Thursday, July 26, 2012

drought and the economy...,



forbes | The effects of the vast drought afflicting America’s farm belt are rippling across the economy. Major companies apparently feeling the heat from rising crop prices include McDonald’s, Smithfield Foods and Arthur Daniels Midland, which processes agricultural commodities.

More than half of the nation’s pasture and rangeland is now plagued by drought – the largest natural disaster area in U.S. history. And with corn prices soaring as crops wither, other sectors are nervously watching the weather forecasts and assessing potential impacts on their business. For example:
The Climate Connection
But perhaps the most sobering implication of this agricultural crisis is what it heralds for the long-term health of our economy.

Unlike the reaction to the recent searing heat wave, the mainstream media has largely ignored a possible climate connection to America’s worst drought since 1956. While this particular drought could turn out to be due to several factors, (such as a second winter of La NiƱa), we know the afflicted region will look increasingly as it does today in a warmer world.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program, for example, has projected more frequent and severe droughts across much of the United States. Their forecast for the Great Plains region, 70 percent of which is farmland, is dire: increasing temperatures and evaporation rates and more sustained drought, furthering stressing already overstrained water resources.

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