Russian Heatwave's Effect on Agriculture a Sign of Things to Come Elsewhere?


Buckwheat, with 2009 prices... photo: Luigi Guarino via flickr.

Take it as a sign of things to common in more places without more concerted action on climate change: As the BBC reports, the recent millennial heat wave in Russia may be over but the effects on the economy will be felt for some time. Estimates of its impact are official reported as knocking 0.8% off GDP, while independent figures place it as high as -1.5%.Other economic indicators are also affected: Consumer prices rose 0.4% in the first two weeks of August, as much as all of July. A best case is inflation for the month being 0.5%, meaning for the year an inflation rate of 6-7%--which is actually below 2009's but is not insignificant.

Those economic figures don't tell the full story though--perhaps if the Genuine Progress Indicator were more frequently calculated that would help things, but that's another issue.

Check out the effects on agriculture: More than one quarter of all crops destroyed, small dairy farmers forced to begin slaughtering cattle as fodder prices rapidly rise. And on food security: Buckwheat difficult to buy and prices rising rapidly--as much because of actual shortages as people stocking up fearing the worst, price increases on other staple foods as well.

Climbing Average Temps a Major Food Security Risk
Obligatory statement: No single weather event can be linked entirely to climate change.

But take the recent Russian experience as something which is likely to happen with greater frequency as global average temperatures continue to rise. While heat waves of such unprecedented magnitude may never become commonplace, the trend is decidedly towards more extreme weather conditions, having a knock-on effect on crop yields--even though there may be geographical exceptions, largely for the worse and bringing the issue of food security into the foreground for many more people.

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More on Global Climate Change:
Half of World Population Could Face Food Shortages by 2100
Global Warming Hits World's Women Hardest - Especially When They Don't Have Equal Rights
Global Warming to Blame for 37% of Droughts

Tags: Agriculture | Global Warming Effects | Russia

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