Predictions of another potentially hot and dry growing season across large areas of the nation has many wondering if the previous two years of extreme heat and drought experienced in the U.S. is the “new norm,” and if so, what is driving global weather changes in modern times?

A new European study may shed light on that question and may provide hope if world leaders are willing to accept that Earth’s environment is indeed changing. The study indicates a global food crisis could be delayed by years if carbon emissions are reduced worldwide, but warns that extreme and record-breaking heat waves like those experienced last year across Europe and in 2003 could become more frequent if greenhouse gas emissions continue to affect the climate.

The study, jointly conducted by UK’s University of Leeds and the University of Reading, and first published in The Guardian, cites severe heat waves, such as those currently seen in Australia, as potential threats to the world food supply by reversing a trend for rising crop yields and because such extreme weather conditions like last year’s flooding in the UK will become more frequent in the years ahead.

The study further claims extreme heat last year in North America lead to 2012 being the hottest year on record in the United States and the worst crop year in more than two decades. The new research, which cited corn test sites in France, predicts possible crop losses of up to 12 percent for corn over the next two decades and suggests wheat and soybean production could fall by as much as 30 percent by 2050 as the world continues to warm.