When it comes to farming, global temperature increases spurred by anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) are bad news. Higher temperatures mean more droughts, wildfires, soil depletion and seasonal changes that, in general, have deleterious impacts on growing food.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) worst-case prediction by 2100 is a 4 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures.
“When I look at what the models predicted for a [4 degree Celsius] world, I see very little rain over vast swaths of populations,” Dr. Ira Leifer, an atmospheric and marine scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Truthout.
Leifer’s concerns are dire, not only in terms of the changing rainfall patterns predicted by the IPCC, but also regarding the rainfall patterns that are already occurring across the globe.
“If Spain becomes like Algeria, where do all the Spaniards get the water to survive?” he asked. “We have parts of the world which have high populations, which have high rainfall and crops that exist there, and when that rainfall and those crops go away and the country starts looking more like some of North Africa, what keeps the people alive?”
The warning signs are already abundant.
A group affiliated with the UN recently released a report showing how without dramatic international intervention, the ongoing decline of pollinating species around the world poses a dire threat to the global food supply. This is because increasing numbers of pollinating species, including butterflies and bees, are going extinct.
Another recent study showed that lack of food production, again caused by ACD, will likely cause at least half a million deaths by 2050.
Truthout spoke with scientists and farmers alike about the subject, and their outlook for the future of farming on the scale necessary to continue apace with feeding an ever-increasing global population is not good.