Effect on Crops

Increased CO2 levels and a warmer climate can have a positive effect on plant productivity in some in some mid- to high latitudes regions of the world. Because the impact depends on the latitude, the effect of low to moderate global warming on crops can be very different for developed versus the developing nations. (Industrialized countries that are able to quickly adapt to the climatic change would be relatively little affected, and are likely to enjoy increased crop yield.) This is likely a result of increased metabolism of cultivars as well as changes in life cycles of common pest species due to warmer conditions. But a decrease in productivity, unpredictable climates, and altered farming cycles can adversely impact food production in other regions. Indirect impact of climate change on pollinating insects is also a concern, With about 80% of the about 1300 crop species cultivated worldwide being insect-pollinated, any change in the insect ecology can negatively affect agriculture and therefore the worlds food supply.

A large volume of information has been published on the climate forcing and global warming. The scope of this volume does not permit a comprehensive discussion of this interesting topic. The various reports of the IPCC (2001) [11] will provide a good starting point for readers interested in a more detailed study of global warming. The Panel in their latest report identified the most effective short-term mitigation strategy to be limiting the emission of greenhouse gases. Stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at even 450 ppm would require the global anthropogenic CO2 emissions to drop below year 1990 levels within a few decades, and continue to decrease steadily thereafter to a small fraction of current emissions.

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