Global food prices rising along with temperatures

Photo of some women shopping.

Climate change is causing global food prices to increase everywhere. CC by John H. Boyd/Wikimedia Commons

Climate change has become evident in extreme weather that has damaged the world’s food supply. A rise in demand is proceeding concurrently with the reduction in supply. Soaring world food prices are threatening the stability of governments, and more extreme weather is in the forecast.

The warmer it gets, the more it costs to buy food

Food prices have gone up a lot. Last month, they were at a global all time high. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, Food Price Index in December was higher than the 2008 food crisis. Last week, FAO announced that world food prices rose another 3 percent in January. The spike in world food prices is being driven by a surge in prices for wheat, corn, sugar and oils. Globally, wheat production decreased a lot because of a 2010 Russian drought. Food production got damaged even more with Brazil and Australia flooding. This caused food production to go down even more. Feb. 8, FAO warned that severe drought threatened the wheat crop in China. China is the world’s largest wheat producer currently  because domestic demand is so high. Sources will be going down quite a bit in China soon. That means 1.3 billion Chinese will be looking for wheat elsewhere soon.

Food demand throughout the world

While extreme weather is cutting into global food production, global food demand is accelerating. Every day, there are 200,000 more people who need food in the world. More milk, meat and eggs are being added to the diets of 3 billion trying to raise the standard of living while others are starving. The U.S. produces about 400 million tons of wheat each year. About 120 million tons of that is used to make car ethanol. To stop rising world food prices, the world needs a bumper crop in 2011, even larger than the record harvest of 2008 that helped reverse the price spikes of the 2008 food crisis.

How climate change is making it happen

When it comes to a food crisis, it might be just one bad harvest that makes it worse. Records show 2010 to be the warmest year ever. This is throughout the globe. Rising temperatures parched land in some parts of the world. Water vapor was released by the warmer oceans. When it comes to climate change though, meteorologists suggest that there will be more frequent droughts and flooding soon. A decline in food production may very well happen. At the same time, food demand will continue to increase. The world’s poor will be affected first and suffer most.

Articles cited

MSNBC

Christian Science Monitor

New York Times

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