Climate Change and Global Food Security
By admin June 23, 2015



Climate change poses a threat to the lives of global citizens in a variety of forms, from immediate disasters, taking the lives of thousands of people, to environmental problems that have long term effects. It is easier to study, estimate, prepare, and prevent environmental problems that cause long term effects than to do so for immediate disasters, including flood, drought, and earthquakes. In this context, it is critical to recognize how climate change will influence global food security given that its range of effect will be extensive. However, given the ability of researchers to study and mitigate long term effects there may be a way to attenuate the long term effects.

To start, climate change directly affects the agricultural production. Although there are some places where climate change positively affects the production of agriculture with enough sunlight, more places are being negatively affected with these effects expected to increase. According to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released last year, reduced agricultural yields from issues caused by climate change will visible by 2030. The report also recommended some adaptation strategies including developing new crop varieties, planting date adjustment, irrigation optimization, and fertilizer optimization.

Climate change is also believed to affect global health and nutrition. A high absorption of carbon dioxide will curtail the amount of nutritious elements, including zinc, iron and protein, and increase the starch and sugar content in major food crops worldwide. This can exacerbate the problem of malnutrition, especially in poor regions. Furthermore, frequent droughts will result in reduced water sources and conflicts over water, as shown in the cases of armed conflicts in Sudan, Syria, and Egypt where severe droughts generated economic hardships.

Trade is considered one of the primary climate change adaptation strategies in that it can mitigate the adverse effect of climate change by exporting surplus food to negatively affected countries. However, trade cannot solve the problem alone. Increased dependence on trade for food consumption will cause increase price volatility. Moreover, trade can be influenced by climate change since extreme weather conditions, such as droughts and cyclones, can bring about problems in transportation system, supply chains and logistics.

The most dismal fact regarding climate change is that it will affect the poor, the weak, and the elderly the most. The poor farmers cannot afford to try to implement new farming strategies that are tolerable to extreme weather. Poor countries find it difficult to deal with adverse effects from climate change, let alone dealing with increased food security issues. The FAO underscored that “climate change will affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food system stability.” Poor countries have inadequate resources to make preparations for these potential issues compared to wealthier countries. Therefore, as a part of global development efforts, global citizens need to commonly endeavor to save energy and take on and support more research that aims to create adaptation strategies against climate change.


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