Scientists have warned that climate change in coming decades will cause more floods in the Northern Hemisphere and droughts in the south and in arid areas, which may lead to a global food crisis.
Areas that will suffer water shortages include the Mediterranean Sea basin, the western US, parts of southern Africa and northeastern Brazil. The rising frequency and intensity of floods and droughts could lead to a food crisis.
We may see a decline in agriculture production, but as could be expected with higher incomes and population growth, we could get an increase in demand for food. The decline of water quantity and quality would have a negative impact on health and result in more areas affected by water stress — the shortage of water for drinking and agriculture.
While the proportion of heavy rainfalls will very likely increase, so will the areas simultaneously affected by extreme droughts. There is also a problem of glaciers and mountain snow melting around the world. Himalayan glaciers which provide millions of people in India and China with drinking water are potentially disappearing. Everybody pretty much agrees that water is central to the way climate change is going to affect ecosystems and every human being. It is one of the key things that we depend on.
The mega-deltas of rivers in Asia, such as the Mekong, as one of the areas where floods were an increasing concern. Those places will be much more vulnerable in the future. In the US, physically the changes will be pretty intense. There’s a high likelihood of the west getting drier.
Top finance and development officials from around the globe already calling for urgent action to stem rising food prices warning that social unrest will spread unless the cost of basic staples is contained.
World Bank President already said that money had to be put in Food and Agriculture so that hungry mouths can be fed. It is as stark as that. The world leaders on the issue of skyrocketing food prices are saying the matter has to be addressed at the front and center at the highest political levels.
Concerns about food costs took on new urgency as senators in Haiti ousted the prime minister after a week of food-related rioting in which at least five people died. There have also been protests in Cameroon, Niger and Burkina Faso in Africa, and in Indonesia and the Philippines.
In just two months, rice prices have shot up around 75 per cent, closing in on historic highs. Meanwhile, the cost of wheat has climbed by 120 per cent over the past year, more than doubling the price of bread in most poor countries.
The problem is most worrying in developing countries where food represents a larger share of what consumers buy. It threatens to sharply increase malnutrition and hunger, while reversing progress in reducing poverty and debt burdens among the poorest nations.
Indian FM is of the opinion rising food costs threatened to stir more social unrest. It is becoming starker by the day that unless acted up on fast for a global consensus on the price spiral, the social unrest induced by food prices in several countries will conflagrate into a global contagion, leaving no country — developed or otherwise – unscathed.
The global community must collectively deliberate on immediate steps to reverse the unconscionable increases in the price of food, which threatens to negate the benefits to the poor nations from aid, trade and debt relief.
Britain has expressed their commitment of his country to work with others to bring food prices down. Now is the time for urgent action to tackle the crisis, which is affecting millions of the poorest people across the globe. A situation is reached where governments should resist the temptation to fight soaring food costs with price controls which is likely to backfire.
The World Bank has warned that food prices will remain elevated this year and next and likely stay above 2004 levels through 2015. One of the main factors behind the surge in prices is the increased use of crops for biofuels as an alternative energy source. Almost all the rise in global corn production from 2004 to 2007 went to biofuels in the United States.
Other factors that have contributed to the rise are the growth in demand in Asia and droughts in food-producing nations like Australia. Climate change is also contributing to the food scarcity.