FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Climate and World Hunger: Why the Poor Suffer Most

Climate change and natural resource depletion are causing the number of people suffering from hunger to rise following years of decline, according to three major reports.

Record food production and falling prices had generally boosted food security in recent years, the Economist Intelligence Unit said last week [26 September] in the latest edition of its annual index on global food security.

But it warned that fluctuating global economic growth, increasing inequality, political instability and forced migration were all damaging food security. Climate change and depletion of natural resources would aggravate the trend, severely threatening targets under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate hunger by 2030, it said.

815 milion people

So seriously does the research group take the threat that it has added a new category to its index to understand the impact the risk to resilience to shocks on natural resources will have on global food security. Many countries scored more poorly when this category was taken into account, for example, Singapore dropped 15 spots in the country rankings due to its susceptibility to rising sea levels and high dependence on food imports.

Meanwhile, a UN report warned that 815 million people, or 11% of the world population, were going hungry in 2016. This was an increase of 38 million compared with the previous year, and was largely due to the proliferation of violent conflicts and climate-related shocks, it said.

Conflicts had risen dramatically in number and complexity over the past decade, and some of the highest proportions of children suffering from hunger and malnutrition were concentrated in conflict zones, the report stated.

Climate related shocks

The prevalence of hunger in countries affected by conflict is 1.4 – 4.4 percentage points higher than in other countries, while in conflict zones compounded by a degraded environment, the prevalence is 11 and 18 percentage points higher, the report stated.

“Exacerbated by climate-related shocks, conflicts seriously affect food security and are a cause of much of the recent increase in food insecurity,” it said.

However, even in more peaceful regions, droughts or floods linked in part to the El Niño weather phenomenon have also seen food security and nutrition deteriorate, they added.

World’s poorest suffer most

Oxfam’s head of food and climate change Robin Willoughby said: “This must act as a wake-up call for international leaders and institutions to do more to resolve the catastrophic cocktail of climate change and conflict around the world. Global failure to tackle these issues affects us all, but it’s the world’s poorest who will suffer most.”

Finally, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said that good harvests in Latin America and rebounding agricultural conditions in Southern Africa were improving global food supply, but that ongoing civil conflicts and climate-related shocks were affecting progress in reducing hunger.

The UN agency estimated that 37 countries are currently in need of food aid. Persisting conflicts have continued to acutely affect agricultural production and food security conditions. Weather shocks, including floods in West Africa, hurricanes in the Caribbean and droughts in parts of East Africa, have compounded the fragile conditions in some of the conflict-affected countries and also resulted in production shortfalls, reducing the amount of food available, its report stated.

Production of cereal crops was expected to rise moderately in 2017, but hurricane Irma was expected to depress production in the affected areas, particularly in the Caribbean islands, it added.

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and the former deputy editor of the environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

This article originally appeared in The Ecologist.

 

More articles by:
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail