This is why the food riots will start in Paris

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Scientific American has a great article about how low rainfall means that Europe will be facing food shortages this summer. What's particularly interesting is that the water shortages will also affect energy production too, especially in France:

The French government has set up a committee to keep an eye on the country's electricity supply situation and monitor river levels, as 44 of the 58 nuclear reactors that supply 80 percent of France's electricity are cooled by river water.

The problem appears to be not that the reactors might overheat because of the lack of water but that the depleted rivers might overheat, creating ecological havoc, when the water returns to them after cooling the reactors.

The abnormally low rainfall and high temperatures — similar in northern Europe to the major drought of 1976, but actually worse in France — have also hit hydroelectric power availability and output in France.

This is the kind of unexpected domino effect caused by resource shortages. When we think about losing one resource, we rarely consider all the others that will be affected too.