The impact of climate change on agriculture
11 April 2022
Food and agriculture are the leading cause and most promising remedies for climate change. The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, which took place on June 5, 2021, was to prevent, halt, and reverse environmental damage to our planet’s ecosystems. To commemorate this day, we wanted to recognize the tenacious and resourceful farmers we have the privilege of collaborating with and who are helping to heal their communities’ ecosystems. How will climate change affect global food production in the future?
Impacts on Agriculture
- Agriculture is a key contributor to climate change and the greenhouse effect by emitting greenhouse gases. On the other hand, climate change is having far-reaching consequences on agricultural production, posing a future threat to food security.
- Currently, the major barrier to food security is food access. Even though much food is produced to feed the world’s present population, over 10% of the population is malnourished.
- Food insecurity is projected to worsen due to climate change, which is expected to raise food prices and reduce food output. When energy prices rise due to climate change mitigation efforts, food may become more expensive.
- Water required for food production may become scarce due to rising crop water demand and drought. Competition for land may develop when certain climates become unsuitable for production.
- Furthermore, extreme weather events connected to climate change may result in sharp drops in agricultural productivity, leading to rapid price increases. Heatwaves, for example, caused output losses in important production areas such as Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan in the summer of 2010, resulting in a dramatic rise in the price of staple goods.
- Heat waves (periods of extremely high temperatures) are expected to grow more common, posing a significant threat to agriculture. Heatwaves can cause heat stress in animals and plants, as well as a reduction in food production. Extremely high temperatures are particularly damaging to crop production if they occur when the plants are flowering; if this single, crucial stage is disturbed, the plants may not produce any seeds. Heat stress in animals can result in decreased productivity and fertility.
- Warming is already underway, and higher-than-expected increases in heatwave frequency and size all point to an increase in heatwaves. Heatwave frequency and amplitude are impossible to forecast in the future, but projections show that both will continue to rise in the UK, Europe, and globally. Heatwaves are predicted to have a non-uniform impact, with less developed countries suffering disproportionately. They may exacerbate existing food security challenges when combined with other components of climate change, such as increased drought frequency.