DATE: August 30, 2018
SNIP: Insects will be at the heart of worldwide crop losses as the climate warms up, predicts a US study.
Scientists estimate the pests will be eating 10-25% more wheat, rice and maize across the globe for each one degree rise in climate temperature.
Warming drives insect energy use and prompts them to eat more. Their populations can also increase.
This is bound to put pressure on the world’s leading cereal crops, says study co-author Curtis Deutsch.
“Insect pests currently consume the equivalent of one out of every 12 loaves of bread (before they ever get made). By the end of this century, if climate change continues unabated, insects will be eating more than two loaves of every 12 that could have been made,” the University of Washington, US, researcher told BBC News.
There is already reckoned to be a direct effect of climate change on crops, with yields declining by about 5% for every one degree increase in temperature.
That loss will be 50% higher because of insect damage, said Prof Tewksbury from the University of Colorado Boulder, US.