Global Warming May Trigger a 'Perpetual Food Crisis'

A new study predicts that by the mid- to late- 21st century, scorching summer temperatures may result in massive failures of heat-sensitive crops such as wheat.
January 12, 2009, 2pm PST | Michael Dudley
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"The world faces a 'perpetual food crisis' because global warming will likely lead to massive and simultaneous crop failures in many regions, possibly as early as the period from 2040 to 2060, a new study says.

The finding, appearing in the journal Science, is based on climate models that suggest the worst heat waves of the past – such as the one in Europe in 2003 that killed at least 30,000 people – are likely to become the new normal summertime temperatures.

Although the trend to extreme heat becoming the new normal could start in some parts of the world by mid-century, well within the lifetimes of many people now alive, the researchers are confident it will become a global phenomenon between 2080 and 2100.

Rising temperatures will wither crops that are heat-sensitive, including staples such as wheat, possibly cutting yields by 20 per cent to 40 per cent, according to the study."

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Published on Friday, January 9, 2009 in The Globe and Mail
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