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UN report warns climate change may lead to food shortages

‘Diets that are rich in plant-based foods have lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that are heavy in red meat consumption.’

Climate change isn’t only driven by belching smokestacks. It’s also affected by farmers who use nitrogen-based fertilisers and the lumber industry’s tree-cutting, and it’s putting the world’s food supply at risk.

Land used for activities including agriculture and lumber accounted for about 13% of carbon dioxide, 44% of methane and 82% of nitrous oxide that made its way into the atmosphere between 2007 and 2016, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They are all greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, the group said in a report Thursday.

The result: Decreasing crop yields that can lead to a scarcity of food, more land being turned into deserts and less plant diversity, according to the report. It argues that less food waste and changes in diet can mean less need to convert land from its natural state, helping to hold off climate change.

“There are many ecosystems throughout the world where we are already seeing the impacts of climate change and land use change, and it emphasises the need for urgent action,” said Jo House, one of the authors of the report and a professor at the University of Bristol, in a conference call with reporters.

The report, prepared by more than 100 scientists, is one of series coming from the United Nations group aimed at driving global discussions on climate change.

There is a chance to take action, the authors said. Cutting down or eliminating the consumption of meat, which would reduce the need to clear land for large cattle ranches, and eating more grains and vegetables will help.

“Diets that are rich in plant-based foods have lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that are heavy in red meat consumption,’’ said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an author and a researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Replanting devastated forests will also help.

Since pre-industrial times, temperatures over land have increased twice as fast as the global average and are higher by about 1.53 degrees Celsius (2.8 Fahrenheit), said Louis Verchot, a researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Colombia, and a lead chapter author for the report.

Short-Term Benefits

While plants can have short-term benefits from increased carbon dioxide in the air, those gains won’t last, Rosenzweig said.

In a high-carbon atmosphere, wheat will become less nutritious, losing 6 to 13% of its protein, 4 to 7% of its zinc and 5 to 8% of its iron, the report said. “Now we are finding decreases in nutritional quality in crops,” Rosenzweig said.

Asia and Africa, parts of which already are dependent on imported food, may be the first victims, increasingly vulnerable to intensifying drought as temperatures rise. In lower altitude regions, yields for crops such as wheat and corn are already declining, according to the report, while some animals are growing at slower rates due in part to heat stress.

Rosenzweig said this summer’s heat wave in Europe has already shown how crop yields can fall.

Too-Wet Weather

The Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Index, a price measure of nine crops, plunged to the lowest in a decade in May as global grain supplies were set to swell. But the index in June surged to a one-year high as too-wet weather in the U.S. and hot conditions in Europe stoked worries that harvests would shrink instead. The volatile moves in prices show how quickly food prices can rise amid adverse weather.

Already, large parts of the Amazon rain forest are being lost in Colombia, Peru and Brazil, Verchot said. Melting of the permafrost in Arctic areas will also lead to more greenhouse gases escaping into the atmosphere, as will a massive shift by South American farmers to use more nitrogen fertilizers.

The Earth has been able to absorb carbon, “but that subsidy could very easily be lost if we continue on current trajectories, if we continue to have the land degradation, the ecosystem degradation, the soil degradation, and the water degradation we’re currently experiencing,’’ Verchot said.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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I might be too old, but I heard warnings about food shortages in my entire life. In the early 70s the famous “The Limits to Growth“ one of the “Reports to the Club of Rome” forecast food riots even in the USA by the mid 1980s. Some of the readers are probably old enough to remember the famine in Ethiopia in the 80s and Bob Geldorf’s Live Aid concert. The result is that today the population of Ethiopia is 3 times what it was that time.

Food shortages?? Just look @ how many fruits you buy WITHOUT seeds in them??

Climate change is a big hoax! I will repeat there is NO empirical evidence (proof) that Global warming (oooops they changed the narrative) exists. It was a bunch of scientists that put “their” numbers into a computer and got out what they wanted. The dialogue is slowly changing.

Have you taken my google earth satellite image challenge yet?

“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Well zokey, I just don’t understand why they’re not giving you the Nobel prize in science for exposing this incredible hoax on mankind.

After all, you could save the world billions in misspent cash trying to save the rain forests, coral reefs and the like.

Gee. The world owes you a massive debt for pointing this out

If you want to show your grasp of the situation you have to start your report with “Scientist have found” or even better “University Professors in America are convinced that……”. You see, this gives it undeniable correctness. The food shortage in this case has nothing to do with the weather but everything to do with increasing populations, and the greed with which politicians chase long standing and productive farmers of their properties.

It’s called argumentum ad verecundiam or an argument to authority and is a logical fallacy.

This global warmer has “facts” so he must be right in his pathetic mind.

This global warmer has “facts” so he must be right in his pathetic mind. I hope he gets a life someday.

Boots have you tried it yet?

Download google earth, click on the clock icon at the top to see historic satellite images, move over the Greenland and flip between 1980 and 2016.

If you don’t see any reductions in snow cover you need glasses.

