Thomas Homer Dixon writes this morning that the hot weather we have endured over the last decade has taught us something about crop yields:
In the past few years, agricultural scientists have shown that crops critical to humankind’s caloric supply – including corn and soybeans – are extremely sensitive to even short periods of high temperature. Output of these crops increases as the temperature rises to about 30 Celsius, but then it falls sharply as the temperature keeps rising. For instance, just one day of 40-degree weather will produce a 7-per-cent drop in the annual yield of corn compared with its yield if the temperature stays at 29 through the growing season.That phenomenon has a direct effect on food prices:
The drought and heat wave have already led to record corn prices. The world’s integrated grain markets will transmit these higher prices around the world, in time affecting just about everyone.
It may be easy for people to deny climate change. But they can't deny rising food prices. Unfortunately, as is always the case, rising prices always affect those who can least afford them the most. Combine those rising food prices with a burgeoning human population, and you have a humanitarian crisis such as the world has never faced before.
The heat is on. Either we take climate change seriously or we will turn the planet -- literally -- into hell on earth.
This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.