Back to News
|Climate change could threaten the
pollination of plants and the watering of crops, both of which could
affect food security, according to two studies released this week.
New Canadian research suggests climate change may be causing flowers
to open before bees wake up from hibernation, so the bees don't get
early nectar and the flowers aren't pollinated. The findings could
apply to a wide range of flowering plants such as tomatoes and
"Bee numbers may have declined at our research site, but we suspect
that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open
and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor,"
study author James Thomson, a professor of ecology and evolutionary
biology at the University of Toronto, told the Ottawa- Citizen. He
started studying wildflowers 17 years ago on remote land in
Colorado's Rocky Mountains, measuring their changes three times a
In Stockholm, Sweden, a different report this week reveals how food
security worldwide could be threated by erratic rainfall related to
climate change. Experts meeting there for the World Water Week
conference cite drought in Russia and floods in Pakistan as examples
of unpredictable rainfall.
Africa and Asia are likely to be hardest hit, because most of their
crops are not irrigated, according to the report by the
International Water Management Institute. In Asia, it says, about
66% of agriculture depends on rainfall and in sub-Saharan Africa,
"We are getting to a point where we are getting more water, more
rainy days, but it's more variable, so it leads to droughts and it
leads to floods," Sunita Narain, the head of the Centre for Science
and Environment in India, told Agence France-Presse. "Climate change
is making rainfall even more variable."
Her comments came as Pakistan recovers from devastating floods and
Russia from a record-hot summer and drought that destroyed a quarter
of its crops.
Jan Lundqvist, who chairs the Stockholm International Water
Institute's Scientific Programme Committee, hesitates to blame
global warming for extreme weather shifts. "These kinds of
fluctuations are part of human history," he tells AFP, "but climate
change is probably making them more extreme."