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The Peak (Malaysia) - - The Peak Expert -

If we don’t change now, an ad­di­tional 120 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide would end up in ex­treme poverty by 2030 as a re­sult of cli­mate change.

If you’re look­ing for a gloomy read, you could hardly do worse than the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­cently pub­lished 2016 State of Food and Agri­cul­ture re­port. Warn­ing that cli­mate change is “a ma­jor and grow­ing threat to global food se­cu­rity”, the re­port an­tic­i­pates that it could in­crease num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in ex­treme poverty by more than 120 mil­lion by 2030. In a clear dis­missal of cli­mate change de­niers, the re­port does not doubt that this will af­fect agri­cul­ture and food se­cu­rity world­wide, and that its neg­a­tive im­pact will in­crease in sever­ity as it ac­cel­er­ates. In vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas, in­clud­ing small is­lands, the reper­cus­sions will be “cat­a­strophic”.

While slow-mov­ing cli­mate change would al­low agri­cul­ture to adapt, abrupt shifts would ren­der ad­e­quate ad­just­ments im­pos­si­ble, with pos­si­ble con­se­quences in­clud­ing ex­ten­sive de­clines in crop yields and pro­gres­sively higher and more volatile food prices. While it ad­vo­cates di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of pro­duc­tion, greater in­te­gra­tion with the nat­u­ral habi­tat, agroe­col­ogy and sus­tain­able ac­cel­er­a­tion as ways to help small-scale farm­ers adapt to the warm­ing cli­mate, the re­port also high­lights that agri­cul­ture and re­lated land use is re­spon­si­ble for at least 20 per cent of global green­house gas emis­sions, an is­sue that also needs rem­e­dy­ing.

As a whole, the re­port paints a bleak pic­ture of where we are headed: “In the longer run, un­less mea­sures are put in place to halt and re­verse cli­mate change, food pro­duc­tion could be­come im­pos­si­ble in large ar­eas of the world.” No doubt about it, cli­mate change will cause more peo­ple around the world, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ing na­tions, to fall into poverty, and there is no es­cap­ing the im­pact of higher food prices, re­gard­less if your coun­try is de­vel­oped or not. The up­side is, there is much we can do to avoid this de­noue­ment; the dif­fi­culty is that, what­ever changes or sac­ri­fices that need to be made, has to start right now.

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