1st July 2022
EMEA Environment

France is Facing Unprecedented Droughts

France may face unprecedented droughts

According to estimates from the minister of agriculture and the minister of ecological transition, France may face unprecendeted droughts in coming months as winter and spring hasn’t been rainful and thempreatures exceed by more than 10 degrees (celcius) what they should normally be as per data from meteofrance. 

30 Departments Considered At Risk

Though a majrotiy of departments have not implemented restrictions yet, as per data from Propluvia, the situation is extremely premature. What is even more frightening is that most of these departments would occassionally receive warnings, for instance, the North of France, a region where it should normally rain frequently, is in constant alert for the past couple of years with no signs of relief.

20 departments are considered “likely” to face droughts this summer as the country’s underground water has a 20% deficit relative to the level it should reach in May. Nonetheless, the authorities remain prudent:

“Vigilance today does not always mean difficulty tomorrow, everything depends on the rainfall over the next few weeks” the ministry said in an interview with Francetvinfo.fr

Droughts Will Impact The Country’s Production

Cereals such as weat or Corn are in desperate need of water during their growth period but the current temperatures and the lack of rain has already impacted their growth. Indeed, growers and other associations fear that they may loose part of their production due to weather conditions in a time when the country tries to circumvent the global food supply issues. It is too soon to accurately estimate the loss but growers already see impacts in the heights or the quality of their cereals.

Moreover, these droughts increase the risk of wildfires as the plants and grounds are extremely dry, the country may expect fires in the upcoming months if the conditions do not improve in the coming weeks.

To prevent additional losses, the government announced that they growned the initial budget allocated to farmers with an additional 20 million euros in prevision of the potential risks they face this summer. Water agencies are allowed to spend an additional 100 million euros to help agricultural sectors adapt to claimte change or create water reservoirs.

The budgets are criticised by many stakeholders from farming uninions, climate activist or other parties. Jean-Luc Achard, President of Sepec Consults, states:

“While some countries are mobilising and setting up poles to bring together the various solutions and revive research in the fields of controlled environment agriculture, agrivoltaïcs, aeroponics, hydroponics, aquaponics, urban farming or other high tech and low tech solutions, in France, none of this is happening, there is no national plan for the fight against climate change, just loudable initiatives taken by investors, often without help and isolated from any public support. The budgets allocated are insufficient with no objectives other than pushing back the problems”

“This is not just a question of whether we should adopt more tech-savvy solutions or not, it is a question of food security and investing to find sustainable solutions for a brighter future.”

The IPCC Report Expects Worsening Conditions

Across the world, yields of major cereal crops in climate-affected areas are already significantly lower than they were, due to today’s current 1.1°C increase in global temperature averages above pre-industrial levels. Last year one of the largest cereal producers in the world, Canada, faced extreme weather conditions with temperatures reaching 50 degrees celcius. Today, India is facing the same problem with same temperature levels which could hamper the country’s future cereal output as the world seeks solutions to the current supply chain disruptions.

If countries do not take bold and swift decision right now, the temperature may increase by more than 2 degrees in the upcoming decades which will results in severe consequences across the world. If the temperature increase reaches 1.5 degrees, the IPCC expects that about 8% of the farmland would become unsuitable for agriculture produciton and that would further worsen the conditions worldwide.

Debra Roberts, one of the report’s co-chairs, stated: “We’re already experiencing acute food and water shortages. If we look at two degrees of global warming, we know that areas that are currently growing staple crops will not be able to grow those at the same level of efficiency and effectiveness. And so there are significant challenges coming for areas like South America, Africa, and Asia, in terms of overall food production. Other regions such as Europe should expect worsening conditions as well”

 

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