Sugar and coffee yields slashed by climate change

Sugar and coffee yields slashed by climate change
Countries in Europe and North America are both highly exposed to food production threats

Sugar and coffee production could be halved by the climate crisis, while wheat yields could soar, according to new research.

A report from Stockholm Environment Institute concludes the climate risks to global trade in major agricultural commodities presents a serious global challenge.

Researchers found sugar’s overall yield could decrease globally by 58.5 per cent, while coffee is expected to drop by 45.2 per cent.

Wheat production, however, could potentially increase by 13.9 per cent globally as a result of warmer temperatures.

The results suggest that all countries are exposed to transboundary climate risks (TCRs), regardless of development, power, or wealth. Countries in Europe and North America are both highly exposed to TCRs through foreign imports and can be major sources of risk for others who depend on their exports for food security.

Kevin M Adams, lead author, said: “Where climate change threatens agricultural production around the globe, countries can unwittingly import or export those risks to their trading partners.

“As we have seen with Covid-19, international trade and supply chains link our countries and communities together across great distances, for better and for worse.

“As we anticipate increased impacts due to climate change, the global community needs to come together to assure market stability and allow food to be purchased at affordable prices, or risk social upheaval and new geopolitical challenges. ”

The US, China, and Brazil are significant sources of climate risk for global commodity markets, the research found. This is particularly problematic for importers that depend on that trade for food security or other economic activity.

Key examples include countries in Central and Latin America and the Caribbean that depend on US imports and countries in Asia and Africa who import food from China. Small Island Developing States and small globally integrated countries like Singapore and Sweden are also especially vulnerable.

In contrast, Russia, a large commodity exporter, may experience increased agricultural production due to climate change, including corn, soy and rice, though often not enough to offset risks elsewhere.