UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Climate change affects many aspects of people’s lives, including what people eat and how much they eat.
In his article, Bloomberg agency describes in detail, what changes are taking place on the dinner table of people around the world.
As the cold regions become warmer, and hot regions become hotter, the boundaries of agriculture and fisheries change.
Climate change means a huge change in the lives of people who grow food and fish, as well as for people who buy what they produce.
As in any situation, there are both winners and losers here. There are problems of the rich world (less cod, more lobsters) and problems of the poor world (droughts, epidemics).
There is a threat to basic food products in the world, including wheat and corn. However, there is a threat for elite goods, such as elite wines from Bordeaux or coffee grown in Java.
All this threatens sharp price jumps.
As temperatures rise, the best conditions for the cultivation of many crops move from the tropics to the north, to cooler regions.
Fish and other underwater inhabitants also migrate to cooler regions as the temperature in their habitual habitats rises.
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Farmers who grow coffee in Indonesia, Ethiopia and Peru, are increasingly leaving for cooler places, mainly in the mountains.
In the UK, companies that are engaged in fishing, notice a decrease in the number of cod and haddock and an increase in the number of squid and anchovies.
The country is forced to import cod from Iceland, China and Norway.
Blessed by the climate
However, everything is not so sad, because the colder regions turned out to be in a very favorable situation.
Experts point out that the regions where food products are mainly grown are shifting.
So, in the US, the “corn belt”, covering states from Ohio to two Dakotas, is now gradually shifting towards Canada.
Canada, in turn, grows more crops than ever.
In Russia, there is also a record harvest of wheat, which is the most common grain product in the world.
Including, this result is associated with higher temperatures, experts believe.
This leads to an excess in the market and lower prices, they note.
In the US, farmers note an increase in the sowing season, and in some parts of California farmers grow coffee.
Losses and setbacks
However, for many countries, such changes were far from favorable.
Thus, higher temperatures contribute to an increase in the number of pests and molds.
So, farmers in the US and Canada complain of an increase in the number of toxic microtoxins that mold produces. This is due to both drought and high humidity.
Coffee growers complain of threats such as an increase in the number of harmful insects – beetles and other insects that cause real epidemics, such as the leaf rust epidemic in Central America and Colombia.
Extreme weather conditions – floods, droughts – have also become more frequent phenomena.
In France, changeable weather has become a real catastrophe for winemakers in Bordeaux. Frosts damaged the grapes, and summer storms led to the fact that the grapes began to rot in the province of Champagne.
The wine production in the country has fallen to a minimum value for the last 60 years.
In California, winemaking caused huge damage to the fires that raged last year.
In Africa, catastrophic droughts began, damaging crops in Ethiopia and South Africa.
Brazil, which is the main supplier of coffee, has also experienced droughts over the past few years, and this has led to a loss of crops.
Experts warn that in any extreme weather conditions – be it drought or rain, the population is in danger, as there is a threat of a food crisis.
Climatologists of the World Food Organization see an increasing threat to agriculture as the frequency of extreme weather conditions increases.
A matter of taste
Less catastrophic, but nevertheless critically important is the question of quality and taste.
Coffee arabica grains, which experts appreciate so much, are the most susceptible to changes in weather and climate conditions – temperature and humidity.
Coffee trees are usually grown in the highlands, where the cool weather allows the fruit to mature slowly and thus get a more complex taste – a combination of acidity and sweetness.
And when the temperature rises, what happens in many countries where coffee is grown, coffee grains mature faster, which means quite different taste qualities, experts say.
Speaking of wheat, in some regions, which are considered favorable for the cultivation of this crop (the regions of Europe, the USA), there has been a recent decrease in the amount of protein in grains due to the increase in the number of showers.
Threats are obvious – crop losses, price changes. It is also clear that climate change brings more serious changes for countries located in tropical regions, whose economy is based on agriculture.
Natural catastrophes lead to multi-billion losses for farmers who lose crops and livestock.
Many countries in southern Africa depend on the cultivation of one product. For example, Ethiopia is almost entirely dependent on coffee, which accounts for a third of its exports. Malawi depends on tobacco exports.
Changes in the food market and price shocks can not only lead to a change in the number of people in a particular country, but also destabilize the internal political situation.
So, in 2007-2008 in more than 70 countries there was a food crisis, which inevitably led to the growth of protests.
Countries dependent on food imports, and such countries exist in Africa and the Middle East, may experience a significant crisis associated with shocks in food markets.
Dramatic consequences will have both a shortage of crops and a sharp drop in prices for certain food products.
The problems of one country will inevitably spread to neighboring countries, since, as European experience shows, desperate people can not restrain any borders.
In general, experts warn that the situation may develop critical, and all, the whole population of the planet, will have to adapt to new conditions.