Newsdesk – June 2

Global map of changes in wheat yield on average annually. Units are measured by tons per hectare per year. Credit: Deepak Ray.

Climate change is already affecting global food production – unequally. The world’s top 10 crops— barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat—supply a combined 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Research found that observed climate change causes a significant yield variation in the world’s top 10 crops, ranging from a decrease of 13.4 percent for oil palm to an increase of 3.5 percent for soybean, and resulting in an average reduction of approximately one percent (-3.5 X 10e13 kcal/year) of consumable food calories from these crops. Therefore, half of all food-insecure countries indeed are experiencing decreases in crop production—and so are some affluent industrialized countries in Western Europe; the impacts of climate change on global food production being mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, generally positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia and Northern and Central America. Nevertheless, “There are winners and losers, and some countries that are already food insecure fare worse,” says lead author Deepak Ray of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. “The research documents how change is already happening, not just in some future time” –

  • Deadly Japan heatwave ‘essentially impossible’ without global warming – Climate Change News
  • The continental US just had the wettest 12 months in the 124 years on record – CNN
  • Sea-level rise could be even worse than we’ve been led to expect – Washington Post
  • London bids to host 2020 UN climate talks to show UK remains ‘open’ – Climate Change News
  • Nectar swaps BP for Esso amid criticism by climate campaigners – The Guardian
  • Here’s why the US has seen tornadoes, floods and extreme heat in the past few weeks – CNN
  • Native plant species may be at greater risk from climate change than non-natives –
  • [Opinion] Sin taxes on meat or flying won’t change a climate hypocrite like me. Rationing might – The Guardian
The old city of Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. Image: By Diego Delso, via Wikimedia Commons

Football’s Euro finals will hurt the climate. It’s unprecedented in the annals of European football: English clubs monopolise this week’s Euro finals. Unusually, the country England is home to every finalist in the Euro finals, Europe’s two top football competitions, this week. This fact that the first time one country has supplied all the teams playing is great news for English football, but it’s bad news for the climate. The reason why is that air travel, to the Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan and the Champions League in Madrid, is one of the fastest-growing sources of climate-changing CO2 emissions. These planetary CO2 emissions have to be radically cut back in order to head off catastrophic climate change and keep the rise in average global temperatures compared to pre-industrial levels to within 2C. It’s calculated that for every one of those fans making the return flight from London to Baku, the equivalent of 0.69 tonnes of CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. For the shorter London to Madrid return trip, the figure is 0.21 tonnes. At present the average citizen in the US is responsible for CO2 emissions of more than 19 tonnes per year; in the UK the figure is nearly 10 tonnes. Analysts say each of us should limit annual carbon emissions, whether by flying or driving or the food we consume, to 1.2 tonnes per year to keep within the 2C target agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference – now considered not to be ambitious enough. If the challenges of climate change are going to be effectively dealt with, tough decisions have to be made. If not, it will be game over for the planet – Climate News Network

The Scottish Highlands. Francesca Osowska warned of abandoned rural areas. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Scotland faces climate ‘apocalypse’ without action to cut emissions. The natural heritage chief warns of flooded and deserted towns, dead forests and polluted rivers, an apocalypse which the country faces unless urgent action is taken to cut CO2 emissions. Francesca Osowska, chief executive of Scottish Natural Heritage, said there were very clear threats facing Scotland, and by implication the rest of the UK, unless radical action was taken by 2030. “Imagine an apocalypse – polluted waters; drained and eroding peatlands; coastal towns and villages deserted in the wake of rising sea level and coastal erosion; massive areas of forestry afflicted by disease; a dearth of people in rural areas; and no birdsong,” she told the Royal Society of Edinburgh on Thursday evening. Osowska also said current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant global heating of 1.5C was almost inevitable, requiring adaptation in the way people lived. “We are entering a climate which may not be capable of sustaining the planet’s billions of people and nature as we know it.” To help sustain our planet, goals have been set out in a recent report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a government body that advises the UK and devolved governments on climate policy, which has called on the UK to adopt a target of net zero emissions by 2050, which are cited by Osowska. The CCC said Scotland could achieve net zero by 2045 – a figure that allows some CO2 emissions as long as that carbon is absorbed by other measures – The Guardian