Monday 19 June 2023

Climate change is a threat to your bowl of cereal!

Climate change is a threat to your bowl of cereal!

Toast or cereal? Either way your breakfast could be at risk!

That’s according to scientists, revealing in a recent study that climate change poses a real threat to the world’s supply of wheat.

Technology was used to investigate a worst-case scenario that would involve drought and extreme heat reaching two regions that produce large amounts of wheat at the same time.

These areas are known as breadbaskets – and for the study, key crop-growing places in the US and China were used.

The researchers found that if climate change was to impact two critical breadbaskets at once, the global food system could be put in jeopardy.

Explaining the paper, lead author Erin Coughlan de Perez said: “We’re suffering from a failure of imagination in terms of what this could look like. The whole point of imagining these serious consequences [is so] we could take action to prevent them and build a more resilient system.”

Climate models were used for both parts of China and the US.

In China, the scientists revealed that a heatwave that would be expected to occur just once in a hundred years 50 years ago, is now estimated to happen once every 16 years.

This rose to once every six years in the Midwest region of the US used in the study.

The main issue is not being prepared for a scenario where both regions are hit by heatwaves simultaneously, Coughlan de Perez explained, as this would lead to an instant strain on resources.

“Places that have not recently experienced an extreme event or disaster are places that probably aren’t preparing for one,” she stated.

Given that China was responsible for 17% of global wheat and the Midwest produced close to 6%, a hit on both these regions would destabilise supply significantly.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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