According to analysts, the UK will experience escalating food insecurity as long as greenhouse gas emissions keep the Earth’s atmosphere warm.
Approximately half of the food consumed here is imported, with 25% of those imports coming from the Mediterranean.
Harvests in southern Europe have been harmed by wildfires, strong rainstorms, and droughts—all increasingly dramatic effects of climate change.
Spain is the primary supplier of some nutritious basics like oranges, lemons, grapes, sweet peppers, and olive oil and accounts for 7% of all imports into the UK.
Spain last year endured an exceptionally hot summer that brought about a severe drought and the worst wildfire season in recent memory.
According to analysts from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), as a result, olive oil production dropped, prices shot up, and up until April of this year, it was the main product driving up food inflation in the UK.
According to them, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to guarantee that consumers are safeguarded against upcoming shocks because these weather extremes will only get worse as long as emissions rise.
Gareth Redmond-King, head of international programme at ECIU, said: “Even when we’re not experiencing extreme weather, we are not immune to its impacts in a globalised world.
“Shortages of salad and other vegetables in UK supermarkets in February this year caused by extremes in southern Spain and north Africa brought home to people just how vulnerable the UK is to the impacts of climate change on our food.”
The ECIU stated that the UK cannot simply grow its way out of the dilemma since doing so would increase energy consumption at a time when growers still rely on fossil fuels in a new report titled Climate Impacts on UK Food Imports.
Globally rising petrol costs caused reduced yields for many UK farmers last year, and the ECIU warned that making additional commodities dependent on this unstable market would only endanger food security.
Even in a climate that is getting warmer, it would be challenging to grow Mediterranean food outside because short-term weather patterns are too unpredictable, and it would take time for new infrastructure and skills to develop.
surveying carried out for the climate-focused nonprofit Round Additionally, according to Our Way, 61% of Britons believe that the 2023 European heatwaves would have a negative influence on food costs in the UK and that authorities should do everything in their power to prevent the worsening of extreme weather.
Mr Redmond-King said: “It’s sobering to realise just how much we rely on food imports that come from parts of the world most at risk from the changing climate.
“This should be a wake-up call about the vulnerability of our food supply chains to climate change. We can’t simply grow our way out of the problem by producing many of these foods in the UK.
“The only sure-fire way to avoid even worse and more dangerous impacts is to keep global temperature rises to 1.5C, and the only way to do that is to cut our emissions to net zero.”
- Asylum seekers to be housed on Bibby barge ‘in coming days’, minister says
- Suella Braverman says task force will target ‘crooked immigration lawyers’
- Baby ‘was inside tent’ that was hit by car which crashed into campsite