Ah, the glorious summer of 2018. The fridge was always full of Red Stripe, your room was so hot at night it probably breached some sort of rental welfare rule, and you can now say you’ve perfected the ideal “watching football in the garden” technique (angle in shade/plastic chairs/Sensations crisps).
Except, while you were gallivanting around getting the cheapest tan of your goddamn life, our precious potato crop was suffering. According to a new climate change report, the British chip is now an inch shorter, due to extreme heat and drought this summer.
As reported today by the Guardian, summer 2018—which saw highs of 35.5 degrees Celsius in the south of England and some areas go without rain for 58 days—has led to the fourth lowest potato harvest in the last 60 years. The heatwave, which was the joint hottest on record, was made 30 times more likely because of climate change.
The report, titled “A Recipe for Disaster,” shows the damage global warming can cause on British fruit and vegetable crops. The group behind it—the Climate Coalition—is a collection of 130 organisation including the National Trust, WWF, and The Women’s Institute, and campaigns for the reduction of carbon emissions and food waste. Alongside potatoes, the report also notes that British yields of carrots, apples, and onions were down.
“The climate extremes of the past few years—including the snowfall and freezing temperatures of February and March 2018, and one of the driest June months in England and Wales since 1910,” the report claims, “have been devastating for UK fruit and vegetable farmers.”
While most British potatoes are homegrown, the report warns that extreme weather could lead to three-quarters of the land becoming unusable by 2050. Which would really damage a key tenant of British culture: fish and chips.
The Brits may love the sun, but if there’s one thing we’d give it up for, it’s good chips.
(Please bring back our potatoes).