2018/11/28: The short-term outlook doesn’t look so scary. Climate change means a longer growing season, and conditions might actually improve in places like the Dakotas, where cold weather currently limits farming. Warming should also boost wheat and barley harvests. But rising temperatures and CO2 concentrations will also “enable ragweed and other plants to produce allergenic pollen in larger quantities,” for more months out of the year. And in the long term, harvests of all food crops, including wheat, are expected to decline unless farmers take unprecedented steps to adapt.
Radical adaptation could improve harvests and help solve the larger climate problem. Crops can suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in the soil. The report notes that “agriculture is one of the few sectors with the potential for significant increases in carbon sequestration.”
What would radical adaptation look like? The corn belt might move north from Kansas to Saskatchewan with the weather. Farmers could synch planting times and fertilizer application with precise weather forecasts. Governments might pay farmers for locking up carbon in their fields instead of maximizing profits. They could also provide the funding necessary for scientists to breed climate-adapted crops and animals.
In short, there are plenty of ways that agriculture can provide hope in place of worry. But without action, there’s going to be misery in farm country, according to the report.
2017/05/31: Bangalore was once the icon of a globalized, high tech, utopian future. Now it's the thirsty sign of a global catastrophe
The risk assessment posits that just three disasters in close succession could lead to global food shortages, riots and political instability.
What's up with the Colorado River? What are my water rights? Should I feel guilty about almonds? Answers to these questions and more.
Humans are depleting a large portion of the world's groundwater resources, and they are not being naturally refilled, researchers said.
California needs to preserve its groundwater, and it's turning to satellite monitoring to keep tabs on how it's doing.
All part of my grand scheme to de-Californify the US fruit and vegetable supply.
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This article appears in Cities Are Now, the Winter 2015 issue of YES! Magazine.
The timing might seem odd, even self-destructive.
The Lone Star State is losing open space faster than any other, and that's bad news for the water cycle.