Greenhouse Gas Rise ‘Will Boost Crop Yield’

  • Date: 20/03/14
  • Ben Webster and Hannah Devlin, The Times

Rising greenhouse gas emissions may result in better harvests of wheat and soya beans even after allowing for the damage caused to crops by more frequent heat waves, researchers say.

Their findings appear at odds with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said in a leaked draft of a report due later this month that global warming would damage yields of wheat and “erode food security”.

The study, led by the University of East Anglia, found that yields of wheat and soya beans would increase for the next 70 years under a “business as usual” scenario, in which carbon dioxide emissions rose rapidly.

Wheat yields would grow globally by 34 per cent by 2080 and soya beans by 15 per cent. Maize production was projected to fall by 13 per cent during the same period. The increases would not be evenly distributed, with Britain and other countries in temperate regions experiencing more of the benefits while yields may decline in the tropics.

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