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Effects of climate change on the consumer


One can’t starve from potentially higher food (carbohydrate) production. It’s an oxymoron. In developed countries where one gets an abundance/excess of nutrition from foods, it could be argued that fhe higher carbohydrate content could lead to higher calorific foods, perpetuating the obesity problems which currently exist.

The information in this link is similar to the information in a previous link.

In relation to potentially lower nutritional value, see this post.


Just a bit of poetic licence. :wink:

Pedantry aside, we can eat yet still suffer insufficient nutrition.

New or not, it’s undeniably a climate change-related consumer issue.

Your prescience is - impressive. I have less faith.

Still, an issue to keep in mind.


I am a realist based on historical science and agronomy. Not a pessimist based on a computer modelling of potential scenarios.

Even the articles allude that this will not occur in most cases (and highlly unlikely in Australia). If their hypotheses are correct, the risk lie with those whose current diets lead to slight to significant deficiencies. The article suggests that there possibility that it may be more difficult for one who is currently eating an inadequate diet and is more difficult, to ‘eat’ their way out of the deficiency in the future.

The articles also discuss that the concentration of some nutrients/protein within some foods eaten in those countries where deficiencies currently exist may decline further through the modelling undertaken.

I expect that the reduction in concentrations is due to higher yields…an example which may not be correct but makes the point is… imagine there are 10 units of a particular nutrient in a 10gm piece of fruit. If the fruit due to climate change becomes 11.1 grams (due to higher levels of carbohydrates which is recognised as a result of higher CO2 atmospheric concentrations in the lab) and had the same 10 units of nutrient, then the average concentration would decline by about 10%. While the fruit has a lower concentration, eating the 11.1gm fruit in the future will yield the same nutritional value as a 10gm fruit of today. Assuming that the same total mass of food is eaten, then yes, one would eat less nutrients in the future as they would be consuming 10% less nutrient(s)…

Now this hypothesis has a number of flaws, including whether the assumptions of the model used are correct, that crop breeding/technology is unable to produce similar yield crops of today with the same or higher nutrient concentrations (which is highly likely if higher yield crops with the same nutrient concentrations are not developed), that all peoples will be consuming the same food as today (which is also unlikely as there is sufficient evidence that when countries develop, like India as the example used in one of the articles, the quality of food increases)., that the same foods will be grown in the same locations…and there are many more.

I am not denying it is, but I believe that the risks posed are overstated as indicated in may of my posts on the issue. There are far greater impacts on future food production/security than those identified in models, by climate change.

If these other risks are managed/mitigated, then there will be tremendous benefits to feeding future generations. If not and they are allowed to become worse (which is a risk),historical famine and feast cycles may continue into the future.

I believe that enough has been discussed on the issue of food security and I am sure there are other climate change consumer issues which could be raised and require some level of scrutiny.


Administrator edits emasculated my post. I’ve deleted the text that remained.

The response below, by phb, does not reflect the substance of my original post.


Alright @n3m0 / @phb, I’d hate for an otherwise good debate on a subject people are passionate about to turn into an argument, so I’ve made some post edits.

Just a reminder that we don’t allow personal attacks (either direct or by inference), so while there may be a disagreement about the severity of the effects of climate change, we shouldn’t equate that to denialism or to attempt to label or categorise each other. I think both points have been made clearly, so perhaps we should move on to other areas of discussion around the potential effects of climate change on consumers.


It isn’t a denial but the reality of using models.

There are hundreds of peer reviewed scientific papers which evaluate the accuracy of computer models and discuss their limitations, including climate change models. A model has a level of confidence based on the ruggedness, robustness and reliability of inputs. They provide a level of confidence of the likely outcome of the scenario being tested. Models are often used to test hypotheses before research is a carried out as it can assist in identifying limitations of the proposed research as well as likely outcomes to the tested hypotheses (which could be positive or negative results with varying levels of confidence). I have first hand experience in models with ab high level of positive test confidence, when the research proved otherwise as not all inputs to the model were known or adequately represented.

As more iterations of the models are undertaken including new information such as outputs of real scientific experiments or environmental data, like that done for climate change models, models can be calibrated which can improve the level of confidence with the model outputs and also the likely outputs.

Like any credible organisation (rather than a vested anti-skeptical group with vested interests), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC - the the recognised leading intergovernmental on climate change) in their reports discusses and evaluates the models used as the basis for their findings and the limitations of the models. The IPCC are also, due to the level of confidence of the models (which incidentally is stated in IPCC reports) use many words like indicate, may and could in commenting on many aspects of climate change being modelled. These same models don’t currently have the level of confidence to use words like will and would. It is likely that a change in wording will occur as the models develop further and real environmental results are obtained. It is also plausible that some of their hypotheses will change with new information imputed into the models, while others may be modified or remain similar to that of existing outputs. Others could also be removed.

It is also interesting to note that the IPCC also recognise that for food security, there will be positive outputs of climate change, but also recognise that there will also be negative impacts . The latest IPCC report states that in relation to food security 'Negative impacts of climate trends have been more common than positive ones.Positive trends are evident in some high latitude regions (high confidence)."

In relation to CO2 impact on crops, which has been our past discussion, the IPCC states

“Rising CO2 may reduce the effectiveness of some herbicides (low confidence). The effects of climate change on disease pressure on food crops are uncertain, with evidence pointing to changed geographical ranges of pests and diseases but less certain changes in disease intensity (low confidence)”

“Climate change will increase progressively the inter-annual variability of crop yields in many regions (medium confidence)”

“On average, agronomic adaptation improves yields by the equivalent of ~15-18% of current yields, but the effectiveness of adaptation is highly variable (medium confidence) ranging from potential dis-benefits to negligible to very substantial (medium confidence). Projected benefits of adaptation are greater for crops in temperate, rather than tropical, regions (medium confidence), with wheat- and rice-based systems more adaptable than those of maize (low confidence). Some adaptation options are more effective than others (medium confidence).”

