Food Security

The Problem

Food security is one of the most basic needs required for positive physical and mental health outcomes, and research has demonstrated that climate change will have a negative impact on food production and security.

On Land

  • Climate models predict that warming increases precipitation variability, resulting in periods of severe drought that cycle with periods of extreme precipitation. This variability will lead to decreased yields and more costly food production.

  • For example, in 2011, exposure to high temperature events caused over one billion in losses to agricultural producers.

  • Additionally, rising carbon dioxide levels reduces nutritional value of most food crops, reducing the amount of protein and essential minerals.

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Based on data published in Science Advances (2018)

Food insecurity today and tomorrow

 

Over 38 million people in the United States suffer from food insecurity already (12% of the population)

The US population is expected to grow to ~404 million by 2060 through a combination of population growth and immigration, potentially creating for increased stress on food production and distribution.

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A visual of the carbon cycle and the effects of excess carbon on our oceans (EPA)

In the Sea

  • Warming temperatures has already changed the ranges of fish and shellfish that we depend on for both food and as a contribution to our economy (the US fishing industry contributes more than $1.55 billion to our economy). These changes can lead to increased pressures on these species and declines in their population.​

  • Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing the oceans to become more acidic, which has the potential to negatively affect populations of shellfish. This will lead to lower yields, and increased prices in the supermarkets.