"Cotton farmers in Texas suffered record losses amid heat and drought last year, new data shows. It’s an example of how global warming is a “secret driver of inflation.”"
"When the Agriculture Department finished its calculations last month, the findings were startling: 2022 was a disaster for upland cotton in Texas, the state where the coarse fiber is primarily grown and then sold around the globe in the form of tampons, cloth diapers, gauze pads and other products.
In the biggest loss on record, Texas farmers abandoned 74 percent of their planted crops — nearly six million acres — because of heat and parched soil, hallmarks of a megadrought made worse by climate change.
That crash has helped to push up the price of tampons in the United States 13 percent over the past year. The price of cloth diapers spiked 21 percent. Cotton balls climbed 9 percent and gauze bandages increased by 8 percent. All of that was well above the country’s overall inflation rate of 6.5 percent in 2022, according to data provided by the market research firms NielsenIQ and The NPD Group.
It’s an example of how climate change is reshaping the cost of daily life in ways that consumers might not realize."
Coral Davenport reports for the New York Times February 18, 2023.