Bananas in Sicily and oil in Lombardy: the climate crisis reshapes the geography of agriculture

Bananas in Sicily and oil in Lombardy: the climate crisis reshapes the geography of agriculture

Common on the slopes of Etna. Olive oil close to the Lombard Pre-Alps. A full-bodied red in the land that has always been devoted to champagne. And champagne? In Kent, a stone’s throw from London. The average annual temperature in Sicily, such as in the north of France or the south of England, has increased by a degree or more over the past 30 years. Seems low? This was enough to revolutionize the continent’s agricultural geography, decimating hundreds of companies, opening up entirely new horizons for adventurers smaller and bigger and less and less rare, who ventured into (literally) unexplored lands. .

Fifteen years ago, it was difficult to even talk about bananas in Sicily and Calabria. Today, on the slopes of Etna, one of the world’s most fertile regions since ancient times, mangoes, avocados and other tropical delicacies, such as passion fruit, along with lemon and tarot cards, are produced. This is no hobby: One of the first companies to try this route has already racked up up to 1,400 tons of avocados annually. In their place, there are almost always vineyards, which experts consider the crops most vulnerable to climate change. for better or for worse.

A recent research has ordered that, in the next increasingly warm years, in the world, 56 percent of the area now devoted to vineyards will become unusable for wine-making. Also, places like Canada will become prime land for vineyards. Who in the middle will try to adapt. In this region, in terms of wine, an absolute symbol – the Champagne hills in the northeast of France – is making its way into the red of Pinot Noir or the white of Chardonnay. A scam, that is: no bubbles. Winners point out that with rising temperatures, the grapes ripen, the juice being heavier, more concentrated, notably less acidic, which is a classic figure of Champagne. A stable wine – white or red – is clearly the more efficient choice. For now, we hold 75,000 bottles a year, compared to 3 million bottles of traditional Champagne. But it’s not even a hobby: it has a name – Cteaux Champenois – and well-known names like Louis Roederer or Heidsieck produce it.

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And bubbles? Maybe not Champagne, but a quality sparkling white made a little further north, not much different from Champagne hills on land: beyond the sleeve, in Caen, where no wine since the Middle Ages has been seen. France began exploring the area shortly after a severe and deadly heatwave in France in 2003. And they’ve invested in big names like Pomery and Taittinger there. The vineyards in the region have quadrupled in the past twenty years and England produces 10-12 million bottles of a light and bright white each year.

Provided that no fire or flood comes and destroys everything. In these days of fires in the Mediterranean that flooded around the Rhine, close to them, a few weeks ago, it is, in fact, difficult to toast these success stories: after reading the latest UN report on the climate, one It feels like being in front of a parade of survivors. The flip side of global warming is meager and uncertain. Because maps depicting the future of global agriculture show us a revolution that rewards perhaps a handful of winners, but condemns the vast masses of victims of change. The future of wheat or maize lies in the semi-desert expanses of Siberia, the Great Canadian North, Scandinavia. But the same map shows the blank of India, China, Africa, Australia, waiting for the countries of the Mediterranean from Egypt to Spain, which Italy is passing through.

As is often the case, the quickest and most eloquent measure to evaluate an event is money, which is far more than the tons produced or the hectares cultivated. This practice was most recently carried out by the European Environment Agency (EEA), seeking to establish changes in the value of European agricultural land over the coming decades. In Sweden, the value of arable land would increase by more than 60 percent. In Scotland, prices will rise between 40 and 60 percent, in England between 20 and 40 percent.

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In most of Spain and throughout Italy, agricultural land would cost practically nothing. The loss of value will fluctuate between 60 and 90 percent and affect our entire peninsula. Overall, Italy’s agriculture will pay Europe’s highest toll on climate change. As in every bill, there is also a figure of 100 billion euros worth of increase in smoke (or even just in summer).


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