The effects of climate change on agriculture and the food chain could cause more than half a million deaths in adults in the year 2050, according to a study published today in The Lancet.
Researchers at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) warn that global warming will reduce the productivity of crops, which will affect the diet of millions of people.
"Our results show that even a modest reduction in the availability of certain foods per person can trigger changes in the composition and amount of energy of diets, and these changes will have serious consequences for health," warns Marco Springmann, lead author of the study .
Global warming will affect the ease of producing and consuming products such as fruits and vegetables, as well as red meat, according to scientists, which could "increase the incidence of non-contagious diseases such as heart disease, strokes and cancer," he says. Springmann.
CO2 = less food per person
According to their calculations, if measures are not taken to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, climate change will lead to a reduction in food availability of 3.2% per person, which corresponds to about 99 kilocalories per day.
The intake of fruits and vegetables could be reduced by 14.9 grams per day - 4% - and that of red meat by 0.5 grams per day - 0.7% -.
On the contrary, if emissions are reduced and the harmful effects of climate change are avoided, the model with which the researchers have worked predicts that the availability of food will increase and about 1.9 million deaths can be prevented. in 2050.
By country, the poor are the most affected
The countries most affected by the lack of crop productivity will be those with low- and middle-income populations, especially in the eastern Pacific and Southeast Asian regions.
About three-quarters of deaths that could occur from dietary changes are expected in China (248,000) and India (136,000).
In relative terms, Greece is one of the worst affected countries in the world, with 124 deaths per million predicted inhabitants, while Italy is also at the top of the list with 89 deaths per million people.
Spain occupies an intermediate position in that ranking, with 24 deaths per million inhabitants, a figure similar to that of countries such as France (32 deaths per million) and the United Kingdom (25 deaths per million).
In Latin America, Colombia would suffer only 0.33 additional deaths per million inhabitants, Mexico 0.37; Argentina 5.47 and Brazil 24.25.
Photo of rice farming in Vietnam. Climate change is going to affect the world's food.