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High Food Prices Could Persist for Three More Years

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fertilizer shortages, and poor weather conditions across the globe, are playing havoc with global food supplies, leading to projections that food prices will remain high for years.

Additionally, global food security will not be restored for years as a result of this unprecedented worldwide disruption, with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres predicting multiple famines, with the crisis worsening next year.

“Typically, when we’re in a tight supply-demand environment you can rebuild it in a single growing season” Jason Newton, chief economist for fertilizer producer Nutrien Ltd., told Reuters. “Where we are today, and the constraints around boosting production and (war in) Ukraine … it’s two to three years before you get out of the current environment.”

To increase production and lower the highest food prices in decades, the Biden administration approved planting on environmentally sensitive land, increased the number of counties eligible for second-crop planting insurance, and boosted funding for domestic fertilizer production.

In other news:

Roundup: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Bayer AG’s effort to avoid paying billions of dollars in potential claims involving the weedkiller Roundup. The high court let stand an $87 million award to Alva and Alberta Pilliod, who claimed the weedkiller caused their cancers. The case was filed in California.

The judgment included $70 million in punitive damages, which Bayer claimed to be excessive. The company also argued there was no science to back up the Pilliods’ claims.

The suit was one of seven filed in California and inherited by Bayer when it bought Monsanto in 2018.

Climate: The Supreme Court limited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to fight climate change, saying the agency has no such authority. Chief Justice John Roberts said though capping carbon dioxide emissions may be the prudent thing to do, the EPA lacks explicit authority to draw up its own regulatory scheme.

The Biden administration had hoped to convert the nation’s power grid to clean energy by 2035 and make the entire country carbon-neutral by 2050 to tame rising temperatures and other consequences of climate change. A White House spokesman called the decision “devastating.”