Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Climate Change and Agricultural Production

In this post there are three graphics worth visiting.

My impression of climate change, currently, is four-fold.

1) We need to react to CC because there is no stopping it. Not to dismiss our own guilt in fossil fuel burning, but today, coal use is increasing at alarming rates and global developing and urbanizing populations are advancing through the quality of life improvements that electricity provides. In addition to our continuing addiction to fossil fuel use, we might be reaching tipping points of ocean acidification, for example. Acceptance and planning are now key, which in agriculture means seed technology research/advancements, soil protection from flooding, small and micro-irrigation projects, and adaptation of crop (and dietary) choices.

2) The scale of the impact of climate change might appear more rapidly and more dramatically than many currently expect. James Lovelock predicts that the human population will be reduced by 80% in the year 2100.

3) Planners need to anticipate for human migrations, especially within countries and continents.

4) Scientists will attempt some methods of geoengineering.

Next, I'd like to quote the wise words of Edward Orlowski, a sustainable-architect at Lawrence Technological University via The Atlantic:
I truly feel that those who aim to debunk the notion of climate change and are leading a general backlash against what they see as the green police actually perform a valuable service to those engaged in issues of sustainability. We cannot live under the illusion that people (and certainly corporations) do anything just because it is the right thing. Pressure to demonstrate measurable benefits both economically and environmentally leads us to the development of stronger arguments to advance our position. This is something that William McDonough has clearly recognized.
Amory Lovins recognizes it, too, after hearing him speak recently at Bioneers. And this comment applies just as importantly to sustainable agriculture. While grass roots movements are certainly embraced by monied powers once they become large enough (think Walmart's food system), without government policy intervention picking winners and losers (think corn ethanol), we are mostly left with economic viability in achieving large scale improvements.

Finally, predictions related to Earth's complex atmospheric system are difficult, at best.
——Kay McDonald

According to Land Commodities®...

Trends in climate disasters since 1980 versus earthquakes

"...irregular rainfall patterns due to climate change are also resulting in increased flooding in a number of areas. The total number of floods globally has more than tripled in the last 15 years. Agriculture requires regular, moderate rainfall, so floods have a negative as opposed to a positive, impact."


Increase in dry areas globally between 1950 and 2005

The agriculture sector is responsible for 70-85% of human water consumption. Due to climate change effects, the number of dry areas in the world has doubled in the last 50 years and droughts have increased in many regions.


Projected losses in food production due to climate change by 2080

Combined climate change effects will put substantial pressure on future agricultural productivity. Global temperatures are expected to rise by a further 0.4 degrees Celsius between now and 2030. Climate change effects could lead to an overall global decline in agricultural productivity of between 1 and 10 percent by 2030. Production declines of between 15% and 27% by 2030 are forecast for some African countries.

source: Land Commodities®