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Climate Proofing of Farms Seen Too Slow as Industry Faces Havoc

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Farm Issues page.

Climate change will play havoc with farming, and policy makers and researchers aren't fully aware of the significance on food supply, according to the World Bank.

Earth will warm by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) "in your lifetime," Rachel Kyte, the World Bank's vice-president for climate change, said at a meeting of agriculture ministers in Berlin over the weekend. That will make farming untenable in some areas, she said.

Extreme weather from China's coldest winter in at least half a century in 2010 to a July hailstorm in Reutlingen, Germany, already started to affect food prices. In the past three years, orange juice, corn, wheat, soybean meal and sugar were five of the top eight most volatile commodities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Natural gas was first.

"Significant damage and destruction is already happening," Kyte said. "It isn't a benign and slightly warmer world. It will be a volatile warming of the planet, with unpredictable impact."

Adapting agriculture to withstand a world with a changed climate and depleting resources isn't happening fast enough, according to Achim Steiner, the director general of the UN's Environment Program.   


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