According to a recent study published in the journal Climate Change, global food production costs are on a course to increase by as much as 40 percent because of environmental factors triggered by global warming.
Recent droughts in the U.S. drove home the severity of climate change's impact on our food supply. Colony Collapse Disorder's blow to worldwide bee populations that perform billions of dollars a year in free pollination has farmers on high alert. But all that may just be the tip of the iceberg according to the study.
The study researchers estimate that food production around the planet could drop by 0.5 percent by the end of the decade, and by mid-century, drop more than 2 percent from current production levels.
Prices on some of the most vital staples including grains and sugar could rise by 40 percent, fruits and vegetables could rise 30 percent, and rice could increase 20 percent.
"Future climate change is likely to modify regional water endowments and soil moisture. As a consequence, the distribution of harvested land will change, modifying production and international trade patterns," the study authors wrote. "Higher food prices are expected."
Among the factors considered in making the predictions, the researches looked at changes that impact food production and anticipated changes as the planet continues to heat up. The researchers looked at changes in global temperatures, carbon dioxide levels, river flow patterns, changes in weather patterns—particularly precipitation levels—and changes in land areas.
"Often the impacts of climate on food and water are treated separately, but really the interaction is very important as agriculture is one of the dominant consumers of freshwater," Dr. Andy Wiltshire, the study's co-author, told Carbon Brief.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: John Pozadzides