Researchers found that due to climate change, a shortage of renewable energy sources, such as biofuels, wood, and waste, may begin in the upcoming period due to reduced yields because of droughts, fires and heat, Nature reports.
Scientists from the UK, Spain, and China have shown that rising temperatures can reduce crop yields due to droughts, fires, high temperatures, and other extreme events. Therefore, raw materials from biomass may be at risk.
Moreover, there will be less food. To prevent famine, people will increase the amount of arable land. Because of this, more greenhouse gases will enter the atmosphere, leading to a further increase in temperature and an even more significant decrease in crop yields. Humanity is at risk of falling into a trap from which it will be challenging to get out.
“Biomass fuels and feedstocks can provide us with a renewable energy source and a viable alternative to petrochemicals, but the results of our study serve as a stark warning of how climate change will threaten their availability if we continue to allow global temperatures to rise. There is a tipping point where climate change will severely limit our ability to mitigate its worst effects. Biomass with carbon capture and storage, including the production of bio-based chemicals, must be used now if we are to maximize its benefits,” researcher James Clark at the University of York said.
In their study, the researchers modeled the response of crop yields to an increase in average temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentration, nitrogen fertilization rate, and precipitation.
It turned out that if we switch to biofuels in 2050, then biomass production will already be greatly reduced by that time due to rising temperatures. This will lead to dire consequences: extreme natural events and food insecurity. Therefore, it is impossible to delay the introduction of biofuels, it is necessary to start using it everywhere.
Moreover, if biofuel introduction is delayed until 2060, global warming will reach 3.7 °C by 2200 (scientists now expect 1.7 °C), and the number of calories per capita will decrease from 2.1 million to 1.5 million.
“If biomass-based carbon reduction technologies can be widely deployed in the short term, there is still hope that we can mitigate global warming and the global food crisis,” Clark concluded.