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Texas Matters: How Climate Change is driving up food prices

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Food prices are up all over the grocery store, but the cost of eggs has almost hit the breaking point. In a month’s time they’ve about doubled in price.

J.C. Essler is the Texas Poultry Federation’s Executive Vice President. He says there are many reasons why eggs have gotten expensive.

“One is the inflation, the other is the supply chain issue and also unfortunately we are dealing with bird flu which is limiting supply,” said Essler.

Bird flu is a highly contagious virus that is often fatal to chickens. In the last year more than 57 million birds in hundreds of commercial flocks have been affected by it.

But Essler said the holidays also drive up the price of eggs.
“Hopefully in the near future we’ll see that demand from the holiday market maintain off and kind of get to a better price point,” he said.

Essler didn’t say that climate change is driving up egg prices, but he did mention the increased cost for feed. Feed prices are up about 30 percent.

Growing the grain for chickens and other livestock has been impacted by the drought, high temperatures and unpredictable weather.

And that’s driving up food prices.

A new report from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley highlights climate change as a cause for rising food insecurity. According to the food access study 2022 was one of the driest years on record for Texas.

Many farmers across the state saw reduced yields due to the drought and prolonged high temperatures that heat-stressed crops.

Ranchers also were also hammered by the high heat. They were forced to reduce their herd size by nearly 2.7 million head of cattle. That's the highest sell-off in more than a decade.

According to the report, drought is expected to continue in Texas for a decade.

Food Policy
Edwin Marty is the Food Policy Manager for the City of Austin. He says the impacts of climate change on food access and affordability is more and more obvious.

What Exxon Knew
For many, the impact of climate change is no surprise. The science has been clear for decades that mankind’s burning of fossil fuels is dumping carbon into the atmosphere, and this is trapping heat—thus warming the planet and changing the climate.

But one of the first organizations to realize this was ExxonMobil.

Scientists working for the Texas-based petroleum giant recognized as early as the 1970s that global warming is real, even as the company was making public statements that contradicted these conclusions.

That’s according to a new study published this week in the journal Science.

Apparently, Exxon didn’t just confirm that climate change is real, but it was able to forecast the coming planet warming with precision equal to or better than government and academic scientists.

Naomi Oreskes is a Harvard science history professor and a co-author of the study Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi