By 2035, global warming could add up to 3.2 pc points to food inflation every year: Study

Rising temperatures increase inflation all-year long in countries at low-latitudes


Global warming could add up to 3.2 percentage points to food inflation every year in a decade's time, and will affect the Global South more than high-income countries, according to a new international research.

It also projected that the pressure on overall inflation could be 0.3-1.2 percentage points at the temperatures that the world will likely see in 2035.

Researchers said the projections suggested that rising temperatures increase inflation all-year long in countries at low-latitudes, while in those at higher latitudes, inflation due to rising temperatures occurs only in summers.

Further, the authors, including those from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, estimated that heat extremes during the summer of 2022 raised food inflation in Europe by 0.67 per cent, an increase that could be amplified by 30-50 per cent under 2035 warming scenarios.

The researchers said that Africa and South America are likely to face a greater impact, but acknowledged the lack of detailed information in South East Asia on detailed information regarding price aggregates at monthly timescales. Their findings are published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment.

"Combining the uncertainty arising from empirical specification, emission scenario and range of climate model projections results in a range of potential pressures on food inflation of 0.92-3.23 p.p.p.y. (percentage points per year) by 2035, and of 0.32-1.18 p.p.p.y. for headline inflation, on average across the world," they said.

"These results therefore provide robust evidence that projected global warming would cause persistent upward exogenous pressures on inflation of considerable magnitudes already during the next few decades, independent of future emission trajectories and assuming ceteris paribus (all else being equal)," they added.

For the study, the researchers analysed monthly national consumer price indices and weather data across 121 countries between 1991-2020. They combined the results with projections from a physical climate model to estimate how rising temperatures impacted inflation between 2030 and 2060.

Even as climate change is likely to increase the price of food in the future, the authors suggested that mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and technology-based adaptations could substantially limit this risk to the global economy. 

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