Food and the Planet
In this continuation of a series of charts about the global food system, we’ll explore the impacts of climate change on our ability to feed our planet well into the future.
We’ve already seen how climate change and the growing human population are working against global food security. Climate change is warming and acidifying our oceans, causing droughts and other extreme weather events, and degrading the quality of arable land. At the same time, our growing population demands more resources than the planet can provide.
In this series of charts, we’ll show how, ironically, our quest to produce more food is exacerbating climate change and resource scarcity today and could ultimately contribute to food insecurity tomorrow.
Climate change will drive more intense droughts…
NASA research forecasts that North American droughts in the second half of this century could be “drier and longer” than those of the last 1,000 years. Additional research indicates a global increase in droughts. This new normal will have far-reaching effects for food production and our ability to feed a growing planet.
The traditional breadbaskets are losing productivity…
Looking back, the productivity of major crops increased in some parts of the world between 1961 and 2008, but yields for some of the most widely consumed ones-–corn/maize, rice, wheat and soybeans-–decreased in 24 to 39% of the areas where they were grown.
And, the traditional growing regions are shifting…
Looking ahead, climate change will boost productivity in some areas, but agricultural yields will decline overall, particularly in developing nations whose populations will grow most quickly. This shift is best explained by the change in growing regions brought on by climate change.
Our next series of charts will explore the human dimension of food security, and how the modern global food system is impacted-–in both positive and negative ways-–by man-made and natural factors.