Tags: Lawrence | climate | change | food

NBC News: Climate Change Is Putting Food Supply At Risk

By John Morgan   |   Friday, 17 May 2013 07:59 AM

Evidence is growing that the nation's food supply is being threatened as climate change causes adverse ripple effects for the things we drink and eat, according to NBC News.

Warmer and moister air, coupled with bacterial outbreaks and the spread of fungi strains, is choking some crops already weakened by genetic tinkering and chemically based farming, the network said.

"We are in the midst of dramatic assault on the security of the food supply," declared Dr. Robert Lawrence, director of the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Editor’s Note:
Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

Only 28 percent of cornfields have been planted this year due to heavy rains — far behind schedule — and low hay yields have reduced the domestic cattle and calf herd to its lowest level since 1952, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"What's very sobering about the situation today: This is global and there isn't any other place to go on this spaceship Earth," Lawrence said.

"We need to regard all of these [examples] as a very powerful motivator to try to work on the carbon emissions, to start pushing that parts per million of carbon dioxide back down."

On May 9, the ratio of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere soared to the highest daily average ever recorded by an air monitor station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii —400 parts per million. John Ewald, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, called that threshold — up from a much 313 parts per million in 1958 — "an extremely important milestone," according to NBC News.

Lawrence said that as global populations rise, agricultural interests are shipping more food internationally — and allowing certain plant-consuming bacteria, fungi and viruses to "hitchhike half way around the world in a day."

"We're in a situation where the food supply is more vulnerable than it has ever been," Lee Hannah, a senior fellow at Conservation International, told NBC News.

However, fewer people believe that global warming is happening, according to Yale's April 2013 climate change survey. Americans' belief that global warming is happening dropped by 7 points, to 63 percent, from the preceding six months. The survey's authors concluded that the cold winter had affected popular opinion on the matter.

By contrast, a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that 97 percent of the 4,000 scientists surveyed believed that human-driven climate change is real.

Editor’s Note: Put the World’s Top Financial Minds to Work for You

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