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Insect pests will increase due to climate change


Climate change is behind the increase in insect pests, which are expected to cause more damage to crops worldwide. This was said in Rome by various experts in the field of plant protection.

"Insect pests are increasing with climate change," said Jingyuan Kia, secretary of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), which sets standards for the safe transport of plant products with the aim of preventing pests and diseases.

Kia stated that pests are currently already responsible for the loss of 8% of the world's maize production and 14% of that of rice. These percentages will increase to 10% and 17% respectively if the temperature on earth increases by 2 degrees compared to the pre-industrial levels.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees
Last Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented a report looking into the possible ways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, instead of 2 degrees. The goal is for its consequences to be less catastrophic. This will require "unprecedented changes in all aspects of our societies."

105,000 species were analyzed in the study. With a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees, 6% of the insects and 8% of the plants will lose more than half of their habitats; however, if the temperature rise is 2 degrees, 18% of the insects and 16% of the plants will experience this.

"The conclusions are worrying and show the impact of a mere half-degree difference," said the Vice-Director for Climate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Zitouni Ould-Dada. He warned of the risk of the emergence of "new pests in new areas and under new circumstances."

The specialist recalled that pests and plant diseases cause at least a tenth of the losses in global food production, despite the difficulties there are to estimate their actual impact.

Gianni Gilioli, from the Italian University of Brescia, agreed that understanding the dynamics of pests is difficult, as they can also be influenced by increases in rainfall or by the stress suffered by plants.

He called for researchers to investigate how all these factors can influence the populations of insects acting as pests; an essential issue for the development of prognoses and the improvement of risk analysis.



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