Diet may be impacted by climate change

Agriculture and food production contribute up to 29% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a compilation of research by the respected Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.

According to the research, production of the most common commodity staples—wheat, maize and rice—will be challenged by new weather patterns. Raising livestock and catching fish and other aquatic products—two of the more common sources of protein—will also be challenged by a new climate. In some areas, different plants, breeds and species can provide substitutions, but in others, adaptation is critical. Adjustments in production, replacement with commodities that can tolerate the new conditions in different regions, and innovations in technology are key elements of adaptation. This recalibration of agriculture will eventually extend beyond what is grown and raised. The world’s many cultures must adapt to the changing dinner menu forced upon them due to climate change.

While CGIAR’s work is focused on developing countries, disruption to global food commodity markets caused by climate change may have impacts around the world. As examples of dietary changes that may be forced upon a warming world, CGIAR states that banana products may replace much of the global potato consumption, cassava could substitute for wheat, and cowpeas could substitute for soybeans. In southern Africa goats are already substituting to some extent for cattle.

Key links to the research, published in the Annual Review of Environment and Resources, are available at

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