Rising sea levels may mean rising food prices

Are sea levels really rising? Is climate change real? Real or imagined, the debates go on endlessly. 

Here’s the way we see it: If you dump trillions of tons of poison into the air, Earth and water, do you think it will make things better or worse? 

As glaciers melt, rising temperatures break new records. Just a few weeks ago, an iceberg the size of Delaware broke free in Antarctica. Scientists warn that sea levels will continue to rise.  

As they increase, the world’s food distribution system is likely to be disrupted in major ways, according to a report from Chatham House, a British research organization. 

About 25 percent of the world’s food supply, including staples such as wheat, corn and soy, are traded internationally. These shipments pass through a relatively small number of ports and straits – chokepoints in the global food system that are likely to be put out of commission, in whole or part, should the planet continue to warm, glaciers continue to melt and icebergs continue to split. Thus, many scientists project ocean levels could rise 5 feet or more by the end of this century. 

For example, about 25 percent of the world’s soybean exports travel through the narrow Strait of Malacca in Indonesia. Roughly 20 percent of wheat moves through the Turkish Straits, which link the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black seas. 

Much of the infrastructure in these regions is antiquated and unprepared to cope with rising waters and extreme weather events such as storm surges. United States ports along the Gulf of Mexico are not fortified to withstand damage from the greater number of hurricanes and resulting flooding that’s forecast in the coming decades. 

TRENDPOST: Melting glaciers and sea-level rise have been carefully documented for years. Still, national governments and cargo-handling businesses have failed to address the need for adequate investments in infrastructure. By 2030, goods moving by sea will become more expensive as new, more circuitous shipping routes have to be followed and major investments are made in ports. 

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