A report from Oxfam warns that global warming and extreme weather will combine to create devastating food price shocks in the coming decades.
Oxfam had previously warned that corn or maize would see a 177% rise in price by 2030 due to climate change and other factors (see Oxfam: Extreme Weather Has Helped Push Tens of Millions into “Hunger and Poverty” in “Grim Foretaste” of Warmed World).
Further modeling the impact of warming-driven extreme weather shocks leads Oxfam to conclude corn prices could increase a staggering 500% by 2030.
Note: The “additional price increase” percentage is calculated off the original price increase.
As Oxfam explains in its news release:
Food price spikes will get worse as extreme weather caused by climate change devastates food production
New research shows that the full impact of climate change on future food prices is being underestimated, according to international agency Oxfam.
Oxfam’s new report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Prices, highlights for the first time how extreme weather events such as droughts and floods could drive up future food prices. Previous research only tends to consider gradual impacts, such as increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns.
Oxfam’s findings should come as no surprise to anyone following recent headlines. Here’s an August 30th story from the World Bank:
Severe Droughts Drive Food Prices Higher, Threatening the Poor
Global food prices soared by 10 percent in July from a month ago, with maize and soybean reaching all-time peaks due to an unprecedented summer of droughts and high temperatures in both the United States and Eastern Europe, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Food Price Watch report.
And here’s one from the UK Guardian from September 2nd:
The era of cheap food may be over
A spike in prices caused by poor harvests and rising demand is an apt moment for the west to reassess the wisdom of biofuels
Duh? See CP’s 2011 posts, “The Corn Ultimatum: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?” and “Biofuels May Push 120 Million Into Hunger, Qatar’s Shah Says.”
Last December I wrote that the Climate Story of the Year was “Warming-Driven Drought and Extreme Weather Emerge as Key Threat to Global Food Security.” This may well be the climate story of the decade — though the world’s inaction on carbon pollution, the media’s silence on climate change, the GOP’s descent into hard-core denial, and the Arctic Death Spiral will all be battling for that title.
Here’s more from the Oxfam news release on this most important of stories: