ESSIC and AOSC Professor Raghu Murtugudde was a guest on The Diane Rehm Show (88.5 WAMU) Wednesday morning to discuss the severe widespread drought and water shortages impacting the country.
According to the show’s website, “New data shows more than half of the United States is experiencing moderate to extreme drought.”
The show segment specifically focused on weather patterns, water shortages and crop prices, and featured guests Coral Davenport of National Journal magazine and Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) as well.
A listener of the show asked how the drought and water shortages will affect food prices and if the lack of food in other countries will potentially lead to political unrest.
“This drought has already affected corn production and even irrigation is difficult now; so there’s very little time left to recover a lot of the crops. Corn is 90 percent animal feed so that directly affects the cattle industry and there’s already reports of people selling cattle, so milk production goes down, beef production goes down and cost go up,” Murtugudde said. “Corn is also an ethanol additive to gasoline so gasoline prices could go up if corn prices go up too much so transportation costs [could also] go up – so you have these cascades. And it goes also to international levels because the U.S. is an exporter of wheat, and so on, so the demand from outside like India is way below normal this time so instead of exporting stuff they want to import stuff. So it does cascade throughout the world.”
Murtugudde also said engaging and educating the public in environmental issues is just as important as the resources used by corporations that deal with implications of extreme weather.