The California Milk Advisory Board has got to love this. The Board is the organization behind the “California cows are happy cows” TV ads, which say California milk and cheese are better because the Golden State livestock enjoys such balmy weather — way better than, say, frigid, snowy Wisconsin, where cheese is so much a part of the local identity that it’s the state hat (it could have been worse, considering Wisconsin’s love affair with bratwurst).
Now scientists at the University of Washington say that Californians have it right, or at least partly so. According to a new study presented at a conference on climate change (at the University of Wisconsin, no less), climate can have a big effect on milk production, and it turns out that Northern California has a nearly ideal mix of temperature and humidity to make cows as productive as they can be. The cows might not be happy (there’s no scientific evidence that pumping out milk in high volume makes for a blissful life), but the people behind the commercials undoubtedly are.
The worst place for productive cows isn’t Wisconsin, though, because it’s not the cold that makes milk production drop off: it’s hot, humid weather. You might not mind being a cow in Florida, for example, or other parts of the Southeast, but you don’t want to be a dairy farmer.
As the century progresses, moreover, and climate change makes pretty much every part of the country warmer, the problem will get worse: the scientists project a 6 percent drop in per-cow milk production overall by 2080.
It might not just be cows, either. The Washington researchers are now turning to other barnyard animals — pigs are due for evaluation next — to see what effect climate change might have on them. In Wisconsin, they’re undoubtedly waiting to see how hotter weather might mess with the bratwurst supply.
<a href="http://www.ciat.cgiar.org/Newsroom/Documents/ghana_ivory_coast_climate_change_and_cocoa.pdf" target="_hplink">A report released by the International Center For Tropical Agriculture </a>warns chocolate could become a luxury item if farmers don't adapt to rising temperatures in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where a majority of the world's cocoa is grown.
Coffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes an extinct export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company's director of sustainability told <em>The Guardian</em> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/16/starbucks-climate-change_n_1011222.html" target="_hplink">climate change is shortening the supply chain of Arabica coffee bean</a>.
Famed for producing some of the world's best beer, <a href="http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080502/full/news.2008.799.html" target="_hplink">Germany could suffer from a drop in production due to climate change induced water shortages</a>. Barley and hops can only be grown with water and using cheaper alternatives like corn isn't possible in Germany because of strict regulations about what you can make beer with.
Thanks to a failing peanut crop due to last summer's scorching hot weather, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/peanut-butter-price-jump_n_1003732.html" target="_hplink">there's a shortage of peanuts in supply</a>. If temperatures continue to rise, a jump in peanut butter prices is just the prelude to what's in store for the beloved American spread.
Scientists at the British Meteorological Office warn that Italy may soon be forced to<a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/climate-threat-to-italys-pasta/story-e6frg6so-1225797946930" target="_hplink"> import the basic ingredients to make pasta because climate change will make it impossible to grow durum wheat domestically</a>. The crop could almost disappear from the country later this century, say scientists.
<a href="http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/goodbye-maple-syrup-climate-change-pushing-sugar-maple-out-of-northeast-us.html" target="_hplink">A warming climate could make maple syrup history.</a> Shorter cycles of below freezing weather mean sugar maples aren't producing enough sap, which is later boiled down to make maple syrup.
<a href="http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/Hone/Hone-03-30-2012.pdf" target="_hplink">It's no secret that bee populations are dropping nationwide</a>. Wetter winters and rainy summers make it harder for bees to get out and about to collect, leaving them to starve or become malnourished and more prone to other diseases. This doesn't just mean a decline in honey. We rely on bees to pollinate crops. When bees disappear many food crops could also die off.
<a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/best-served-chilled-top-french-wines-at-risk-from-climate-change-a-748139.html" target="_hplink">France is losing its enviable climate for grape growing</a> thanks to a shifting climate. Because a wine's taste is a result of the balance of sugar and acidity in the grapes it is made from, the right growing temperature is essential. Grapes grown in cold are unlikely to develop fruity flavors, giving an acidic taste. Warm weather produces too much sugar, leaving a "jammy" and heavy taste.
Also On The Huffington Post...
This trailer for "Carbon Nation", documentary movie about climate change SOLUTIONS, will impact you even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all.