By Brad Plumer / The New York Times
Carbon dioxide helps plants grow. But a new study shows that rice grown in higher levels of carbon dioxide has lower amounts of several important nutrients.
When scientists want to figure out how climate change might disrupt the world’s food supplies, they often explore how rising temperatures could shift growing seasons or how more frequent droughts could damage harvests.
In recent years, though, researchers have begun to realize that the extra carbon dioxide that humanity is pumping into the atmosphere isn’t just warming the planet, it’s also making some of our most important crops less nutritious by changing their chemical makeup and diluting vitamins and minerals.
Now, a new study has found that rice exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide contains lower amounts of several important nutrients.
The potential health consequences are large, given that there are already billions of people around the world who don’t get enough protein, vitamins or other nutrients in their daily diet.
Kristie Ebi, Professor of Global Health and Director of the UW Center for Health and the Global Environment is a co-author of the study.