Thursday, August 03, 2017
Climate Watch: "Carbon Dioxide May Rob Crops Of Nutrition, Leaving Millions At Risk"
Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition.
A 2014 study showed that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are likely to put a dent in the protein, iron and zinc content of rice, wheat, peas and other food crops. Samuel Myers, an environmental health researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health, was the lead author on that study.
This time, Myers and his colleagues wanted to quantify what those changes might mean for people around the world. To do this, they built a new database detailing the foods people in each country eat and the nutrient content of those foods. The database lists the "per capita consumption of 225 foods for 152 different countries." It also accounts for differences in diets in each country based on age and gender.
The database allowed them to calculate the number of people within each country that aren't getting enough of certain nutrients. They could then project changes in the protein and iron content of their diets through 2050. Their results appear in two new studies published Wednesday. Read More
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