Continuing CO2 emissions not only change the world’s climate, but also threaten food security in the long term: due to the rising carbon dioxide concentration in the air, the nutrient content of most crops is decreasing. US and Israeli scientists have used the example of the availability of zinc to calculate how the food situation in 188 countries around the world would change if the CO2 content in the atmosphere reaches the for 2050 predicted 550 ppm. (1).
If so, wheat would lose 9.1%, rice 3.1%, barley 13.6%, soy 5.0% and field peas 6.8% of the normal zinc content. Considering dietary habits in the 188 countries, the scientists identified an increased risk of zinc deficiency for a group of 132 million to 180 million people. Most of them living in Asia and Africa, absorb zinc primarily through vegetable food and are therefore dependent on the zinc content of these crops. In addition to the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, India, the most vulnerable countries also include Zambia and the Ivory Coast. Experts recommend to initiate measures against zinc deficit in the endangered countries.
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(1) SS Myers et al. Effect of increased concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the global threat of zinc deficiency: a modelling study. Lancet Glob Health. 2015 Oct;3(10):e639-45. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(15)00093-5. Epub 2015 Jul 15., available via https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784541/
(2) ibidem, Fig 1: Global map showing the absolute percentage increase in the risk of zinc deficiency in response to elevated atmospheric