Climate change, rising CO2 level may reduce protein, iron, zinc in food crops by 2050: Study

NEW DELHI: Critical nutrients such as protein, iron and zinc in food crops could reduce significantly by 2050 due to climate change and rising carbon dioxide level, a new study has revealed.

A report based on a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has said that over the next 30 years, climate change and increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can impact the presence of nutrients in crops such as rice, maize, barley, potatoes, soybeans, and several vegetables.

“The total impact of climate change shocks and elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are estimated to reduce growth in global per capita nutrient availability of protein, iron, and zinc by 19.5 per cent, 14.4 per cent, and 14.6 per cent respectively. In South Asia, iron and zinc availability is projected to be even below recommended levels,” it said.

The study finds that wheat, rice, maize, barley, potatoes, soybeans, and vegetables are all projected to suffer nutrient loss of about three per cent on average by 2050 due to elevated carbon dioxide concentration.

It said the effects are not likely to be felt evenly around the world and many countries currently experiencing high levels of nutrient deficiency are also projected to be more affected by lower nutrient availability in the future.

“Nutrient reductions are projected to be particularly severe in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa south of the Sahara, North Africa, and the former Soviet Union regions largely comprised of low and middle-income countries where levels of undernutrition are generally higher and diets are more vulnerable to direct impacts of changes in temperature and precipitation triggered by climate change,” the study said. (AGENCIES)