Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper
Global warming will make veggies scarcer
Global warming is expected to make vegetables significantly scarcer around the world, unless new growing practices and resilient crop varieties are adopted, researchers warned on Monday.
By the end of this century, less water and hotter air will combine to cut average yields of vegetables-which are crucial to a healthy diet-by nearly one-third, said the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A 7.2 Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) increase in temperature, which scientists expect by 2100 if global warming continues on its current trajectory, reduces average yields by 31.5 percent, said the report.
"Our study shows that environmental changes such as increased temperature and water scarcity may pose a real threat to global agricultural production, with likely further impacts on food security and population health," said lead author Pauline Scheelbeek of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Southern Europe, large parts of Africa and South Asia may be particularly affected.
The findings are based on a systematic review of 174 studies examining the impact of environmental exposures on yield and nutritional content of vegetables and legumes since 1975. Some previous research has pointed to a likely increase in crop yields as carbon dioxide rises, but the current review found that any such boost would be cancelled out by higher greenhouse gases, reduced water availability for irrigation and rising temperatures.