Eating your greens could become more costly due to climate change
Keeping healthy could become more costly as climate change and water scarcity cause a huge drop in the global production of vegetables and legumes, scientists said this week.
The amount of vegetables produced could fall by more than a third, especially in hot regions like southern Europe and swathes of Africa and South Asia, said researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
By analyzing studies across 40 countries, with some dating as far back as 1975, they found that hikes in greenhouses gases, water scarcity and global temperatures lowered the amount of vegetables and legumes produced.
Such drastic changes could drive up the prices of vegetables, which would affect poorer communities the most, according to the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“If we take a ‘business as usual’ approach, environmental changes will substantially reduce the global availability of these important foods,” said Alan Dangour, a co-author of the paper, which is the first of its kind, in a statement.
Scientists have warned that world temperatures are likely to rise by 2 degrees to 4.9 degrees Celsius this century compared with pre-industrial times.
This could lead to dangerous weather patterns - including more frequent and powerful droughts, floods and storms - increasing the pressure on agriculture.
Food production itself is a major contributor to climate change.