PARIS – AFP: As much of Europe experiences its third heat wave since June, fears are growing that global warming (global warming) could lead to severe droughts leading to collapse in countries considered the continent’s sinkholes (food sinks). Larger crops and thus the cost of living aggravate the crisis.
Yesterday, the European Commission urged EU member states to reuse treated urban wastewater on farms after France and parts of the United Kingdom recorded their driest month in July.
In France, severe drought has affected farmers and led to restrictions on fresh water use, with just 9.7 millimeters of rainfall last month, according to Meteo France.
This represents an 84% decline from July’s average rate between 1991 and 2022, making it the driest month since March 1961.
Farmers report difficulty in providing fodder for livestock due to dry pastures, while irrigation has been largely blocked due to water shortages in the northwest and southeast.
Environment Minister Christophe Picchu said rain in July was “only 12% of what we need”.
France is the world’s fourth largest wheat exporter and one of the five largest maize exporters. Poor harvests due to drought could increase pressure on grain supplies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a global shock to the sector.
“Our food system has been under pressure for some time and things have been made worse by supply problems from Ukraine,” said Shuro Dasgupta, environmental economist at the Euro-Mediterranean Climate Change Centre.
“Heat waves accompanied by drought will accelerate crop failure,” he added. Extreme heat waves caused by climate warming are also contributing to higher food prices for consumers and more difficult conditions for producers, he said.
“Droughts and heat waves have consequences on the livelihoods of individuals,” he explained. People’s ability to buy food will be less. “During heat waves, outdoor workers can work fewer hours, which has a ripple effect on supply,” he said.
Britain’s Met Office, the Met Office, said earlier this week that July was the driest month on record in southern and eastern England so far.
Some water providers announced rationing to millions of people, while vegetable and fruit growers reported crop losses, particularly in cereals and cranberries.
Inflation in the UK hit a forty-year high in June. Due to rising fuel and food prices.
Elizabeth Robinson, director of the Grantham Institute for Research on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said skyrocketing food prices due to heat losses in Europe and the United Kingdom “is a sign that food is not working for people . . .” ».
“There have to be hard long-term discussions, especially about food waste and the transfer of grains from humans to animals,” he said.
In Spain, which has been hit by drought due to long heatwaves, temperatures will exceed forty degrees Celsius in many areas this week.
The heat is exacerbating water shortages, a problem that has plagued Spanish agriculture since last winter, affecting water supplies in most of the affected areas.
Spain’s reservoirs are only 40.4 percent full of their capacity, the government said this week.
Juan Carlos Hervas of the Guaque Farmers Association told AFP that olive yields from non-irrigated lands in Spain would be 20% lower than the average harvest over the past five years.
Spain supplies half of the world’s olive oil.
Portugal’s environment minister, José Duarte Cordero, said last month his country was “experiencing the worst drought of this century” with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.
Portugal, along with Poland, has asked its citizens to reduce water use to ease the pressure.
“Water authorities in Europe are unwilling to face what scientists have been warning for three decades,” Dasgupta said. High frequency of heat waves can negatively affect water supply.
The European Commission said in an updated assessment last month that 44% of EU and UK regions were experiencing “alert” levels of drought.
He warned that many countries, including France, Romania, Spain, Portugal and Italy, could see crop losses in 2022 due to extremely low soil moisture.
Another European note last month indicated that EU yields of soybeans, sunflowers and maize were 9% below average.
The European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Vigenigos Sinkevicius, urged EU countries to reuse large amounts of treated wastewater.
“We must stop wasting water and use this resource more effectively to adapt to climate change and ensure continuous supply to our agriculture sector,” he added.
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