Going All Sci-Fi?

  • Date: 30/05/17
  • Andrew Montford

This afternoon, the BBC’s Costing the Earth show is going to be looking at  global warming and  what it means for plants and food.

Between 20 and 33% of the world’s plant species are currently at risk of global extinction. That’s the estimation of recently published studies. So how much will climate change impact on the variety, availability and price of the food on our plates? 

It’s going to be interesting to see whether the presenters will touch on relevant issues such as the gentle decline in drought during the twentieth century.  However, reading on, it seems that telling a good story is perhaps a bigger concern in their minds than telling a fair and balanced one:

Botanist James Wong investigates the links between global warming and the rate at which crops are able to adapt and evolve to rapidly changing conditions…Having deeper roots and more efficient water-use strategies is a clear bonus, and one that’s being addressed by British plant scientists who are developing more drought-resistant wheat varieties by breeding them with ancient antecedents of one of the world’s most important crops.

Rapidly changing conditions? Who is he trying to kid? It looks as though it might be best enjoyed as science fiction.

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