One of the most striking impacts of rising temperatures is felt in global agriculture, although these impacts are felt very differently in the largely temperate developed world and in the more tropical developing world.
Different crops grow best at quite specific temperatures and when those temperatures change, their productivity changes significantly.
In North America, for example, rising temperatures may reduce corn and wheat productivity in the US mid-west, but expand production and productivity north of the border in Canada.
The productivity of rice, the staple food of more than one third of the world’s population, declines 10% with every 1⁰ C increase in temperature.
Past climate induced problems have been offset by major advances in rice technology and ever larger applications of fertilizer; expectations are that in Thailand, the world’s largest exporter of rice, however, future increases in temperatures may reduce production 25% by 2050.
At the same time, global population models suggest that developing world will add 3 billion people by 2050 and that developing world food producers must double staple food crop production by then simply to maintain current levels of food consumption.
Climate change and food security
Climate change impacts on production
Temperatures and food production