By Adetokunbo Abiola
In Australia, between 2006 and 2007, the wheat harvest collapsed, as severe drought and heat waves led to great losses in crop harvests, consigning many farmers and others into a situation of economic quagmire.
Heat waves in 2018 led to multiple crop failures and the loss of yields of up to fifty percent in northern and central Europe, which experienced a severe drought across fifty-two percent of the cropland area.
And in China, heat waves and drought also led to economic trouble in the Liaoni Province, as they led to 20-25 percent reductions in maize harvest in 2014, with more than two million hectares of crops affected.
Heat waves and droughts always lead to multiple crop failures and losses of yields in huge percentages, and with the present heat waves pushing up the mercury from China to North Africa and the southern states of the U.S., the global average temperatures reaching 17.18 degrees Celsius, the heat looks likely to lead to negative impacts on global food security in the short and long term.
Obviously, crops benefit from rising temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions, but when they happen through an increase of two degrees Celsius in average global temperature, especially when such crops act like wheat, great challenges occur.
One study estimates that when crops live through an increase of one degree Celsius in global mean temperatures, they experience a six percent reduction in yields, with maize witnessing a 3.2 percent decrease, while wheat could experience a six percent fall in the reduction of the crop.
In still another study, temperature and carbon dioxide emissions affect crops such as maize and soybean when they exist within an increase at elevated levels, as 20 percent of the positive impact of temperatures to soybean production could be lost, while the benefit to wheat could be slashed by 52 percent.
Therefore, crop yields always suffer through increases in one or two degrees Celsius, and with the earth recording one of the hottest days on July 4 due to a dangerous combination of the climate change and the return of the El Nino pattern, food security in the near future could be compromised, if the world continues its business-as-usual approach to cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases.
Due to the drought and heat waves in Kenya, more than two million people needed to survive around 2016, the drought affecting 23 of the nation’s 47 counties, the price of maize dropping by a third in one year, while the production of the crop plunged.
At about the same period in India, millions of people needed to survive the drought and heat waves that occurred around them, as serious food and drinking security concerns led to challenges in places such as Andhra, Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.
An unprecedented drought swept over tropical South America in 2016, when the heat waves extended over the southern parts of the continent during the summer of 2017-2018.
Millions of people needed to recover from the worst drought in decades over portions of Argentina and Uruguay, with the losses from the event estimated to be about $3.9 billion, the most expensive disaster in the history of both Uruguay and Argentina.
Many people needed to recover during the 2025-2016 El Nino-induced drought crisis in southern Africa, when the heat waves swept through Madagascar, Zambia, South Africa, and Mozambique, which saw over 40 percent of its crops lost, and farmers losing more than $600 million through fire in five of South Africa’s nine provinces.
At climate change-induced heat waves, such as the one that led the world to recently record its hottest day in 125,000 years this month, many people would need to recover from the food crisis caused by the temperature rises of one or two degrees Celsius, because they always lead to multiple crop failures and the loss of yields in huge percentages, pushing humans into avoidable disasters.