In the wake of the hottest year on record for the contiguous US:
Figure 1 – NOAA Graph showing year-to-date average US temperatures from 1895-2012.
Plus extensive moderate and worse drought conditions across the US agricultural region heading into early 2013:
Figure 2 – US Drought Monitor map of drought conditions as of the 8th of January.
The US Department of Agriculture released estimates for 2013 crops. The larger picture isn’t pretty, as the link explains. Due to climatological as well as global market pressures, crop prices have risen leading up to 2013. We can expect those prices to rise further in 2013, especially if there is limited or nonexistent drought relief. Consider the following:
Corn prices are 3x what the average price from 1988-2006.
Soybean prices are more than 2X their average price from 1988-2006.
Wheat prices are more than 2X their average price from 1988-2006.
If nothing else, we will likely see a great deal of price volatility in crop prices in 2013. But any further price increases will pinch most of our bank accounts more so than they already are. This is another downstream effect of climate change and the lack of a national climate policy. Moreover, how are farmers supposed to stay afloat if they never take climate change effects (record high temperatures and widespread drought) into account? As elected officials in D.C. continue to think there is not enough political capital in return for climate change action, crop prices double and triple, impacting every person in the country. We need to remove the politicization surrounding the issue.