October 28, 2011

Economic impacts of climate change being seen in the US

In a recent annual meeting, US crop scientists expressed concern that global warming has been shrinking crop yields for the world’s largest food exporter through increasingly worse droughts and extreme temperatures.

With an unusual rise in daytime and especially night-time temperatures in regions around the globe, tomatoes and snap beans, for instance, can no longer be grown in the southern US during the summer.

Economist Gerald Nelson with the International Food Policy Research Institute stated, “As temperatures rise, we are going to have trouble maintaining the yields of crops that we already have.”

Not only rising temperatures, but also extreme weather events in the United States are troubling regions like the US Midwest, known as the country’s breadbasket, and other agricultural areas, as explained by US climate scientist Dr. Donald Wuebbles from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Donald Wuebbles – US climate scientist, IPCC lead author (M): This year actually was the worst year on record for natural disasters in the US. Over US$35 billion of damages. Every part of the US has seen an increase in over the last 50 years in the top 1% of storms for that particular area. In the Midwest, that’s been over a 30% increase in the top 1% of storms. And so more precipitation is coming as larger events. Well, that means more flooding.

When they do get rain, it still tends to come as larger events than it used to, but they’re not getting as much rain as they were before. And so that’s why in Texas this year, we had a really major problem with a really major drought. There are very little in the way of plant life right now because this drought was so devastating.

VOICE: With US agronomists worried about the economic impact of these changes as well as the inability to meet food demands, Dr. Wuebbles emphasized the need to address global warming immediately.

Dr. Donald Wuebbles (M): The cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action. It is much better to do something now than wait because of the extreme expense.

We may have as much as a 20% decrease in the gross domestic product worldwide by the end of the century if climate change continues to occur at the rate it is. We’re talking about a huge amount of expense from potential impacts on society if we don’t do something about this problem.

VOICE: Our appreciation, Dr. Donald Wuebbles and US crop experts, for further alerting us to the real threats of global warming on food production. May we act swiftly to cool our planet as well as adopt climate-friendly agricultural practices to ensure the sustenance and safety of all.

During a June 2011 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed concern about climate change and food insecurity, as she pointed to the organic vegan way for effectively addressing them both.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: So, you see, climate change affects us in many different ways, not just the heat, the drought, the flood, the disease, food shortage, etc., but even the cold.

And climate change – through droughts and floods that destroy crops – is, of course, a major cause of high food price and food insecurity.

So just this one change, simple change, small change: changing our diet to an organic vegan diet. This will help all the governments of the world to afford climate change mitigation and preserve biodiversity.

It will also help us protect food security and conserve water. What is the use for us to satisfy our taste right now with meat when we know for certain that in the future our children will go hungry, our world will collapse? What is the use of that? However tasty the meat is,we have to consider this option and change it so that the world can continue to survive and thrive in abundance and happiness and health.

Sources: Reuters, News Daily, Care2

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