In 30 years, how might climate change affect what Australians eat and drink?

Jaclyn Nicole Brown, Hilary Bambrick, Snow Barlow, Dale Fallon, Judith Fernandez-Piquer, Ailie Gallant, Gilly Hendrie, Uday Nidumolu, Tobin Northfield, Elvira Poloczanska, Anne T Roiko, Shilu Tong, Claudia E Vickers, Sarah Ann Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In this article, we analyse the current Australian diet and discuss how climate change might influence the foods we eat and consumer behaviour in coming decades. As climate change proceeds, one likely outcome is that key Australian agricultural regions will experience warmer, drier conditions with more frequent and intense drought and extreme events. These conditions will place pressure on Australia’s ability to maintain the quality and quantity of the food it now produces. Amongst other pressures,reduced agricultural supply may contribute to higher prices for grains, red meat, fresh fruit and vegetables; reduced quality of produce due to an increase in pests and disease; and for water, increased costs of treatment. The risks from changes to diet correlate with socioeconomic disadvantage. Wealthier groups tend to spend more on quality produce. For most Australians, but particularly those that are vulnerable and food insecure, increased prices will lead to the consumption of cheaper and lower quality foods, changing diet composition away from healthy options, and exacerbating health issues. The interplay between climate, agriculture, economics and human health is complex. To improve, or even maintain,the health of Australians will likely cost more in the future for individuals and for our health system. Now is the time to explore and better understand these relationships in order to prepare for the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-27
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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