Climate Change Killing Off Almonds

California’s changing temperatures are leading to decreased yields of almonds and pistachios.


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A recent National Public Radio (NPR) feature focused on the rising temperatures across California and the effect of climate change on crops grown there, particularly pistachios and almonds. NPR spoke to nut tree farmers in California who said that their trees were not getting enough “sleep”—or a certain amount of cold weather necessary for proper growth—due to rising temperatures. Local pistachio farmer Tom Coleman told NPR that during the last four years, his trees “slept” less than 500 of the required 700 hours for optimal growth, resulting in decreased yield. The same is true for other nut trees in the region, including almonds—100 percent of the national commercial supply of which are grown in California. When it comes to climate change, the United Nations determined that animal agriculture emits more greenhouse gases than all of transportation combined. Many California dairy farmers have opted to raise almond trees instead of cows to cut emissions, which resulted in 10,000 fewer cows used for milk in California during the first half of 2016.