Spikelets of hulled wheat. PHOTO COURTESY USDA.
North America not affected yet, according to new Stanford study
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate change has significantly affected global wheat and corn yields since the 1980s, but North America hasn’t been affected yet, according to a new study from Stanford University. The researchers also said that those climate change impacts have caused food prices to surge.
“We found that since 1980, the effects of climate change on crop yields have caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices,” said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.
The United States, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s soybeans and corn, experienced a very slight cooling trend and no significant production impacts.
“It appears as if farmers in North America got a pass on the first round of global warming,” said David Lobell, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University. “That was surprising, given how fast we see weather has been changing in agricultural areas around the world as a whole.”
“It will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade in North America,” Lobell said. “But to me the key message is not necessarily the specifics of each country. I think the real take-home message is that climate change is not just about the future, but that it is affecting agriculture now. Accordingly, efforts to adapt agriculture such as by developing more heat- and drought-tolerant crops will have big payoffs, even today.” (more…)
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