Global warming could hurt pasta industry
Wheat is especially vulnerable to rising temperatures, leading to grim forecasts about the world's production over the next several decades.
Here's how it would play out, writes Mark Hertsgaard: Pasta is mainly made from wheat, and scientists say the world's wheat crop will suffer tremendously with rising temperatures and droughts brought on by global warming.
Of the three grains that make up the foundation of human diets -- wheat, corn and rice -- wheat is the most sensitive to high temperatures, Hertsgaard writes. "Wheat is a cool-season crop. High temperatures are negative for its growth and quality, no doubt about it," Frank Manthey, a professor at North Dakota State University, tells the magazine.
Scientific forecasts say that countries in the world's wheat belts will start seeing hotter summers than anything on record. From now through 2050, wheat production could fall by 23% to 27%.
We got a glimpse of what could happen this year, when U.S. crops withered under the worst drought in 50 years. Corn production plunged, causing prices to skyrocket. Cattle herds were the smallest in 39 years and beef prices were at record levels. Fast-food chains raised prices, and experts said food could cost as much as 4% more next year.
The most sensitive type of wheat is durum, Hertsgaard writes. It doesn't thrive under too much or too little rain, and it needs cooler temperatures to grow.
Food companies are already taking notice. Barilla says it's creating new types of wheat that can handle extremely dry or wet weather. Farmers are testing new sustainable techniques.
It sounds a little shrill to decry the end of pasta, but there is some merit to this story. The world's weather patterns are changing, and that will impact crops. Pasta -- and bread, for that matter -- will see some changes ahead.
More from Money Now
- Fed promises low rates until job picture improves
- What do right-to-work laws actually do?
- The fiscal cliff is the biggest Grinch of all
Not True, North Pole is Melting BUT The South Pole is Getting Larger.
Because the Earth has Turned on it's Axes a Certain Degree.
Read that about Six Months. I was not the Brightest Star in School But I called it years ago.
Funny and I didn't even go to College, OH , Forgot don't teach that in College .
Just teach you Liberalism.
A very interesting point of view on this issue is presented by the Bjorn Lomborg in “The End of Pasta?” () . He sets a variety of arguments that undermine the presented seriousness of the situation. According to this article, wheat production has been rising, instead of falling over the last decades. Next, CO2, the substance in the atmosphere that has been taken as one of the main causes of GW, is actually a great fertilizer of crops. Finally, he claims that farmers will adapt one way or another.
Although “Global warming could hurt pasta industry” draws a rather unpleasant future for our diets, the situation might not be as tragic as it may seem. Farming technologies are extremely likely to be significantly up-graded in the next centuries. The possibilities of science have often proved to be underestimated, before great discoveries and creations have been made. That said, wheat will certainly be saved from extinction by the flexible scientists.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages posted solid gains ahead of tomorrow's policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 rallied 0.8%, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) could not keep pace with the benchmark index.
Equity indices hovered near their flat lines during the first two hours of action, but surged in reaction to reports from the Wall Street Journal concerning tomorrow's FOMC statement. Specifically, Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath indicated that the statement ... More
More Market News
An interest rate tease in The Wall Street Journal sends the market into an optimistic tizzy -- but one that doesn't end quite at the top.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'