The year 2010 is shaping up to be the hottest 12-month period since climate record-keeping began. Even if you didn’t personally experience a hot summer in your region, temperatures topped out in Russia this year, and other areas experienced unusual flooding, as well. Climate change can affect global food supplies because, as rains increase or decrease, it becomes more difficult to grow and harvest crops.
With the changing climate, regions get unusual weather patterns. Drought or extreme rains are two extremes that can impact crops. In Russia, wildfires resulting from the hottest summer on record destroyed nearly 1/3 of the country’s buckwheat crop. As a result, the government has banned wheat exports through October, which have led to massive price hikes in other areas of the world that didn’t even experience the extreme weather, including Pakistan and Mozambique.
Don’t think it sounds like a big deal? Watch this!
Countries like Mozambique are more likely to experience food insecurity in times like these. Sudan, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan are all at risk of climate fueled food shortages.
In November 2009 a technical paper warning of climate changes affect on food security was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by groups like OXFAM, WHO, CARE and Save the Children.
It claimed that, “Climate change directly affects food security and nutrition. It undermines current efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods and end the suffering of the over 1 billion food insecure people and will increase the risk of hunger and malnutrition by an unprecedented scale within the next decades.” The paper also estimated that, “By 2050, the risk of hunger is projected to increase by 10 – 20 %, and child malnutrition is anticipated to be 20 % higher compared to a no-climate change scenario.”
How can we address climate change and address global food supplies?
Relief supplies to impacted countries is the first response solution. But preventing climate change long term by cutting CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gas emissions is what we need to consider over time.