Monday, April 7, 2014

My Munchable Soapbox: A Climate-Changed World

Temperatures go up, but how much depends on how we live now (left: low emissions; right: high emissions).
As of late I may have been neglecting this blog, but on the bright side, climate change has recently been in the limelight! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just released its long awaited 5th assessment report (AR5) - well, actually, only the summary for policy makers. Now before you run away because I used scary acronyms, just let me note a few key points. This assessment has an emphasis on adapting to change, and for the first time as far as I know, explicitly acknowledges that ways of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) can also help us adapt to climate change! It's a pretty sobering picture, to say the least, and has particularly important implications for agriculture and food security.
Food and agriculture in 2050...a cautious tale and a need to act now!
So, some key points:
1. Climate change is having and will continue to have more negative than positive impacts on crops.
2. Human and ecological systems are vulnerable to climate extremes, and many sectors (including agriculture) are not prepared to face these changes.
3. Especially for the segment of society living in poverty, climate change impacts add an additional layer of complexity to many challenges already hindering making a living.
4. Warming trends, drought, flooding, and extreme/unpredictable rainfall pose a great risk for food insecurity and food system breakdown.
5. What we do now to adapt to and mitigate climate change affects the risks we will face in the future.

What does this mean for poverty and hunger?
Risks associated with climate change vary between geographies - some places crops are already experiencing considerable stress - but across the board, the poor and marginalised populations and communities bear the greatest portion of burden. It's not just the growing of food that is concern, but that access will become more difficult as variability goes up and prices destabilize. Food makes up one of the largest expenses for people in poverty, and even farmers are at serious risk of food shortage and hunger. However unfair it is, tropical regions are also expected to be more affected by climate catastrophes, and also coincides with areas dominated by small-scale farming and low incomes.

Live Below the Line is only three weeks away! I'm raising funds for the Rainforest Foundation, which is specifically focusing on these afformentioned tropical communities. Check out my page to learn more about the challenge and the organisation. 

Frugal Foodie and a recipe on later in the week...I promise! Both infographic images come from a new infonote launched the research programme on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).

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