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Written on December 13, 2009, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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A "perfect storm" of food shortages and water scarcity now threatens to unleash public unrest and conflict in the next 20 years, the government’s chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, has warned, with climate change and crop and animal diseases adding to future woes.
In Britain, a global food shortage would drive up import costs and make food more expensive, just as the nation’s farmers start to feel the impact of disrupted rainfall and rising temperatures caused by climate change. "If we don’t address this, we can expect major destabilisation, an increase in rioting and potentially significant problems with international migration, as people move to avoid food and water shortages," he told a conference earlier this year.

Over the next 40 years Britain’s population will rise from 60 to 75 million while the world’s will leap from 6.8 to 9 billion. Feeding all these people will stretch human ingenuity to its limit. Crop yields will have to jump, a goal that will have to be achieved in the middle of global climatic disruption. At the same time, farmers will find many aids – in particular, chemical fertilisers – that they have come to rely on will no longer be available .

"People do not quite realise the scale of the issue," added Bevan. "This is one of the most serious problems that science has ever faced." In Britain the lives of hundreds of thousands of people will be threatened by food shortages. Across the globe, tens of millions – if not hundreds of millions – will be affected.

"About 40% of crops in Britain are vulnerable to destruction by weeds, fungi and insects," added Dr Tom Hooper, another Rothamsted researcher. "We have got to find sustainable ways to prevent that from happening if we want to maintain and increase food production in future."

Posted via email from Preposterous Guru

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