02/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Food Crisis: Global Warming's Biggest Threat

When searing temperatures blasted Western Europe in 2003, more than 50,000 people died and harvests of wheat, animal fodder and fruit fell by up to a third.

Imagine that heat being the norm over much of the world, and you'll have an idea what the future is likely to hold for agriculture -- and humanity, says a new report from scientists at the University of Washington and Stanford University.

"I'm not worried about Greenland sliding into the sea. I'm not worried about sea levels going up," said UW atmospheric sciences professor David Battisti. "This is probably the most compelling reason why we need to deal with global warming."

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