Global food production is already being affected by climate change
MINNEAPOLIS — A new study has found that climate change is already affecting production of the world's top crops in certain regions.
According to a University of Minnesota-led research published in PLOS ONE, barley, cassave, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugar, and wheat are the world's top 10 crops.
Together, these provide 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland.
Researchers analyzed weather and reported crop data to evaluate the potential impact of observed climate change, and found that some areas were faring far worse than others.
Findings indicate that observed climate change caused significant yield variation in the crops, from a 13.5 percent decrease for oil palm to a 3.5 percent increase for soybean.
Overall, this resulted in an average reduction of one percent of consumable calories from the top 10.
The impact on global food production in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia are mostly negative.
It is generally positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia, and North and Central America.
There are decreases in crop production in half of all food-insecure countries, as well as in certain rich, industrialized nations in Western Europe.
On the other hand, climate change has also increased the yields of certain crops in some parts of the upper midwest United States.
The findings are especially relevant to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and limiting the effects of climate change, and has major implications for food companies, traders, and the regions where they operate.
More importantly, the study shows that change is already happening, and not just something to worry about in the future.