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Climate Change Threatens Food Security

by Britt E. Erickson
December 7, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 48

Chemists and chemistry students: Follow key developments connected to the Paris climate change meeting here.

Climate change threatens to roll back much of the progress toward ensuring there is enough food to feed the world’s population, which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture concludes. Released last week at the climate change conference in Paris, the report highlights the impacts of a changing climate on global food availability, access, use, and stability. Climate change has led to more invasive pests, diseases, and extreme weather, including droughts and wildfires, costing farmers billions in lost productivity. Such losses have led to food shortages and price increases, interrupted transport, and diminished food safety, particularly in poor and tropical regions, the report notes. USDA has established regional climate hubs to advise U.S. farmers on ways to adapt to climate change, and the agency seeks to integrate climate change into its conservation and renewable energy programs. Agriculture produces 24% of the greenhouse gas emissions, including methane from rice paddies, that cause climate change, according to the United Nations.


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