PJJ, if you do a little bit of research you will find that the earth is actually on a warming trend. This trend started about 1690 during the end of what was called the little ice age. Since then the earth has been warming on and off. This trend started long before the industrial revolution. In fact, if one looks at ice core data for the Holocene (11600 BP to present) we see that warming and cooling are very much the norm. The Vikings colonised Greenland and grew crops in what is now permafrost during the Medieval warm period ca. 1000AD i.e. history proves it was a lot warmer. They were driven off by a cooling climate. Ice core data indicate that the Roman (2000 BP, +2°C) and Minoan (3500BP, +4°C) warm periods were considerably warmer than today. In fact the earth was warmer for 97% of the Holocene with CO2 a lot lower. There is no evidence in geological history that CO2 ever drove warming. CO2 only absorbs in certain parts of the infrared spectrum and its effect is pretty much saturated. Think of it as there being no more photons of the right wavelength left to absorb. Any position in spacetime is in the shadow of a CO2 molecule.

You may wish to see that extra CO2 is greening the earth providing food for the exploding population.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth/

You need to look at the big picture of climate change through geological history.
https://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new-a.gif

My question now is what is the optimal global temperature and why?

Unfortunately they don’t have photos from the viking times when Greenland was green land. The snow cover is melting and uncovering settlements from 1000 years ago. How is it possible? I don’t think that the vikings built their houses under the snow for some reason.

@Richardthe Great

“if one looks at ice core data for the Holocene (11600 BP to present) we see that warming and cooling are very much the norm”
Absolutely, no arguing there, the earth has been both MUCH warmer and MUCH cooler than today, Eocene period 55 million years had the arctic completely ice free, or the permian triassic period global temperatures where 14C higher than today, and as we all know mankind could definitely not have been responsible for any of that warming.
The key however is in knowing what caused each of these warming events and the effect of positive feedback.

The hallmark of a skeptic should be to be skeptical of everything, so lets look at a few of your claims:

“They were driven off by a cooling climate. Ice core data indicate that the Roman (2000 BP, +2°C) and Minoan (3500BP, +4°C) warm periods were considerably warmer than today.”

No it wasn’t.
Most skeptics will always refer to this graph by the IPCC itself as the “debunking” graph that proves the medieval peroid was much warmer than today : http://www.realclimate.org/images/ipcc_1990_panel3.jpg

However, that graph has 2 major flaws:
1 : It is only comprised of data from one location in central England
2 : It only uses data up to 1950 completely ignoring the last 70 years of warming.

Have a look over here: https://skepticalscience.com/IPCC-Medieval-Warm-Period.htm

Also this video does a great job at explaining the RWP and MWP, please if you find anything factually incorrect in it please spel it out to me : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY4Yecsx_-s

“You may wish to see that extra Co2 is greening the earth providing food for the exploding population.”
Co2 is definitely plant food, I work on a farm that also has a nursery on it, and in the greenhouses we regularly run generators that despense Co2, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a greenhouse gas.

I want to combine this qoute:

“You need to look at the big picture of climate change through geological history.
https://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new-a.gif

With this one:
“There is no evidence in geological history that CO2 ever drove warming. CO2”

Joanne Nova is perhaps one of the most well known skeptics, she definitely doesn’t represent scientific consensus, but nonetheless, I found this quote on perhaps the chief skeptic herself, In 2012 Nova on a ABC documentary said the following:

“carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that adding more to it will warm the planet, yes, absolutely, that’s all well proven solid science known for years, yes. I have no disagreement with any of that.”

Even Nova can not deny the vast amounts of evidence out there that Co2 (Again, not just Co2)can cause heating, the scariest thing is, global temperatures have gone up in the past 60 years while solar Irradiance has actually come down:
https://climate.nasa.gov/internal_resources/1802/

So by that logic, even if we lower Co2 levels and the solar Irradiance just returns to its 1950 levels we can also expect higher temperatures, again skeptics will then say: “Look we reduced Co2 and the temperatures are still high!”

And around in circles we will go again.

PJJ in order to get me to believe in your global warming fiasco you will have to do better than looking at google maps that suite your theory. Have you looked at the 1970 to latest maps, there is no noteworthy difference.
You see the formation of glaciers depends on the amount of precipitation and also the speed at which under laying rocks are covered by snow (rock dark, heat up fast in sun, snow white, reflects most of heat, get it). Now, generally speaking, you need some 30m of ice before a glacier starts moving. This movement will in part expose the floor rocks in the upper glacial valley resulting in no glacier movement in this area until the needed ice thickness is achieved. So in order to speed up ice formation in the upper glacial area we need abnormal high snowfall and cold winters which do occur naturally in the earth’s climatic cycle.
Now looking at Iceland and Greenland. Have you given any thought to the enormous volcanic activities occurring in these areas. Volcanic eruptions causing ash falls (+1000 degrees Celsius) over vast areas including ice sheets. Under water lava flows (Pillow lava formations) heating up sea water and iced up areas. Have you taken that into account when you studied your google maps or doesn’t it fit into the global warming theory.
Looking at the Bering Sea. It was already been found by an 1850 expedition that it is the sea with the highest fluctuations in water temperatures. Today’s explanation, underwater volcanic activities.
You see PJJ although I sometimes need reading glasses now, I have done my post graduate studies and most further research without them but I have never blurred out findings that at the time of research did not fit into what I was supposed to find as this would not have made me a true scientist.

