TIME TO ACT
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.