Could a 2 degree global temperature rise cut Chinese food production 38% in 25 years?

London-based Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer wrote on March 4, 3013 about unpublished World Bank commissioned reports on how much food production could drop when the average global temperature has risen by 2°C, probably in about 25 years. The director of an important think tank in a major country told him that the report on China stated it would lose 38% of its food production. He noted: “The reports were not circulated, but a summary had apparently been posted on the Chinese think tank’s website for a few hours by a rogue researcher before being taken down.”

Dyer says the World Bank has not circulated or published these reports, but thinks they were likely commissioned by Sir Robert Watson, a British scientist who was the director of the environment department at the World Bank at the same time that he was the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Experts estimate that world food yields would drop 5-15% for every degree Celsius of temperature rise, although this would vary widely from country to country and crop to crop.

A loss of almost two-fifths of its food production would cause huge social and political upheavals in any country. No government responsible for this would likely survive. If the Chinese government thinks this is possible, it is undoubtedly looking at all options to avoid it, including carbon taxes.

With China holding $1.1 trillion in U.S. Treasury debt of $16 trillion, and exporting $400 billion to the US annually, Chinese upheaval would have a significant impact on the US economy. The US government is unlikely to impose carbon taxes as it would raise production costs, slow growth and be political suicide, not to mention undercutting the fossil fuel industry on which the US’ unsustainable consumption is dependent.

Read Dyer’s article

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