As the population is growing exponentially, The FAO estimates that global demand for food will jump by half from 2013 to 2050. “With 3.4 billion more mouths to feed and the growing desire of the middle class for meat and dairy in developing countries, global demand for food could increase by between 59 and 98 percent” . However with global warming, sea level rising, and carbon dioxide increasing both the quality and quantity of food is compromised. Corn, cotton, and soybean will increase at first then drop sharply as the season temperature getting warmer. Livestock’s overall health and production will be decreased. Fisheries will face serious threads that ultimately lead to human’ health issues.
For every degree Celsius that the global thermostat rises, there will be a 5 to 15 percent decrease in overall crop production. Top four maize-exporting countries’ simultaneous production losses were never greater than 10%, however, when the heat was taken into account it increases to 7% under 2 °C warming and 86% under 4 °C warming. Across U.S. Corn Belt, corn yields were affected due to the high nighttime temperature in 2010 and 2012, the reduction will get worse as hot temperatures projected to increase as much as 30%. Warm winter has caused premature budding cherries which equal to $220 million lost in Michigan 2012.
Pesticides usually strive in a moisture environment, therefore the heat would be likely to cause wide ranges of pests to increase. Crops that are in the North could face new dangers since they were exposed to these species. Heat-loving warms move to the upper midwest rusts and tobacco mosaic weakened plants. New virulent mutant strains of wheat rust, a fungal infection that had not been seen for over 50 years, have spread from Africa to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, devastating crops. allow more of these pests and weeds to survive for a longer time.
The increasing level of carbon dioxide may come with bigger crops but weeds invasion will also be growing. Certain species of weeds, insects, and other pests benefit from higher temperatures and elevated CO2, increasing their potential to damage crops and creating financial hardship for farmers.
Wheat could have protein levels drop by more than 10%. If the CO2 levels reach between 540 ppm and 958 ppm, which was projected to be in 2100, it would cause nutrition in plants as well as zinc and iron drop to significantly. The elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere have caused the reduction of protein and nitrogen content in alfalfa and soybean plants. “Rice grown with elevated CO2 concentrations contained 17 percent less vitamin B1 (thiamine), 17 percent less vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 13 percent fewer vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and 30 percent fewer vitamin B9 (folate) than rice grown under current CO2 levels.” ( Schmidt, Experts explain how rising carbon dioxide depletes nutrients in our food).
Rising sea level could disrupt rice production and fewer coastal areas for growing rice thus reducing the quantity of rice. By 2050 the rice yield would likely to decrease by 10 to 15%. Vietnam has already suffered from sea-level rise and saline intrusion.
Heat stress caused by higher temperature can have a variety of impacts on livestock such as their reproduction, productions, and health. Dairy cows are especially sensitive to heat, so milk production could decline. At higher temperatures, cows eat less food, which leads to a fall in milk production.
“In south-east England – the region with the highest incidence of heat stress – the average annual milk losses due to heat stress is projected to exceed 170 kg/cow. Cows in the UK currently produce an average of about 7,500kg of milk each year so these future losses would be about 2.4% of their production. the hottest year in the 2090s is predicted to result in an annual milk loss exceeding 1,300 kg/cow, which is about 18.6% of annual milk yield” (Foskolos, Moorby- How climate change will affect dairy cows and milk production in the UK – new study).
Parent birds usually lay one egg a day and have control over temperature to trigger the embryo development making five chick hatch around the same time. However, climate change is taking away a hens ability to do that causing eggs to hatch earlier. Heat and humidity may change cattle’ metabolism, this will result in decreased feed intake, ultimately decreasing meat production. For each 1°C increase above that, all species reduce their feed intake by 3-5 percent.
Parasites and pathogens in the same area now have a higher chance to survive. More heat brings diseases, “Blue-tongue virus” has moved north killing more animals. Livestock which has never been exposed to these diseases before will have no immune system to fight back.
“The reports indicated that climate change effects on buffalo fly and sheep blowfly have been inferred climate scenarios in New Zealand and Australia have suggested an increased incidence of epidemics of animal diseases as vectors spread and extension of cattle tick infestations and which is aggravated with changes in both temperature and rainfall. 2-35% in dairy goats or 8-10% in buffalo heifers.”
Since Carbon Dioxide affected crops’ protein level, cattle relied on those crops would need to eat more to get the same nutrition. Some farmers eventually feed their cows with lollies because of the price of corn increased. But if cows don’t have the nutrition they need, they will develop E.Coli. More microbes and more parasites mean that livestock have to take more parasiticides and other animal health treatments which ultimately create the risk of pesticides entering the food chain or lead to the evolution of pesticide resistance.
“What we found was that the body size of fish decreases by 20 to 30 percent for every 1 degree Celsius increase in water temperature, “Cold water fish, like trout and salmon, struggle in warmer water. The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water drops as the water warms, causing the fish to become less active. For these fish, that critical temperature is about 70°F. In the Northwest, a general decline in snowpack has led to lower streamflows and warmer water in spring and summer, meaning that the 70°F threshold is exceeded more often. Montana has recently closed some rivers to recreational fishing, even for catch-and-release, because of physical stress on the fish.”
The oyster parasite such as Vibrio bacteria has spread farther North when ingested by humans it would cause symptoms such as diarrhea and liver disease. Yukon Chinook Salmon has been infected with the salmon disease in the Bering Sea due to a higher temperature. It also caused disease outbreaks in coral, eelgrass, and abalone. increase the incidence of pathogens and of marine diseases. Fish reproduction and migration could also be altered, causing fishes to speed up their metabolism and absorb more mercury.
The sea water has become 30% more acidic faster than the last fifteen million years. Marine species need ions in the ocean to build their shells and skeletons however since carbon dioxide is increasing there are fewer ions. Some shellfish, such as mussels and pteropods are already beginning to create thinner shells, leaving them more vulnerable to predators. Zooplankton – one of the animals that form the base of the food chain also have calcium shells. Ocean acidification can ultimately create “cracks in the food chain”. The changes in acidity also interfere with the development of fish larvae and disrupt the sense of smell fish rely on to find food, habitats and avoid predators.
“During the last forty years, there has been a substantial warming in the Barents Sea, with the bottom temperature rising by approximately 1°C in the last decade alone. Sea ice in this region is retreating and sub-zero water masses in late summer have almost disappeared. As a result, boreal (warm-water affinity) species, such as cod, have moved northward, entering areas previously dominated by Arctic fish species”.
As climate change affect our food through rising sea level, carbon dioxide, and global temperature cause billions of dollars every year, the food system also play a vital role in global warming. We don’t like to see spaces in the refrigerator that’s why we buy more food than we actually need. Refrigerators have grown in size 15%, plates have grown in size by 35% over the years; bigger plates mean more food, the food we don’t want. In 2009 UC Santa Barbara stops using trays at the dining hall, the result is 50% less food waste per tray per person.. Food waste every single day could feel up the world’s largest football stadium in America. 800 million people living in extreme poverty who are most vulnerable to food price spikes. It’s crucial that we find a way to grow food in these harsh elements and use that food wisely.
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