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A
nation’s wealth has long been defined by its ability to trade its resources
with others. With innovations in communication and technology, trade has grown
to become even more important, and a shift from local and regional markets, to
one that is more of a global market. Of this trade, one of the largest is that
of importing and exporting food. With population growth exceeding food
production, many countries are now dependent on the global food market.
However, climate change is threatening to make food scarcity a reality across
the world.

 

Currently
the world population is 7.6 billion people, but by 2050 population is expected
to reach 10.7 billion people (Dahlman, 2015). In correlation, food demand is
expected to increase anywhere between 59% to 98% by 2050 (Cimons, 2016).
Amongst academics there is strong agreement that climate change, including
rising temperatures and droughts, will have severe long-term effects on crop
yields globally (Schierhorn,
2016).
Particularly hard hit, they believe will be regions close to the Equator. This
includes Mato Grosso in Brazil, who are of great importance in the global
marketplace, and in this model, may experience an 18%-23% reduction in soy and
corn due to climate changes (Cimons,
2016).

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The
United States will also not escape unscathed as extreme heat will cause
substantial agricultural output decline. This decline in production due to
climate change has already been quantified, with studies showing that cereal
harvests, including rice, wheat and maize, decreased between 9% to 10% during
droughts and heat waves between 1964 and 2007. The hardest hit by these
droughts and heat waves were in North America, Europe and Australia (Schierhorn, 2016). Furthermore, findings show
that more recent droughts, those between 1985 to 2007, resulted in a 13.7%
percent loss of production, which is nearly 7% more devastating than droughts
between 1964-1984. The terrifying results of this study are further compounded
by the fact that climate change is likely to cause even more extreme weather
patterns in the future (Cimons, 2016). As the US faces increasing threats of droughts, it
is 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 estimated
that $10 billion worth of crops per year are lost to heat waves and drought
globally (Schierhorn,
2016).
   

 

While
most would state that current food production is meeting, or close to, current
demands, this will undoubtedly change with the predicted global populations growth
by 2050. Food production is already being impacted globally by climate change,
mainly in the form of heat waves and droughts, and these events are anticipated
to increase in strength and frequency as the climate continues to deteriorate.
Population growth is projected to far outpace food production, and food
scarcity will become a destabilizing reality within 40 years. Thus, sustainable
farming practices should be put in place immediately, and humanity will need to
unite on a global scale to reduce our impact on the climate, or we shall all
suffer the consequences.

 

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