Lester Brown is probably the world's leading expert on food security. The prolific author of more than 50 books has shifted the goal posts on food politics debates many times over, starting with his first book in 1963, Man, Land and Food. His most famous book, Who Will Feed China?, launched conversations from Washington to London to Beijing about agricultural productivity in the world's most populous country. His books on international environmental issues have been translated into more than 40 languages.
With a significant amount of Russia's fields near Moscow going up in flames this summer, following a severe drought, Brown weighs in on what he finds most worrisome -- and what the future of global food security might look like.
Foreign Policy: When's the last time Russia faced a predicament like these recent droughts?
Lester Brown: Well, Russia has never seen anything exactly like this. One of the interesting things about the heat wave in Russia this year was, one, that it lasted two months -- it started in mid-late June and went until mid-August.
The other thing is that the average temperature in Moscow in July was 14 degrees higher than the norm. I mean, that is a huge jump. If it had been one day or a few days, that would have been one thing, but for the average for a month to be that high is a little bit scary because it is an example of the kinds of more extreme climate events that the climate models say we should expect as temperature rises.
FP: If the elevated temperatures and drought had happened in one of the world's breadbaskets -- say, the American Midwest or China -- what might the impact have been?