And in relation to impact on the consumers hip pocket, the jury is out as the IPCC states:

“Changes in temperature and precipitation, without considering effects of CO2, will contribute to increased global food prices by 2050, with estimated increases ranging from 3 to 84% (medium confidence). Projections that include the effects of CO2 changes, but ignore O3 and pest and disease impacts, indicate that global price increases are about as likely as not, with a range of projected impacts from –30% to +45% by 2050.”

It is worth noting that the level of confidence in their assessment is not overly high at this stage (low to medium confidence which indicates that quantification/qualification not overly reliable at this point in time). I expect that the level of confidence will improve when real field data/science inputs eventuates and more iterations of the models occur.

It is also worth noting, while I didn’t reference the IPCC report in previous posts, many of there conclusions are consistent with that stated in my earlier posts from firsthand discussions with some scientists working in the field.

There have been some popular scientists which have provided advice to government which have significantly overstated the risks. The first example which comes to mind is Tim Flannery. It is possibly that he now realises that some of his earlier statements were flamboyant and to make political points, rather than based on sound science.

But taking the statement as a whole in relation to climate change scientists/experts in their field, this statement is not possible to substantiate to whether it is true or not. Some of the statements made today have the potential to be overstated based on today’s best climate modelling, whilst some may be what was thought and others or may change and be proven to be higher/lower into the future. Only time will tell.

As I have indicated above, the best predictor of future behaviour is … past behaviour. If humans sit on the hands and hope climate change goes away without adapting, then the impacts to humans and the consumer will be greater than if the same humans prepared for the future. As humans have historically adapted to their new environments and surrounds, there is no scientific or psychological, reason to why it won’t occur in the future.


At least this article has some good news in relation to rising sea levels benefiting coastal wetlands.


SA’s big battery has helped enormously to avoid such peaks, though I don’t have any actual stats on me. I was told by someone who is very much involved with that kind of technology at Uni SA.


Indeed it has - it has also made money for the operator whilst reducing the amount of time that wholesale prices are being forced up by the big gas generators. Lots written about this on RenewEconomy. Overall this helps with reducing the cost of electricity for SA electricity consumers.


I suspect one of the main impacts on consumers is many products which use energy and potentially contribute to CO2e generation through its operation may be regulated or taxed (such as carbon type taxes). Less efficient products which historically may have been cheaper. may become more expensive.

Products with high CO2 contributions may be removed from the market (precedent has been set with CFC in the 1980s) through government intervention, with those which only meet specific design emission requirements may only be available (such as what has happened with incandescent bulbs, now replaced with CFL and LEDs).

Usually new more efficient technologies are more expensive until such time manufacturing costs reduce (e.g. led TVs when first introduced or PV panels-over time prices reduce) and volumes and competition increase sufficently to push prices down.

Government may become more prescriptive in relation to what can and can’t be used through regulations, such as refusing sale or ongoing operation of products which don’t meet targets (e.g. refusing registration of high fuel use internal combustion vehicles using fossil fuels).

If this occurs those who can’t afford the costs to change to high efficient products will be most penalised, either through higher operating costs (e.g . carbon taxes) or forced product replacement (e.g. abandonment of old ice vehicles to say newer less CO2 emitting vehicles).


An article regarding fly ash from coal fired power stations not being utilised by cement producers.

Absolutely disgraceful.



Absolutely disgraceful indeed … that we are still producing so much of it by burning coal instead of rapidly converting the electricity system to renewable energy!

However, it appears the amount being produced is rather uncertain, unless our coal produces massively more of it than coal burning in the USA. The ABC article says 500kg per person per year here (BTW, someone else is using my share, having been off-grid solar and wind power since 1991)

This web site:
suggests a bucketful per person per year for the USA, where more coal is burnt (clearly a massive discrepancy!)

and this web site: suggests ~180kg/person/year for the US (60million tons per year, 328 million people)

It appears that using it in concrete as a replacement for cement is generally a good thing, but like cement powder, it is not something you want to be exposed to via inhalation or skin exposure, such as Port Augusta residents have been. It’s certainly disgraceful that the operators of the now closed SA coal-fired power stations have not cleaned up their mess. However, that is typical of many large industrial/mining operations in Australia- ultimately the taxpayers are left to pay for the clean-up.


Extreme weather could make homes uninsurable.

The article speaks for itself. One particular point of interest to me is the graphs of extreme weather incidents. This was predicted 20 years ago but that is just my recollection it could have been earlier. The problem is that if we wait for all the predictions to come true the cost will be so much greater than if we had acted in time.


Yeah I agree, we are so often reactive (at increased cost) than proactive (and cost saving most times).


An interesting article regarding things people can do to reduce their carbon footprint.



A bit of a sell on PV systems but some of the advice is great if you own your home. If you rent most of the advice is not very useful except the car you purchase might be an option. What we possibly need are regulations/laws that make it such that PV, Solar Hot Water, Heat pumps and similar tech become the standard for any housing build or any renovation that does not have these types of systems currently in place.


What a pity that Governments do not actually do more.

The Qld Government banned the installation of new electric hot water systems from 01.03.2006 but the law was repealed on 01.02.2013.

The Federal Government started the phase out of incandescent light bulbs from 01.11.2009.

However, they are still readily available for purchase.



The RBA has made a statement in relation to climate change and its effect on our financial system:


Are heat-pump water heaters included in the electric HWS definition ? I’m going to check if I have time…


No, it was just resistive type. However, it is not possible to use a heat pump as a diversion load to use up excess PV output that would otherwise be exported for $not very much, so sometimes it makes sense to use resistive HWSs.