Azara Blog: The world is going to have to develop new crop strains

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Date published: 2006/12/03

The BBC says:

The global network of agricultural research centres warns that famines lie ahead unless new crop strains adapted to a warmer future are developed.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) says yields of existing varieties will fall.

New forecasts say warming will shrink South Asia's wheat area by half.

CGIAR is announcing plans to accelerate efforts aimed at developing new strains of staple crops including maize, wheat, rice and sorghum.
The most significant impact of climate change on agriculture is probably changes in rainfall. Some regions are forecast to receive more rain, others to receive less; above all, it will become more variable.

But increasing temperatures can also affect crops. Photosynthesis slows down as the thermometer rises, which also slows the plants' growth and capacity to reproduce.

Research published two years ago shows rice yields are declining by 10% for every degree Celsius increase in night-time temperature.

It's good that at least someone is worrying about adapting to climate change, because it seems pretty inevitable. As with the related area of moving to a so-called carbon-free economy, the world is going to need scientific breakthroughs to avoid disaster. Here, GM technology is likely to play a big part of the solution, no matter how much the so-called environmentalists don't like it (unfortunately they have successfully hindered this research in Europe).

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