<a href="http://gmagazine.com.au/blogs/leon#">The Business of Green</a>

The Business of Green

Money matters in the green world, by Leon Gettler.

Climate change and the looming food crisis


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Food shortages driven by climate change are reshaping the World's economy and business.

World wheat supplies have been hit hard by drought and bushfires in Russia which has been blamed on climate change. While Russia is the world’s third biggest supplier of wheat, less wheat coming out of Russia is unlikely to affect global markets because of increased wheat exports from Australia and India, and ample stockpiles in the United States. Still, it’s a sign of the future and next time around, we might not be that lucky.

As Greens senator Christine Milne writes, the world has entered a dangerous era of food insecurity. The result could be wars and famines. “Climate change is increasing seasonal rainfall uncertainty and peak oil is driving up fertiliser and transport prices whilst governments reduce support for sustainable agricultural practices and agricultural research and development,” Milne says.

The new era of food insecurity was foreshadowed in this paper released last year by Professor Alan Dupont from Sydney University and Mark Thirwell from the Lowy Institute.

Similarly, a new book The Coming Famine by Julian Cribb, warns that we are facing major food crises by the middle of this century because of a dangerous confluence of scarcities - water, good land, energy, nutrients, technology, fish and, significantly, stable climates.

The prospect of food shortages is reshaping corporate strategies. Recently, we have seen BHP Billiton making a hostile bid to acquire the world's biggest producer of the fertiliser feedstock, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. The world’s biggest mining is targeting a new growth area with the global changes in food production. At the same time, Canadian fertilizer company Agrium has made a massive bid to buy Australian grain company AWB. That too is the result of the growing demand for food.

Much of this demand is also the result of increased demand from China and India for high quality food but climate change is the wild card.

Scientists are now warning that global warming will result in massive food shortages around the world.

To meet the looming food crisis, governments will have to tackle climate change.