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Act decisively to save world's rice bowl

Published on Apr 9, 2014 7:08 AM

SOUTH-EAST Asia is a breadbasket and rich also in sea bounty. But the region happens to lie in a swathe across the Equator that is vulnerable to the forces of climate change, inducing a future global food scarcity.

According to the United Nations climate panel and the World Resources Institute, cool temperate regions of moderate populations and ample food production will not escape these effects, either. Raised temperatures will set off a chain reaction of floods and drought that will destroy low-lying fertile plains while yields in higher altitudes will be reduced.

Aside from the sub-Saharan hard-luck case of poor soils and low rainfall, food availability will be down sharply in southern Europe, Australia and North America, as much as in China, the Indian subcontinent and West Asia.

Studies ordered by the World Bank found that China, which is short of water and arable land, could lose up to 40 per cent of its food production and India, about 25 per cent, if the planet warmed by just 2 deg C.

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