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May 3 - Weather radicalization worsening, global food supply at increased risk of regional failures
Signs Of The
If you live in the USA, you're probably experiencing some of the effects of a cold weather front and multi-state blizzard that's sweeping across much of North America. While the weather felt like summer just a few days ago, suddenly much of the upper Midwest is blanketed in snow and reeling from freezing temperatures.
Welcome to the weird world of weather radicalization. We're all watching it unfold right before our very eyes: extreme droughts, 500-year floods, fires and blizzards are all getting worse than anyone can remember. It's not just that we have more technology to detect and report on these storms today; the storms are actually getting worse and more frequent.
Simply put, when nature deviates from its normal cycles, it throws food production into chaos. A one-night drop below freezing, for example, can wipe out the entire citrus crop in Florida. A Midwest drought recently collapsed corn production there, and almost two years ago, a severe drought in Texas caused a collapse in grazing grasses, resulting in a mass slaughter of starving cows that could no longer be fed. The upshot of that was plummeting beef prices, followed by a spike the next year as herds had been thinned out far beyond normal.
Because the weather is becoming more radical, food prices are trending sharply higher. The USDA, which downplays food inflation for political reasons, admits that food prices rose 3.7% in 2011, 2.6% in 2012 and are currently rising at 3% in 2013.
These numbers are artificially low, of course, as is readily evident at the grocery store right now. But even when kept low, they still portray an alarming scenario when you consider these food price increases are compounded annually. That means they pile on top of previous year's increases, causing the resulting price spikes to rise faster than might be expected by intuition alone.
For food prices to drop, food production inputs must fall in price at the same time weather patterns become more predictable. This is extremely unlikely to occur any time in the foreseeable future, especially with fresh water, topsoil and fuel all becoming increasingly scarce and therefore more expensive.
The net result of all this is that food will continue to become more expensive with each passing month.
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