It is not too much to expect, before many of us take leave of this planet, that governments and corporations, the military and established interests will together surrender some of their political clout, and their silo-addiction to pursue their independent interests to the more profound common interest of all human beings and surrender some of the instant gratification that drives too much of public policy, in the primary interests of those seeking re-election, to a longer-term perspective that is and will be required in order to address the impending ravages of global warming and climate change, and not only as it affects food production or access to oxygen for our billions of gasping lungs, or as it affects our access to free and fresh drinking water.
The world has mentors already waiting to be brought into the circle of humanity, whose knowledge and experience, indeed whose very culture, is stepped in a sacred respect for Mother Earth. It is long past time for the non-aboriginal culture and political class to invite those "earth-lovers" from among the aboriginal peoples from all corners of the planet, to provide both a philosophic rationale and a pragmatic approach to generate a global commitment to clean, free, and unimpeded access to air, water, land and enough food for all. We have both the technology and the resources already to feed the world's population, even projecting into the next decade, yet we are all waiting for empirical evidence of the political classes' embrace of a common, global need, in their own best long-term self interests, and it is "self-interest" as the guiding principal for all politicians. Until that threshold has been crossed, we will not see the level of urgency that some of us already embrace, on this, and on many other, issues.
Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.
In a departure from an earlier assessment, the scientists concluded that rising temperatures will have some beneficial effects on crops in some places, but that globally they will make it harder for crops to thrive — perhaps reducing production over all by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century, compared with what it would be without climate change.
And, the scientists say, they are already seeing the harmful effects in some regions.
The warnings come in a leaked draft of a report under development by a United Nations panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The document is not final and could change before it is released in March.
The report also finds other sweeping impacts from climate change already occurring across the planet, and warns that these are likely to intensify as human emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise. The scientists describe a natural world in turmoil as plants and animals colonize new areas to escape rising temperatures, and warn that many could become extinct.
The warning on the food supply is the sharpest in tone the panel has issued. Its previous report, in 2007, was more hopeful. While it did warn of risks and potential losses in output, particularly in the tropics, that report found that gains in production at higher latitudes would most likely offset the losses and ensure an adequate global supply.
The new tone reflects a large body of research in recent years that has shown how sensitive crops appear to be to heat waves. The recent work also challenges previous assumptions about how much food production could increase in coming decades because of higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The gas, though it is the main reason for global warming, also acts as a kind of fertilizer for plants.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the principal scientific body charged with reviewing and assessing climate science, then issuing reports about the risks to the world’s governments. Its main reports come out every five to six years. The group won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Al Gore, in 2007 for its efforts.l