5 votes

How long do we have left, exactly, until climate change affects our global food supply?

I'm not very knowledgeable about this stuff. How long do we have left, like, 10-15 years at the most?

10 comments

  1. [5]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    How long until what? How long until we reach 1° of global heating? 1.5° of global heating? 2°? Until we can't prevent 1.5° of global warming? Until we can't prevent 2° of global warming? Until we...

    How long until what? How long until we reach 1° of global heating? 1.5° of global heating? 2°? Until we can't prevent 1.5° of global warming? Until we can't prevent 2° of global warming? Until we face severe disruptions? Until the weather changes? Until sea levels rise by 5cm, 25cm, 50cm?

    It's a very vague question.

    In some cases, we have no time left - we might have already passed whatever milestone you're thinking of. In some cases, we have eternity (e.g. the human race won't go extinct). But there's a lot of "how long" answers between "nothing" and "forever".

    What are you trying to learn?

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      fiddledeedee
      Link Parent
      Until the death of billions in the global south due to the scarcity of food and water, for one

      Until the death of billions in the global south due to the scarcity of food and water, for one

      1. Loire
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's nearly impossible to make this specific of a prediction. Even assuming billions will just keel over and die is impossible to predict. We have the technologies not only to reach net zero...

        It's nearly impossible to make this specific of a prediction. Even assuming billions will just keel over and die is impossible to predict.

        We have the technologies not only to reach net zero emissions but to reach negative emissions. We have the capability to absorb GHG from the atmosphere right now. We have the ability to geoengineer right now. There is 1.3 billion km² of water in the ocean and we have the technology to make it drinkable. Millions of acres of arable land wasted on livestock that could grow grain and produce to feed billions. The issue is one of both profitability and political will. When the proverbial shit hits the fan are we still going to be quibbling over profit margins? Probably not.

        The small bright spot of human ingenuity is that we have faced catastrophe over and over again, even climate catastrophe, and we have constantly engineered our way out of it. That is not to say that we are guaranteed to find our courage in time for this particular catastrophe, nor does it mean millions of people won't die but predicting that whole billions of people will die without us taking serious action is a particularely alarmist prediction.

        Edit: Don't get yourself so down as to think nothing is happening. The change is in motion, it has momentum and it cannot be stopped. Since 2000, non-hydroelectric renewable energy has gone from less than 5% to 17% of energy in the United States. In Texas, oil addicted Texas, wind generation makes up 18% of the produced energy. EV market share is accelerating. Investors are (were* prior to this stock market crash) abandoning oil for renewable companies.

        It's happening. It needed to happen a little sooner and a little faster, and so we are still going to suffer some repercussions but it is happening. It's not all doom and gloom.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Thanks. I've fixed your title to reflect what you're asking.

        Thanks. I've fixed your title to reflect what you're asking.

  2. mrbig
    Link
    I recently tried to find global warming simulations for a science fiction story. There are none. It turns out that the entire Earth is too big of a system for scientists to make accurate...

    I recently tried to find global warming simulations for a science fiction story. There are none. It turns out that the entire Earth is too big of a system for scientists to make accurate predictions like that. They do know it will happen and have gross estimates, but they don’t know exactly when, where or how.

    And that’s how my fictional world went from hard to mostly soft sci-fi.

    3 votes
  3. [3]
    mrbig
    Link
    Not a complete answer but this book is pretty good: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees:_Our_Future_on_a_Hotter_Planet

    Not a complete answer but this book is pretty good: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees:_Our_Future_on_a_Hotter_Planet

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      fiddledeedee
      Link Parent
      Thanks

      Thanks

      1 vote
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        Do notice that, while a good book, the author is a journalist. It contains some of his best, better informed guesses. He can do that as a journalist, and it’s awesome, but actual reputable...

        Do notice that, while a good book, the author is a journalist. It contains some of his best, better informed guesses. He can do that as a journalist, and it’s awesome, but actual reputable scientists would be wary of this kind of prediction.

        It may also be outdated.

  4. Rez
    Link
    It depends on what you mean by "affects", because it already has. For example, cocoa bean farming has already been negatively affected due to climate change. If you're talking about mass...

    It depends on what you mean by "affects", because it already has. For example, cocoa bean farming has already been negatively affected due to climate change. If you're talking about mass starvation, that's much more of a political problem that is dependent on the choices we make, short of the Earth simply becoming uninhabitable for us. Even before the modern era, starvation was usually a political issue caused by poor or selfish leadership - e.g. not saving surpluses, and otherwise trading it away while not caring for the lower class. Lost crops have always been something we've had to deal with, and we're more immune to the weather than ever before in that respect in terms of making sure we can have enough to eat. You may not have thousands of unique items on the shelves and we would have staples constitute more of our diet, but we would survive.

    Even today, starvation remains a matter of politics, and we otherwise have enough food to feed everyone on the world, e.g. we can't get donated food to needy people in some areas because local rulers will take it to maintain their power. And the food shortages at the grocery stores are due to panic and hoarders, not because we don't have enough food to feed everyone. It's simply a matter of grocery stores only having so much shelf space and in the normal course of things they quickly refresh the stock of anything bought. If you've made a few trips by now, you might notice that the shelves are getting refilled and there's no alarms going off saying we will run out of food. Now you may not be able to get toilet paper, cheap steaks or certain specialty/branded items, but you're able to eat.