Climate change on world's food security more serious, hit earlier than previously thought
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/26/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The world's food supply is "woefully unprepared" to cope with climate change, aid group Oxfam warned this week. "Hunger is not and need never be inevitable. However climate change threatens to put back the fight to eradicate it by decades." The charity analyzed 10 factors that will have a significant influence on countries' ability to feed their people in a warmer world.
According to a recent United Nations report, median crop yields will decline by up to two percent during the rest of the century. Crop demand will grow to 14 percent each decade until 2050.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a recent United Nations report, median crop yields will decline by up to two percent during the rest of the century. Crop demand will grow to 14 percent each decade until 2050. According to a draft summary of the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the risks are greatest in tropical countries, due to higher poverty rates and lower ability to adapt.
Researchers say that it may be possible to protect crop production with adaptation measures amid warming of around two degrees Celsius, in places where local temperatures rise by four degrees or more, falling yields and growing food needs will pose "significant risks to food security even with adaptation," according to the report.
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The draft is still under negotiation by governments at a meeting in Japan this week. The report is also expected to warn of higher and more volatile food prices, Oxfam says, which itself estimates that world cereal prices could double by 2030, with half the increase driven by climate change.
"Serious gaps" between what governments are doing and what they need to do to protect their food systems from worsening extreme weather, as well as gradual shifts in temperature and rainfall, Oxfam noted. It examined 10 areas, giving the world's performance a mark out of 10 for each.
The worst-performing efforts were judged to be international adaptation finance and crop irrigation, followed by crop insurance and agricultural research and development.
Oxfam says that in regards to funding for climate change adaptation, developed nations have provided only around two percent of the money poor countries need. On irrigation, it highlighted how in drought-prone Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, irrigation covers less than 1 percent of arable land, compared with 80 percent in California.
Only two of the factors examined - public agricultural investment and humanitarian aid for food crises - scored more than five out of 10.
Worsening hunger and food insecurity is not an unavoidable consequence of climate change, the report says -- as long as temperature increases stay below three to four degrees Celsius.
"If governments act on climate change, it will still be possible to eradicate hunger in the next decade and ensure our children and grandchildren have enough to eat in the second half of the century," Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International's executive director, said in a statement.
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