A heat wave. Crop disease. El Niño.
Three weather-related catastrophes could be all it takes to throw the world’s food supply into chaos, according to a study by Britain’s Anglia Ruskin University, commissioned by insurance giant Lloyd’s of London.
Lloyd’s imagined a hypothetical scenario in which the Earth was hit simultaneously by a heat wave in South America, a wind-borne plant pathogen and a strong warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle.
The results weren’t pretty.
Those back-to-back disasters could lead to giant drops in production worldwide — 10% in corn, 11% in soybeans, 7% in wheat and rice.
Those shortages would spike prices — in the case of rice, as much as 500% — leading to food riots and civil unrest.