"Extreme Weather Drives Up Food Prices"

"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization announced this week that food prices hit a record high last month. Its Food Price Index was 214.7 for December, the highest level since the organization created the index to measure the price of a standard basket of goods in 1990.

Some environmental groups are attributing this partly to an increase in extreme weather events that many scientists say are probably associated with global warming.

OxfamAmerica said that a 'major contributor' to this price surge has been the disastrous effect of extreme weather events on harvests of certain crops. 'The record rise in food prices is a grave reminder that until we act on the underlying causes of hunger and climate change, we will find ourselves perpetually on the knife’s edge of disaster,' said Gawain Kripke, policy director for the organization.

This summer, for example, Russian wheat crops were devastated by a season of unusual drought and wildfire. Pakistan’s crop yields were reduced because of floods. In Laos and Cambodia, food production was compromised by 'delayed and erratic rains,' the Food and Agriculture Organization said."

Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times' Green blog January 5, 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011