Media Worried about AGW Effect on Coffee. When Will they Start Talking about Food?

October 20, 2011


JOHANNESBURG, 17 October 2011 (IRIN) – In the past four years, global prices of staples such as maize and wheat have twice hit record levels, driving hundreds of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people further towards hunger and poverty.

It is the poorest people in the poorest countries who are most affected by the high price of staple foods.

Recent responses to high prices have increasingly tended to focus on reducing price volatility – sharp fluctuations in food prices.

Sudden weather events like the drought in Russia in 2010, which destroyed wheat crops and in part triggered the spike in wheat prices that year, are another major factor, said George Rapsomanikis, an economist with FAOs Market and Trade Division.

Wright believes that oil prices and government policy on biofuels, not just in the USA and Europe but also in Africa and Latin America, will continue to be major determinants of food price behaviour in the future.

Low stocks of staples “made markets unusually sensitive to subsequent shocks such as high petroleum prices, the Australian drought [in 2006] and other regional production problems,” Wright said in a recent paper.


3 Responses to “Media Worried about AGW Effect on Coffee. When Will they Start Talking about Food?”

  1. witsendnj Says:

    You can find similar stories about the threat to cocoa production. I would never minimize the enormous dangers to our food supply from climate change – local extreme weather like floods, heatwaves, droughts and wildfires.

    But there is an even more immediate, and completely global threat to agricultural production, and that is the constantly rising level of tropospheric ozone. Agronomists have known for decades that crop yield and quality is significantly reduced when plants absorb air pollution.

    Scroll down this post for maps and charts from the USDA indicating the percentage lost, which is measured in the billions of dollars annually:

    There is no scientific debate that ozone causes cancer, emphysema, asthma, allergies, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other epidemics. Plants are even more damaged than humans when they absorb ambient air pollution. The only way to avert famine is to drastically curtail the burning of fuel as a source of energy. This is a painful but essential truth. We need to redefine the values of human culture to celebrate life, art and nature – not transportation and stuff.

  2. Kudos to a local network station for acknowledging climate change. But beyond that, it’s no wonder why folks can’t have a serious conversation about the issue when chuckleheads yuk it up like these poor souls. “No, this is really serious…Yeah, chicken wings are declining! Gyuk, gyuk, gyuk”. Oh please. SOMEBODY, anybody, in the MSM take this seriously! Or at least with enough gravity as befits the potential collapse of civilization! Nobody would EVER accuse these newscasters of being ‘alarmist’.

  3. Martin_Lack Says:

    The next big war (in the Middle East sometime around 2015 I would guess) will be over water, not food.

    Arguably, food scarcity has already caused trouble. Trouble that, at long last, finally caught up with Gadaffi today.

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