It’s not just about plants and animals. It’s about our food.
This is the main takeaway of the Agriculture Chapter of President Barack Obama’s National Climate Assessment released last year.
“We find that in the near term there are some positive effects of climate change,” says Gene Takle, convening lead author of the chapter, in this video by The Story Group. “However as we look longer into the future, we see that most changes are going to be negative on agriculture.”
Those changes include lower-weight animals, reduced milk and egg production, and compromised immunity in plants, among other factors that could influence food quality and availability. The latter in particular could open up crops to disease and infestation, Takle says.
“One of the things we’re finding is that with the increase in temperature and particularly the rain events, is that we’re having higher humidity,” Takle says. “The higher humidity generally favors pests, insects, fungus and diseases and mold, and so on.”
So, while on the surface we are talking about non-human living things, it’s important to see how those lives are connected to ours, he notes.
“This isn’t just about plants and animals,” he says. “It’s about people, it’s about societies. It’s a disruption to the whole socioeconomic system.”