Global warmism’s bad decade just became a bad eon. The latest cause for concern is a new report from the United Nations that has unintentionally deflated the organization’s own claims that global warming will hamper world food production.
Some background may be helpful here. In the past few years, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that global warming will increase food insecurity across the world. “All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability,” the panel reported in 2014, adding:
Redistribution of marine fisheries catch potential towards higher latitudes poses risk of reduced supplies, income, and employment in tropical countries, with potential implications for food security. Global temperature increases of ~4°C or more above late-20th-century levels, combined with increasing food demand, would pose large risks to food security globally and regionally. Risks to food security are generally greater in low-latitude areas.
Yet, a new report by the UN’s agriculture arm predicts food prices will decrease in the next decade as demand growth slows and production increases. The report states:
In real terms, prices for all agricultural products are expected to decrease over the next 10 years, as production growth, helped by on-trend productivity growth and lower input prices, outpaces slowing demand increases….
In Asia, Europe and North America additional agricultural production will be driven almost exclusively by yield improvements, whereas in South America yield improvements and additional agricultural area are projected. Modest production growth is expected in Africa, although further investments could raise yields and production significantly.
While the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report only projects production, prices, and demand over the next ten years, it gives a picture of global food production that differs from the environmentalist narrative that global warming is hurting food supplies today.
“We’re facing the specter of reduced yields in some of the key crops that feed humanity,” the former head of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri told reporters last year. He added that some parts of the world “have seen crop yield increases drop from 2 percent a year to 1 percent or even plateau.”
U.N. scientists say that food production growth will dramatically slow by 2050 because technological breakthroughs and “green” agriculture practices could offset some of the declines in food production.
Indeed, the new FAO report says food production growth will slow slightly in the next decade, but the agency says the decline is driven by sluggish economic growth. The FAO says that “generally sluggish and uneven recovery of the global economy will cause the demand for agricultural commodities to increase at a slower rate than over the past decade.”
Also, slower world population growth will also dampen demand going forward, according to the FAO. But slower population growth will come as global incomes increase and protein becomes a bigger part of people’s diets.
Interestingly enough, the FAO also notes that oil prices are projected to stay relatively low over this time, which means that biofuels (which cause food prices to be higher than they would otherwise) will continue to remain unprofitable without government supports. From the report:
Lower oil prices are a source of downward pressure on prices, principally through their impact on energy and fertiliser costs. Moreover, under the projected lower oil prices, the production of first generation biofuels is generally not profitable without mandates or other incentives.
Policies are not expected to lead to significantly higher biofuel production in either the United States or the European Union. On the other hand, a rise in the production of sugar-based ethanol in Brazil is expected to flow from the increase in the mandatory blending ratio in gasoline and the provision of tax incentives, while biodiesel production is being actively promoted in Indonesia.
This report, by Michael Bastasch, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.