Harvard warns of CO2 rise, threatening human nutrition

Earlier this year, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), released results of a new study, which found that by the year 2050, the elevated levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere will be significantly effecting crop growth all around the world.

 

These same crops are great sources of dietary protein, zinc and iron, and with an estimated two billion people suffering from protein, zinc or iron deficiencies, and around 63 million deaths per year due to malnutrition; it’s cause for concern. “The reduction in these nutrients represents the most significant health threat ever shown to be associated with climate change”, say the Harvard researchers.

 

The study was done in free air environments, not green houses, and involved 41 different varying genes from wheat, rice, soy, field pea’s and sorghum.

The results found a large decrease in concentrations of protein, zinc and iron in these grains exposed to CO2.

 

Globally, 2-3 billion people derive 70% of their zinc and iron from these exact crops. This great reduction in nutrients could be catastrophic in the developing world.

 

Lead author of the study, and research scientists for the Department of Environmental Health, Samuel Myers, says of our global pollution, “Humanity is conducting a global experiment by rapidly altering the environmental conditions on the only habitable planet we know. As this experiment unfolds, there will undoubtedly be many surprises. Finding out that rising CO2 threatens human nutrition is one such surprise,” he says.

 

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