General medicine

The the study find that the biggest challenges to reducing hunger and under nutrition around the world is to produce foods that provide not only enough calories but also make enough necessary nutrients widely available. New research finds that; over the next 30 years, climate change and increasing carbon dioxide (CO2); could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients such as protein, iron, and zinc; compared to a future without it.

Hunger and under nutrition

The total impacts of climate change shocks and elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are estimated to reduce growth in global per capital nutrient availability of protein, iron, and zinc by 19.5%, 14.4%, and 14.6%, respectively. They made a lot of progress reducing under nutrition around the world recently but global population ; growth over the next 30 years will require increasing the production of foods that provide sufficient nutrients.

These findings suggest that climate change could slow progress on improvements in global nutrition by simply making key nutrients less available than they would be without it”. Timothy Sulser; senior scientist at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and study co-author The study; “A modeling approach combining elevated atmospheric CO2 effects on protein; iron and zinc availability with projected climate change impacts on global diets;” is co-author by an international group of researchers and publish in the peer-review journal; Lancet Planetary Health.

Projected climate change

The study represents the most comprehensive synthesis of the impacts of elevated CO2 and climate change on the availability of nutrients in the global food supply to date. Using the IMPACT global agriculture sector model along with data from the Global Expanded Nutrient Supply (GENuS) model and two data sets on the effects of CO2 on nutrient content in crops; researchers projected per capita availability of protein; iron, and zinc out to 2050.

Improvements in technology, and markets effects are project to increase nutrient availability over current levels by 2050; but these gains are substantially diminished by the negative impacts of rising concentrations of carbon dioxide. While higher levels of CO2 can boost photosynthesis and growth in some plants; previous research has also found they reduce the concentration of key micronutrients in crops.  The new study finds that wheat, rice, maize, barley, potatoes, soybeans; and vegetables are all projected to suffer nutrient losses of about 3% on average by 2050 due to elevated CO2 concentration.

Photosynthesis and growth

The effects are not likely to be felt evenly around the world, however; and many countries currently experiencing high levels of nutrient deficiency are also project to be more affected by lower nutrient availability in the future. Nutrient reductions are project to be particularly severe in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa South of the Sahara; North Africa; and the former Soviet Union regions largely comprised of low- and middle-income countries where levels of under nutrition are generally higher and diets are more vulnerable to direct impacts of changes in temperature and precipitation triggered by climate change.