Sunday, May 22, 2022

Let Them Grow Cake! Climate Change and The Wheat Crises

by Bluemoose
Triticum  aestivum (common wheat) and a few other species in the grass genus Triticum  (T. durum and T. compactum) are the source of one of the most important staple foods in the world. These grasses are grown in more than 200 million ha of land worldwide, and in 2020 world annual production of wheat stood at 760 million tons. But now an unfortunate combination of climate change and war have threatened our food supply.

Extreme weather events in almost all the wheat producing regions in the world have been causing chaos in the food supply. India, one of the top three wheat exporting countries,  has seen record high temperatures that have severely impacted their crops, so much so that the Indian government just declared limits on wheat export. In China, floods have also potentially compromised wheat supply, and in the EU, US, and Canada various combinations of drought and unseasonably warm temperatures have also threatened wheat crops. Meanwhile, Russia seems relatively unaffected by the extreme weather events going on elsewhere, but the war in Ukraine has limited its role in at least helping to dampen the growing impact of climate change on this year's food supply. Some estimates have declared that the world has only 10 weeks supply of wheat left, and this will be sure to create increases in the prices of bread and other staple foods going forward.

In the end, we owe it to ourselves and to our children to makes sure we address the growing impact of climate change, not only on other species, but on our own, before it becomes too late. 

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