By VICE News | 15 December 2017 11:23:33In a world in which the number one oil source is corn, where the average American consumes 40% of the world’s calories and where most of the carbon dioxide emissions are coming from transportation, agriculture, and the production of meat, the last thing the planet needs is more climate change-causing fossil fuels.
But the future is not looking good for our climate.
In a study released this week, the National Academy of Sciences released a new study that finds that climate change could be the biggest factor in our food supply being depleted in the coming years.
The report found that the most popular crop in the US is cashew nut oil, which is produced by a variety of species of nuts from the Amazon to the American West Coast.
The US has more cashew oil than any other country on the planet, and it accounts for over 40% (35.5 million metric tons) of the oil produced globally, according to the study.
The researchers found that because of the scarcity of the nuts, there is a real risk that some of the supply will be completely depleted by the end of this century, if not sooner.
“Cannabis is a global agricultural commodity, but cashew is the only crop that has been adapted to growing in the tropics, thus ensuring a long-term supply,” said study co-author John A. McWilliams, a professor of agronomy and environmental studies at George Mason University.
“Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is the most effective for mitigating climate change,” he added.
“The U.S. cashew market has grown rapidly in recent years, and its production has been in decline for several years,” said McWilliams.
“We expect cashew will be an even greater contributor to climate change mitigation efforts as we transition to an agricultural system that does not depend on oil from oil palm.”
According to McWilliams and co-authors, the US cashew supply has been a source of major concern for the world because the nuts are so important to many of the country’s food security needs.
“The cashew industry has grown over the last 20 years because of cheap oil,” said Dr. Jef Esterman, a senior research scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and coauthor of the study, in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the current climate change policies that are driving the cashew transition are also driving the industry.”
According the report, because of climate change, the cashews supply will likely be reduced by at least 80% by 2050, and that the demand will also be cut in half.
It predicts that, if current trends continue, by the middle of the century, the average cashew farmer will be using less cashew.
“Climate change will cause severe and widespread disruptions in our supply chain, and we must act now,” said Estermen.
“In addition to reducing the caskys consumption, we need to work to reduce carbon emissions and reduce land use.
We need to get our act together and get a handle on this climate crisis.”
A climate change scenarioThe research team, including Estermans PhD student Dr. Joanna Visconti, also analyzed the potential impacts of climate-induced changes to the global food system.
According to the FAO, the climate is expected to warm by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2050s, and as a result, the land area and carbon footprint of the planet will increase.
This is predicted to lead to more drought, higher crop yields, more drought-induced flooding, and increased vulnerability to extreme weather events.
In addition, a large amount of land will be covered by a layer of ice, which will reduce crop yields.
As a result of the increased climate, the amount of arable land is expected be halved by 2050.
“Our projections suggest that by the 2030s, arable cropland will be reduced in most of North America, while land surface will increase in many parts of the U.s. and parts of Europe,” the report states.
According to the report:The FAO says that climate-related threats to food security could be “greatly greater than the impacts of other risks, including crop failures, soil erosion, wildfires, and water shortages.”
In addition to climate-caused changes in the land, climate change will also affect the food supply in many ways.
“Climate change is already having an impact on the global agriculture system.
This study demonstrates that climate variability and adaptation are playing a critical role in the resilience of food systems to these impacts,” said Aya S. Haddad, the director of FAO’s Food and Agricultural Outlook, in an interview with Vice News.
In other words, climate-linked shifts in the climate could have a dramatic impact on how our food is grown, stored, and consumed.