ScienceDaily (July 4, 2012) — UK consumers could face dramatically reduced food choices in the future unless much more is done to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a hard-hitting University of Manchester report warns.
The Sustainable Consumption Institute research claims food which families now take for granted, such as meat and fresh vegetables, could become too expensive for many if global temperatures rise in line with the current trends and reach 4°C within the lifetime of many people.
Even if families continue to take steps to lower their carbon emissions from energy use, global farming emissions will continue to rise because of our growing appetite for energy-intensive foods and a rising demand to meet just basic living standards across the world.
Only by reducing consumption of energy, food, goods and services can we have a good chance of minimising the harmful effects of global warming, the report warns.
Should the temperature rise above 2°C, consumers could find their shopping habits are radically altered. Most meats would soar in price, meaning families could have to adapt to a meat-free diets, the possibility of failing crops and staple food sources such as rice and wheat potentially being be devastated.
Globally, where non-carbon emissions such as those produced by agriculture make up around a quarter of total emissions -- compared to around 10% in the UK -- the picture is even more stark. Rice crops, for example, could be reduced by about 30% in the subcontinent in a '4°C' world, leading to potential food shortages and hunger.