Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Climate change threatens food supplies
"One area where we will have to adapt very quickly is in food production,"
The head of Australia's national science organisation says climate change poses extraordinary challenges to global food production in the future.
CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark has warned higher prices on water and agricultural carbon emissions will make it difficult to sustain the world's growing urban population.
Dr Clark told the National Press Club in Canberra that the amount of food needed over the next 50 years is equal to the total amount of food ever produced by humans.
"That means in the working life of my children as much grain as has ever been harvested since the Egyptian time," she said.
"As much fish as we've ever eaten, as much milk as we've ever taken from reluctant cows on frosty mornings, every frosty morning that we've ever known."
She says the challenge will be made even more difficult because climate change will put a higher price on water and on agricultural carbon emissions.
"One area where we will have to adapt very quickly is in food production," she said.
"It is really hard for me to comprehend that in the next 50 years, we'll have to produce as much food as we have ever produced in human history."