NEAL KENY-GUYER, PORTLAND, ORE. (New York Times - Opinion)
The world is facing one of the largest food crises in more than 70 years, and climate change is only making it worse. Between 2030 and 2050, climate change could kill an additional 250,000 people every year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.
Three out of four people on earth rely on agriculture and natural resources to survive. For these people the effects of climate change — jeopardized water and food sources and increased competition for them — are a matter of life and death.
We must address the urgent effects of climate change through a combination of international action, national policies and strong local programs to build stronger, more resilient and more peaceful communities.
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In the winter of 2013-2014, the state suffered its worst drought since records started being kept in 1886. Over the last 30 years, droughts have been getting more severe and years of water surplus rarer. Both the abundance of precipitation and its seasonality have been changing for the worse.
The California we know is the breadbasket of the nation, producing more than two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts, including almonds, pistachios, oranges, apricots, nectarines and prunes, and more than a third of its vegetables, including artichokes, broccoli, spinach and carrots. It's all valued at more than $50 billion a year.
That's the assessment of a recent paper by a University of California team led by Tapan Pathak of UC Merced. But the researchers focused on a different aspect of California agriculture: You can kiss much of it goodbye because of climate change.
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