“PJJ in order to get me to believe in your global warming fiasco you will have to do better than looking at google maps that suite your theory. Have you looked at the 1970 to latest maps, there is no noteworthy difference.”

Are you serious?
Here, I took screenshots on google earth for 1970 vs 2016.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1S5cwWlLZuT7P0ydYNMbH_Kcsn433WiCV

If you still think its not noteworthy I think someone should revoke your drivers license.

“Now looking at Iceland and Greenland. Have you given any thought to the enormous volcanic activities occurring in these areas. Volcanic eruptions causing ash falls (+1000 degrees Celsius) over vast areas including ice sheets. Under water lava flows (Pillow lava formations) heating up sea water and iced up areas. Have you taken that into account when you studied your google maps or doesn’t it fit into the global warming theory.”

Lets humor your theory that all the missing arctic ice is due to volcanic activity around Greendland and Iceland, that doesn’t explain then why there is a worldwide retreat in snow cover on mountains
Here is a nice infographic for you : https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/global-maps/MOD10C1_M_SNOW

The only reason is because there has been a rise in global temperatures.
We can debate perhaps what has caused this, but to deny that there has not been any despite the mountain of scientific evidence simply makes you a conspiracy theorist and not a scientist.

You started out by calling my mind “Pathetic” instead of refuting it with any science, that’s not very academic of you.

Just incredible. The commentators on this site are mostly climate sceptics and deniers.

And the whole notion of global warming is just a giant conspiracy theory designed to set up new carbon taxes. And over 150 countries in the world have bought into this; and 97,% (whatever) of the world’s scientists have all drunk the koolaid.

And I’m right and the whole world out there is wrong.

Seriously? What are the chances?

I can only assume that you guys all smoke (cause smoking doesn’t cause cancer, don’t you know?) and don’t travel because the world is flat.

PJJ It appears as if you are getting desperate in the defense of global warming are you afraid of a deteriorating income. I could become much more scientific of at least 90% of your global warming findings, the question however is would you understand it. About the other 10% I must admit some of it makes sense.
Richardthe Great I see you have done your research very, very well.
Navigator I admire your way of thinking.

“PJJ It appears as if you are getting desperate in the defense of global warming are you afraid of a deteriorating income.”

Desperate? Please sir, show me where in any of my posts I got desperate, I asked you a question which you still have not answered.

“I could become much more scientific of at least 90% of your global warming findings, the question however is would you understand it”
Please do.
I invite you to blow my mind with your findings, if you can provide me with a single scientific peer reviewed article proving that increases in Co2/greenhouse gasses (absent of any other forcing like high solar irradience) doesn’t cause any heating I will concede that I am completely and utterly wrong.

Richard the great asks a very valid and profound question: what is the optimal global temperature and why?

Believe it or not, there is a very logical answer to this.

All life on earth has evolved under Goldilocks conditions; not too hot, not too cold, liquid water in abundance. Yes, it has been hotter or colder in the past, but there were never 8 billion people on the planet at those times.

The world was once nearly 100% covered in ice. No way that that could support 8 billion people. It was also 5%c or more hotter during the Permian extinction, but that was when 95% of all life forms were wiped out.

So the 8bn have arisen during the Holocene, the ultimate of Goldilocks conditions. Pre-industial temperatures; ice caps at both poles and plenty of glaciers. And this is what we are about to change in the span of a single century.

We’re headed back to conditions that prevailed in the Permian – and no way do these conditions support a population of 8 billion.

And that’s why global heating is such a big deal.

@Navigator
Yes Richards question is a very interesting one, I think you nailed it, one has to look at the perfect conditions that allowed humanity to go from surviving day to day against the elements to thriving and dominating.

The lazy answer to the question would obviously be its too high already, because lets say from a infrastructure point of view over centuries we have built massive amounts of infrastructure along cost lines and rivers which could all end up being mal investment once rising sea levels slow entire neighborhoods whole.

As the biggest proponent of Globalisation and Socialism – the UN is also the biggest driver and cause of, ‘food shortages’.

First we had “global warming”. But people in places like Ireland couldn’t buy into that because they were still freezing their bits off.
So it became “climate change.” Still no mass panic so it is gradually becoming “climate crisis.”
If water levels are really rising so rapidly, why are banks still lending money to people to buy property at the coast ? And why are insurance companies still insuring those properties ?
Smoking causes cancer. Let’s not ban smoking, let’s just tax it.
Sugar is bad for you. Let’s not ban sugar, let’s just tax it.
Alcohol the same.
What else can we think of. I know, let’s tax carbon emissions.

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