
Particularly hard hit, they believe will be regions close to the Equator. Thisincludes Mato Grosso in Brazil, who are of great importance in the globalmarketplace, and in this model, may experience an 18%-23% reduction in soy andcorn due to climate changes (Cimons,2016). TheUnited States will also not escape unscathed as extreme heat will causesubstantial agricultural output decline. This decline in production due toclimate change has already been quantified, with studies showing that cerealharvests, including rice, wheat and maize, decreased between 9% to 10% duringdroughts and heat waves between 1964 and 2007.
The hardest hit by thesedroughts and heat waves were in North America, Europe and Australia (Schierhorn, 2016). Furthermore, findings showthat more recent droughts, those between 1985 to 2007, resulted in a 13.7%percent loss of production, which is nearly 7% more devastating than droughtsbetween 1964-1984. The terrifying results of this study are further compoundedby the fact that climate change is likely to cause even more extreme weatherpatterns in the future (Cimons, 2016). As the US faces increasing threats of droughts, itis of import to note that droughts accounted for 14.6% of crop losses and 85.
4%of livestock losses worldwide between 2003-2011. Furthermore, it is estimatedthat $10 billion worth of crops per year are lost to heat waves and droughtglobally (Schierhorn,2016). Whilemost would state that current food production is meeting, or close to, currentdemands, this will undoubtedly change with the predicted global populations growthby 2050. Food production is already being impacted globally by climate change,mainly in the form of heat waves and droughts, and these events are anticipatedto increase in strength and frequency as the climate continues to deteriorate.
Population growth is projected to far outpace food production, and foodscarcity will become a destabilizing reality within 40 years. Thus, sustainablefarming practices should be put in place immediately, and humanity will need tounite on a global scale to reduce our impact on the climate, or we shall allsuffer the consequences.