Endangering Countries' Livelihood September 2015
Subscribe to Insights in Brief to be notified about new Featured Content as it becomes available!
Climate change will affect many countries—particularly those that derive economic value from agriculture and food production. Implications could be very dramatic if the global temperature increases by 2°C to 2.5°C. A warmer climate in Brazil will result in the nation's losing 25% of its agricultural area suitable for growing arabica coffee beans. In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, higher temperatures will lead to greater water loss from cocoa trees, which will reduce the trees' ability to produce pods and thereby decrease cocoa yields. Even some regions within diverse economies could see a loss of revenue. Warming in the northeastern region of the United States is shortening the maple-sap season, which requires very specific temperatures. Shorter sap seasons reduce maple-syrup production.
Climate change also will affect the labor force. Some regions are already experiencing and concerned about the climate-related migration of talent. According to a 2011 report by the British government, natural hazards displaced 42 million people in 2010. Recent heat waves in India highlight the ongoing issue. In 2009, a previous Scan™ article highlighted that widespread climate-change-induced human migration will affect a handful of countries so dramatically that they might cease to exist.
Scientific developments also can affect the economic basis of some countries. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, California), and Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) have found a way to create morphine by using a combination of genetically modified yeasts and a conventional home-brewing kit. Morphine, which sees use in medicine and in the production of the illegal drug heroin, supports entire regions with an income source. For instance, Afghanistan, Burma, and Colombia grow and harvest the poppies from which morphine derives. If the yeast-based morphine-creation process sees widespread adoption, the demand for poppies could decrease significantly or even disappear completely, which would have a dramatic impact on the economies of those and other poppy-producing countries.