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Climate Change in Russia Affecting U.S. Consumers (and vice-versa)

Russia Beyond the Headlines just ran a piece on Russia’s declining grain harvest (which resulted from drought in recent years), and how that might be affecting food prices in the United States, highlighting that in the U.S. this year “prices for No. 1 Hard Red Winter wheat soared from $270 per bushel in May to $340 in early September.”

But the relationship is reciprocal:

Russia’s drought may account for a 25 percent hike in U.S. wheat prices, said Dmitry Rylko, general director of the Institute of Agricultural Market Studies. Conversely, the U.S. drought may have caused a 50 percent rise in prices in Russia.

As we have highlighted previously, the heat wave and droughts in Russia and Central Asia that caused these recent rounds of crop failures, have been explicitly linked to climate change in two different peer-reviewed studies. And though it is still  too early to judge, there are indications that this and last year’s punishing droughts in the U.S. may also have a climate change connection (NOAA and the Met Office determined that the 2011 drought in Texas was 20 times more likely because of climate change).

The food security implications here are enormous, and worth keeping a close eye on.

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