Could Climate Change Help you Go Gluten Free?

May 13, 2015

Trying to make lemonade here. Work with me.

Washington Post:

“Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20% of daily protein and calories,” notes the Wheat Initiative, a project launched by G20 agricultural ministers. “With a world population of 9 billion in 2050, wheat demand is expected to increase by 60%. To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1% to at least 1.6%.”

That’s why the punchline of a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is pretty troubling. A warming climate, it suggests, could drive wheat yields in the opposite direction – down — in the United States and, possibly, elsewhere.

“The net effect of warming on yields is negative,” write Jesse Tack of the agricultural economics department of Mississippi State University and two colleagues, “even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures.”

That’s no small matter, the study notes, in that wheat is “the largest source of vegetable protein in low-income countries.”

The study compared results from nearly 30 years of winter wheat trials across Kansas — a state that produced $2.8 billion worth of wheat crop in 2013 — with data on weather and precipitation. Winter wheat grows from September to May and faces two major temperature-related threats during this cycle — extreme winter cold, and extreme spring heat.

Global warming ought to cut down on the freezing temperatures, but also amp up really hot ones. The study found, however, that on balance, the effect is more negative than positive, with a roughly 15 percent decline in wheat yields under a 2 degrees Celsius warming scenario, rising to around 40 percent with 4 degrees (C) of warming.

And while you’re at it, knock off the caffeine.


In a future in which humans make only modest progress to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the world’s total land area with climates suitable for coffee growing falls by 50%, the scientists report online this month in Climatic Change.

Major coffee-producing nations like Brazil and Vietnam could be especially vulnerable. Near the equator, Robusta may at least partially displace Arabica, the latter of which is susceptible to high temperatures. But Robusta, which is more vulnerable to fluctuating temperatures, could suffer somewhat greater global losses overall. If the economics are favorable enough, some coffee production could potentially shift to higher altitudes or latitudes, the researchers suggest. But some additional land would need to be deforested; that wouldn’t be good for the climate, because trees suck out CO2 from the air.

More proof that the Koch Brothers are doing it all with your best interest in mind.

11 Responses to “Could Climate Change Help you Go Gluten Free?”

  1. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27.

  2. Again that stupid assumption about growing populations. Populations are not going to be growing in the future. Just the opposite.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      What is “stupid” is making the statement that population dynamics is based on “assumptions” and wishful thinking rather than hard science. You need to get educated on this topic, John Eric, and here’s one source.

      I have posted the following data more than once on Crock, but it’s worth looking at again.

      1) Estimated world human population at the dawn of civilization 8-10,000 years ago was ~5,000,000 (5 million)
      2) Estimated human population in 1800 was 1,000,000,000 (1 billion)
      3) It took 130 years to add another billion and reach 2 billion (1930)
      4) It took 30 years to add the third billion (1959)
      5) It took 15 years to add the fourth billion (1974)
      6) It took 13 years to add the fifth billion (1987)
      7) It took 12 years to add the sixth billion (1999)
      8) It took 13 years to add the seventh billion (2011)
      9) Estimates are that it will take 13 years to add the eighth billion (2024)

      Humans are no different than any other species. We will multiply and fill all available niches in the habitat/environment until we exceed the carrying capacity and our numbers die back. Our technology has allowed us to have the “hockey stick” population explosion of the past 200 years, and it’s that same technology that is destroying the environment for our food crops, as this post explains.

      Human populations ARE going to grow for the near term, albeit perhaps more slowly than in the late 1900’s, and may very well reach 9 billion by 2050. IMO, the impacts of AGW on our food sources will hit long before 2050 and we will likely not get there.

      (Or maybe you DO understand all that but just didn’t express your self clearly?)

  3. andrewfez Says:

    A few years ago OXFAM said that food prices would double by 2030 secondary to climate change, overpopulation, corn ethanol, &c. [they had several more variables, if i recall].

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Yep. Anyone who understands the science knows that Oxfam’s predictions are pointing in the right direction. The data they used led them to the 50% figure—-maybe we’ll get lucky and it won’t be that bad or happen so soon.

      It’s far more likely that substantial numbers of humans will not be able to get adequate quantities of food at ANY Price—-again, maybe later than sooner, but you can bet on it. It’s simple population dynamics.

      PS No amount of sugar is going to sweeten this “lemonade”.

      • andrewfez Says:

        Honey bee death spike in 2014 too:

        “Bees are not in danger of extinction, but their health is of major concern to agriculture, where honeybees’ pollination services are estimated to be worth $10 billion to $15 billion a year.”

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Just noticed that I did some “backwards math”—-the “doubling” is a 100% , not a 50%.

          I am sad to report that the honeybees ARE extinct in my neighborhood. I have a 125 foot long, ten foot high and wide Autumn Olive hedge across my rear lot line—-planted it 40+ years ago. It puts out tens of thousands of small (and stinky) flowers every spring, and used to attract many thousands of honey bees at a time for a couple of weeks—-you could hear the buzz from 50 feet away. This year? NONE, not one, and only a dozen or so bumblebees at a time. Minimally related to AGW (through habitat damage)—-it’s more caused by the harmful effects of neonicotinoid pesticides—-but it will contribute to the coming food shortages and price spikes. Ocean acidification due to burning fossil fuels is a big worry—-1.2 billion people depend heavily on the oceans, and AGW is destroying their productivity. Watched a good doc on that—-Lethal Seas—-on PBS NOVA last night

  4. kookaburra2 Says:

    “Populations will not be growing in the future”


    • dumboldguy Says:

      A better question is “Why do some people make unsupportable bald assertions based on ignorance pf science?”

  5. redskylite Says:

    Also Anthropogenic climate change will effect /is effecting rice production another staple for different parts, I can’t believe it hasn’t sunk in yet.

    In the U.K they are celebrating the novelty of producing decent wine and lots of it – Is that really possible ?, English wine has always been a highly acquired taste, even the Isle of Wights finest vines (from Roman days ?) ? The daily mail says it so it must be true, but all this is just very transient on our journey back to the Eocene via the Pliocene. I can’t imagine what will grow where by then and what will be sharing it with the remaining few of us.

  6. […] Could Climate Change Help you Go Gluten Free? (Climate Crocks): “Wheat is one of the main staple crops in the world and provides 20% of daily protein and calories,” notes the Wheat Initiative, a project launched by G20 agricultural ministers. “With a world population of 9 billion in 2050, wheat demand is expected to increase by 60%. To meet the demand, annual wheat yield increases must grow from the current level of below 1% to at least 1.6%.” […]

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