Professor David Lobell from Stanford University is speaking on "Food and environmental security - Australia’s contribution". Professor Lobell showed a graph of wheat yields in Australia, showing increasing variability over time (due to better production at times of wetter conditions). He argued that this water dependent condition which is common in Australia will also become more common around the world due to climate change and depleted ground water. He showed evidence that Vapour Pressure Deficit (VPD) may result in food production being more sensitive to climate change than previously thought.
Unfortunately while Professor Lobell presented clear and important information on adverse effects on food production of climate change this is unlikely to have any effect on public policy. The Australian Government is in a state of denial on climate change, despite the clear and present danger. What is now needed is research on politics and psychology, to determine how to change public policy.
Later there will be a panel with Dr Mark Howden (CSIRO), Professor Murray Badger, Sarah Bridge (Department of Agriculture) and Professor Robert Costanza (ANU).