Northern hemisphere food security at risk from climate change, warns leading scientist

A leading British climate scientist has warned that the further warming to which the world is already unavoidably committed will cause problems for farmers.

The scientist is Martin Parry, visiting professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, visiting research fellow at Imperial’s Grantham Institute for Climate Change and a former co-chair of Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.

He was speaking  at Impacts World 2013, a conference on climate change effects organised by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IIASA.

Crop losses

He concluded:

“The evidence from the science is overwhelming. Under our best ideas of mitigation, the Northern Hemisphere is committed… to large losses of all crops. We are clearly committed to a dire food security emergency situation in the Northern Hemisphere and, therefore, globally.”

Professor Parry said:

“Weather changes will have just as important an effect as changes in the climate itself, and understanding them can help us to choose better options for climate adaptation, and what they will cost us.

“Look at the way the North Atlantic jet stream has been varying over the last two or three years, bringing unseasonally cold and wet weather to countries like the UK.”

Professor Parry said one of the pressure points to have emerged from the conference was  the fact that weather was showing more variability over the shorter term, for instance the occurrence in Europe of monsoon-type rains.

Hebden Bridge's monsoon-like rains summer 2012

(Info source: Climate News Network)