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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This summer's extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.

Driving the news: Sugar, pinto beans and flour prices are all trending up due to dry conditions in the West.

  • Coffee hit the highest prices seen in over six years due to ongoing frost and drought during the Brazilian winter, Reuters reports.
  • Drought in Canada and the Northwestern U.S. pushed spring wheat crops to the highest point in over eight years, Bloomberg reports.

What they're saying: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that climate change and conflict are "both consequences and drivers" of poverty, income inequality and food prices.

  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged calm in an interview with Bloomberg, saying the food inflation rate "is not that much higher" than normal and will moderate.

Between the lines: It's difficult to separate extreme weather's effect on food supplies versus changes that can be traced to climate, Axios' Bryan Walsh notes. And some sharp food price increases can be attributed to economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Go deeper

1 in 5 Latino households had to skip meals in 2020, report finds

A volunteer at a food bank in Santa Barbara County, Calif., fills up a car with groceries in April. Photo: Daniel Dreifuss/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One in five Latino households with children in the U.S. had to skip meals during 2020, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

State of play: Latino and Black households were more likely not to have enough to eat during 2020 than they were in 2019, per USDA’s annual Household Food Security report.

Economists caution against declaring victory over inflation

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pace at which consumer prices rose in August cooled off by more than expected. But economists are stopping short of declaring that inflation has been transitory.

Why it matters: Since the beginning of the year, the rate of inflation has been above average.

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.