Monday, June 16, 2014

Climate Change Threatens Almighty U.S. ‘King Corn’

Heat waves and water shortages could devastate U.S. farmlands devoted to corn crop, a report warns. (Credit: Jane/flickr) Click to enlarge.
The days of "king corn" could be numbered as climate change brings higher temperatures and water shortages to America's farmland, a new report warned on Wednesday.

Nearly one-third of U.S. farmland is devoted to raising corn and the country produces about 40 percent of the world's corn crop.  But the $1.7 trillion industry – the equivalent of Australia's GDP – is under threat from water shortages, heat waves and unpredictable rainfall caused by climate change.

"Corn is an essential input to our economy, and climate change, water scarcity and pollution are a critical threat to that sector going forward," said Brooke Barton, director of the water program at the Ceres green investor network and author of the report.

The report amplifies warnings earlier this year from United Nations climate scientists and the National Climate Assessment that America's agricultural industry – and specifically its corn crop – was at risk from the high temperatures and water shortages anticipated under climate change.

In the case of corn, however, there are potentially trillions at stake because the industry now touches on almost every aspect of the American economy.

Corn production has doubled over the past 20 years and on its own was worth $65 billion last year.  But corn supplies a vast spread of industries.  The 45 largest companies in the corn production chain together account for about $1.7 trillion in earnings, the report said.

Climate Change Threatens Almighty U.S. ‘King Corn’

No comments:

Post a Comment