Researchers at University of Manchester have dire predictions for the world if global warming continues at the rate that it is going.
Specifically, the Sustainable Consumption Institute says that fruits, vegetables, and meats, will become too expensive for many people to eat regularly if the global temperature increases by 4 degrees Celsius – or about 7 degrees Fahrenheit.
Worse yet, even if families and individuals coordinate to lower their carbon-emission rates, the preference for foods that require higher-energy farming and cultivation methods as well as the demand needed to sustain an even basic standard of living will continue to raise global emission rates.
The United Kingdom, which was where the two-year study was conducted, counts 10 percent of their emissions as coming from non-carbon emissions, such as those from agriculture. For countries for which their non-carbon emissions are around 25 percent of their total global emission rates, the scenarios are even more severe
Staple crops like wheat and rice could be reduced by 30 percent, leading to widespread food shortages and hunger.
Many scientists believe that a slight rise in temperature can benefit agriculture, as it would improve yields. But Dr. Alice Bows, who led the study, believes that, as the temperatures continue to rise, it would lead to an increase in fertilizer, and less productive livestock – both of which would exacerbate contributions for global warming.
Dr. Bows is also concerned about the stance politicians have taken on the matter, choosing to focus on emissions linked to energy instead of those related to agriculture and food.
Their study looked at a series of scenarios, in which the global temperature had risen 2 degrees Celsius and 4 degrees Celsius.
So what can be done to stem the tide?
Bows and her team have proposed some radical solutions for both industry and individuals: indoor farms, lab-grown meats, and community cooking centers.
The researchers maintain that only by decreasing demand for energy, food, goods, and services can the harmful effects of global warming be avoided or mitigated.
The study was presented at an event held by Sustainable Consumption Institute and should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.