More than a fifth of grocery items are at risk from climate breakdown, a new report has claimed, naming bananas, grapes, avocados, cashews, cocoa, peas, canned tuna and tea among the items expected in coming years, saying it is increasingly becoming harder to predict the weather.
According to charity Christian Aid, consumers could also face shortages of these items as the countries they come from are hit by changing weather patterns because of CO2 emissions. Of the 25 biggest food exporters to the UK, eight – Brazil, South Africa, India, Vietnam, Peru, Colombia, Ivory Coast and Kenya – faced high climate vulnerability, according to research by the charity. It found 22 per cent of the items in a typical British grocery shop were at risk.
Global heating would mean more harvest-destroying extreme weather events, researchers say, leaving consumers facing further shortages and long-term prices rises.
“The UK may be an island but in an ever more interconnected world we cannot escape the damage caused by climate change,” said Patrick Watt, chief executive of Christian Aid.
“Our record on carbon emissions has helped cause the climate crisis. Farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries are now struggling to cope with droughts, storms and rising temperatures.
“The climate crisis is increasingly disrupting the supply chains of the food in British shopping baskets and risks adding to the cost-of-living crisis. The case for action has never been clearer. The UK government must work with others to provide the financial support needed to help vulnerable communities adapt to a fast-changing climate.”
It comes weeks after the UK government’s five-year adaptation plan warned that climate change threatened the UK’s national security and food supplies.
Last month National Farmers Union President, Minette Batters, highlighted that climate change was causing havoc with food supplies.
She said: “I have never known such volatility in the global food system. Climate change is wreaking havoc on food production across the world, with farmers in Southern Europe literally fighting fires while farmers here are despairing as they now must spend thousands of pounds to dry sodden grain.”
The report comes after the UN warned the world may tip over the 1.5 degree Celsius warming limit agreed by governments in the coming years, which experts reckon will lead to a spate of more serious extreme weather events.