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World is Unprepared as Climate Change Starvation 'Disaster' Lies Ahead: Report

- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Millions of people will die of starvation across the world as agricultural yields are expected to tank and the price of food is expected to double by 2050 scientists warned in a new report released this week.

Corn in the hands of a farmworker in South Africa. Photograph: Greatstock Photographic Library/Alamy The culprit? Extreme temperatures, floods and droughts brought on by climate change, the scientists warned in this year's US National Climate Assessment.

Lead researches of the study told the Observer that food insecurity risks turning parts of Africa into permanent disaster areas.

Frank Rijsberman, head of the world's 15 international CGIAR crop research centers, stated:

Food production will have to rise 60% by 2050 just to keep pace with expected global population increase and changing demand. Climate change comes on top of that. The annual production gains we have come to expect … will be taken away by climate change. We are not so worried about the total amount of food produced so much as the vulnerability of the one billion people who are without food already and who will be hit hardest by climate change. They have no capacity to adapt.

The Observer reports:

America's agricultural economy is set to undergo dramatic changes over the next three decades, as warmer temperatures devastate crops, according to a US government report. The draft US National Climate Assessment report predicts that a gradually warming climate and unpredictable severe weather, such as the drought that last year spread across two-thirds of the continental United States, will have serious consequences for farmers.

The research by 60 scientists predicts that all crops will be affected by the temperature shift as well as livestock and fruit harvests. The changing climate, it says, is likely to lead to more pests and less effective herbicides. The $50bn Californian wine industry could shrink as much as 70% by 2050.

The report lays bare the stark consequences for the $300bn US farm industry, stating: "Many agricultural regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production. The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock production. Climate disruptions have increased in the recent past and are projected to increase further over the next 25 years.

"Critical thresholds are already being exceeded. Many regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production from increased stress due to weeds, diseases, insect pests and other climate change-induced stresses. Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the recent past and are projected to increase further".

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