U.K. Expects Warming to Boost Crop Yields From Sugar to Wheat

U.K. Expects Warming to Boost Crop Yields
A combine harvester is driven through a wheat field on a farm in Maldon, U.K. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar and wheat farming probably will become more productive as the average temperature rises across the U.K. in the next 40 years, the government concluded in a report assessing the impact of climate change.

Sugar beet yields may rise 20 percent to 70 percent and wheat yields by as much as 140 percent because the atmosphere is warming, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said today.

“A warmer climate presents opportunities to grow new crops such as soya, sunflowers, peaches, apricots and grapes,” the department said a statement in London.

The study also found that climate-related deaths would increase in the summer and decline in the winter and that both floods and dangerous droughts would become more frequent. The report is meant to advise Prime Minister David Cameron’s government on the measures it needs to endorse to adapt to climate change.

“Without an effective plan to prepare for the risks from climate change, the country may sleepwalk into disaster,” John Krebs, a lawmaker who leads the Committee on Climate Change, said in the statement.

The number of days that the temperature rises above 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) may increase from about 18 currently to 27 to 121 days by the 2080s, Defra said. That would reduce the need for heating in buildings and increase the demand for air conditioning.

Premature deaths in cold weather that currently range from 26,000 to 57,000 a year in the U.K. may decline to 3,900 to 24,000 by the 2050s. An additional 580 to 5,900 people may die in heat waves by then, the report said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Reed Landberg in London at landberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net