Red Green and Blue] Roughly 25% of all of the food currently eaten in the world is traded on international markets. Owing to this reality, and the accompanying reliance on a relatively small number of important deep-water seaports, roads, and straits — so-called “choke points” — climate change threatens to greatly disrupt international food supply chains in coming years, according to a new report from the UK-based think tank Chatham House.
In other words, these “chokepoints” are places where even relatively
minor and local climate disruption may lead to huge problems with regard
to food supplies and pricing in some regions and countries.
“The risks are growing as we all trade more with each other and as
climate change takes hold,” commented one of the report’s authors, Laura
Climate Central provides
more: “About 20 percent of global wheat exports, for example, transit
via the Turkish Straits, while more than 25 percent of soybean exports
is shipped across the Straits of Malacca.
“But infrastructure at these junctures is often old and ill-suited to
cope with natural disasters, which are expected to increase in
frequency as the planet warms, said Wellesley.
“Roads in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of soy bean, for
instance, were exposed to the risk of flooding and landslides caused by
heavy rains, while US Gulf Coast ports could suffer more storm surges
boosted by rising seas, she said. That posed risks for the food security
of importing countries and the economies of those exporting food, she
Something else that should be taken into consideration here is that
impacts to the global food trade can (and likely will) come indirectly
as well, not just because of the effects of climatic instability on
infrastructure. The geopolitical and social problems that will accompany
worsening climate change will, in other words, themselves lead to
global food supply problems.