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Sierra Daily

May 06, 2011

More Hungry Mouths to Feed

  20110503_POPULATION_graphic-popup-v3    This week the United Nations released a depressing report: Rather than levelling off at 9 billion, the world's population is now expected to grow to 10.1 billion by the end of the century. How we will manage to feed so many mouths is once again a matter of top concern. Vastly complicating the matter is this other tidbit from the week: A study from the journal Science that documents how climate change is already raising the price of food around the world. Over the last three decades, climate change has cut yields of wheat and corn by more than 3 percent of what had been expected, resulting in 20 percent higher commodity prices. Worst affected has been Russia, where the wheat crop has been 15 percent lower than expected. Unlike rapidly growing Africa and Asia, however, Russia's population is in serious decline--so much so that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that he's investing 1.5 trillion rubles (c. $53 billion dollars) in efforts to boost Mother Russia's birthrate.

--Paul Rauber

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