Addressing Food Security in the Wake of Climate Change
“Some of the poorest regions in the world are the ones that are going to suffer the most. It is going to become a problem for the whole global community.“
In the latest climate change report by the UN published earlier this year, alarming facts were cited about how climate change is threatening global food security and can potentially cause large scale famine. Caused by changes in temperature and rainfall patterns, it’s estimated that food prices could rise anywhere between 3 percent and 84 percent by 2050.
“Some of the poorest regions in the world are the ones that are going to suffer the most. It is going to become a problem for the whole global community,” said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in a video documentary produced by Rockhopper TV for the BBC and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.
In Australia, seven years of drought have caused food prices to soar in New South Wales, a key rice producing area. “Things are looking very bleak,” shared a farmer in Moulamein, Australia. “For the last three years I’ve grown no rice.”
Global food shortages threaten poor countries the most. In Senegal, food production has already been badly affected by drought, but climate change has also caused temperatures to rise by 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 degrees Celsius) in the last 30 years—more than double the global average. However, efforts are underway to test various strains of rice to cope with more hostile conditions, such as heat stress or becoming more tolerant to increasing levels of water salinity.
Similarly, scientists at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom are using biotechnology to hunt for genes that defy drought and climate change. “We are exploring new options to identify crops that are resilient to poor soil, lack of water, and high temperature,” said Professor Wayne Powell, Director of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.
For more innovative solutions that are helping communities, states, and greater regions become more resilient to future disasters, here’s a look at how rapidly growing Asian cities are preparing.[ssba]