New population projections from the UN and PRB have reminded us that we are still a long way from the peak of population growth. The UN thinks we could have 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11 billion people (4 billion more than we have right now) by the end of this century, and PRB thinks we could have 9.8 billion by mid-century (2.5 billion more than at present). How are we going to feed these people? A group of researchers in the UK has been looking for answers and, as BBCNews notes, the conclusion is that the future is a bit risky on this score.
Climate change is increasing the risk of severe 'food shocks' where crops fail and prices of staples rise rapidly around the world.
Researchers say extreme weather events that impact food production could be happening in seven years out of ten by the end of this century.
The authors argue that an over reliance on global trade may make these production shocks worse.
The impacts are most likely to be felt across Africa and the Middle East.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation says that increasing population will drive demand for food up by 60% by 2050 in any case, so there is going to be significant pressure on food production.In a separate but closely related study, global warming has been blamed for making the drought in California even worse than it would otherwise be. Perhaps the only good news for the world this week was that China may not be polluting the atmosphere quite as bad as earlier estimates had suggested. It is still the world's biggest polluter, though (with the US a close second). The sooner we transition to renewable solar and wind energy, the more likely it is that we can sustainably feed the expected new billions of people.