Climate Change, Food, and Wildfires

by Jay Kimball on 06 August 2010

Price of WheatAn article in the New York Times (Russia, Crippled by Drought, Bans Grain Exports) details Russia’s struggle with severe drought. Though any particular instance of drought can’t be directly linked to climate change and global warming, the world is warming, and instances of drought and associated wildfires, water shortages and crop loss are trending up.

The article highlights the tight coupling between food, water, and a warming world. It also shows how one countries problem affects us all, for example, Russia’s ban on grain exports has doubled the price of wheat worldwide.

For more on climate change and impact on food, see:

NOAA: June, April to June, and Year-to-Date Global Temperatures are Warmest on Record

State of the Climate: Hottest Decade on Record

Water Scarcity in the US

Climate Change May Reduce Protein in Crops

Highlights of the article – Russia, Crippled by Drought, Bans Grain Exports

  • Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday banned all exports of grain after millions of acres of Russian wheat withered in a severe drought, driving up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States.
  • Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record-keeping began here more than 130 years ago.
  • The export ban was widely seen as one of a series of populist moves by Mr. Putin to address rising resentment over the calamitous heat wave and the fires it has spawned.
  • Wheat prices have soared by about 90 percent since June because of the drought in Russia and parts of the European Union, as well as floods in Canada, and the ban pushed prices even higher. Exports from Ukraine, another major exporter, are down sharply this year.

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