What's the Latest?
As climate change continues, the food that farmers grow will steadily become less nutritious, says a new report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "Research indicates that higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have reduced the protein content in wheat, for example. And the International Rice Research Institute has warned that the quality of rice available to consumers will decrease as temperatures rise, the report noted." The results of the study are to be released today to policymakers looking for more resilient ways to farm "amid the extreme heat, drought and flooding that threaten to drive down food production."
What's the Big Idea?
Adaptation to climate change--rising temperatures and more variable weather patterns--is urged by the report. High-level research is already investigating "breeds of chicken and cattle that can thrive in triple-digit temperatures, grapes that are resilient to heat fungi and crops that won't whither as temperatures rise." Initially, there will be winners and losers as a result of climate change--northern regions, for example, will become more cultivatable--but food production as a whole will suffer. A massive outreach effort will be needed to teach farmers of large and small scale how to adapt to a more variable climate.