The uncertain future of world resources is a byproduct of climate change. Wheat, a staple food accounting for 20% of all calories consumed by humans, already faces the threat of nutrition unavailability due to greenhouse gases. A new study also suggests that prolonged, extreme droughts could affect over half of the world’s wheat production by the end of the century.
The study (published in Science Advances) created a model to study drought conditions at the time of year when wheat is grown, and analyzed simulations from 27 climate models. Results indicate that unless immediate mitigation steps are taken, global warming could cause major droughts in 60% of wheat-growing areas around the world. For comparison, current drought conditions affect 15% of wheat production. Even if the Paris Agreement’s target of stabilizing temperatures at 2-degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is met, severe water scarcity would still double in the next 20 to 50 years.
The research also indicates that the historic trend of widespread droughts leading to increased food prices, is likely to continue. Consequently, the worst-affected regions would be developing countries and low-income regions of Africa and eastern and southeastern Asia, where most of the world’s undernourished and wheat-consuming populations are housed. These findings call for immediate implementation of strategies to limit water scarcity, since prevention would be an unrealistic ambition in the current scenario. The verdict of this study begs the question whether we have sailed past our capacity to actually reverse the negative impacts of climate change.
Managing Correspondent: Rhea Grover
Original Scientific Article: Mitigation efforts will not fully alleviate increase in water scarcity – Science Advances
Original Press Article: Climate change could cause drought in wheat-growing areas – Science Daily
Read More: Future widespread water shortage likely in the U.S. – Harvard SITN,
Climate change ‘will strip nutrients out of food’ – Energy Live News
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