Sugar and coffee production could be cut in half by the climate crisis, while wheat yields could skyrocket, new research shows.
A report by the Stockholm Environment Institute concludes that climate risks to global trade in major agricultural commodities pose a serious global challenge.
The researchers found that the overall yield of sugar could decrease globally by 58.5%, while that of coffee is expected to fall by 45.2%.
However, wheat production could potentially increase by 13.9% globally due to warming 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 RCTs through foreign imports and can be major sources of risk for others who depend on their exports for their food security.
Lead author Kevin M Adams said: “When climate change threatens agricultural production around the world, countries may unintentionally import or export these risks to their trading partners.
“As we have seen with Covid-19, international trade and supply chains connect our countries and communities over great distances, for better or for worse.
“As we anticipate increased impacts from climate change, the global community must come together to ensure market stability and enable the purchase of food at affordable prices, or risk social upheaval and new geopolitical challenges. “
The United States, China and Brazil are significant sources of climate risk for global commodity markets, according to research. This is particularly problematic for importers who depend on this trade for food security or other economic activities.
Key examples include countries in Central and Latin America and the Caribbean that depend on US imports and countries in Asia and Africa that import food from China. Small island developing states and globally integrated small countries like Singapore and Sweden are also particularly vulnerable.
In contrast, Russia, a major commodity exporter, may experience increased agricultural production due to climate change, including corn, soybeans and rice, although often not enough to offset risks elsewhere.