A US-UK joint report on Friday warned that the increasing frequency of climate change will eventually lead to global food shortages. The weather events would bring drought, heat waves, floods, super typhoons that would affect food production, and the international community should be ready to respond to price shocks to prevent civil unrest.
The joint task force on said that food shortages, price spikes and market volatility are likely to occur every 30 years, instead of being a once-in-a-century event. Spokesperson and acting ambassador for the UK Champion for Global Food Security Tim Benton has predicted a food shortage scenario through the study, and the steps to take for preventing the risk of food shortage brought about by climate change. The study also mentions that food supply may be taken for granted while shortage is yet to begin.
Dr Aled Jones, of Anglia Ruskin University, co-authored a report by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience, which warns of an increase in extreme weather events such as severe heat waves, droughts and floods.
“The climate is changing and weather records are being broken all the time,” David King, the UK foreign minister’s Special Representative for Climate Change in the report.
Though globalization and new technologies have made the food system more efficient, but it is prone to risks. The major risks include a rise in oil prices, increasing fuel costs and reduced export capacity in Brazil. Export capacity might also be reduced in the Black Sea or the United States, and the depreciation of the dollar could cause in the rise of the dollar-listed commodities. The shortage is likely to hit poor countries like Africa hard as they are dependent on imports.
The report (pdf) advises countries not to place any export restrictions caused by wild weather as Russia did following a poor harvest in 2010. Researchers recommend that agricultural methods must be adapted to the rising international demand and global warming as climate change would put pressure on production in the future.
Last year, the UN issued a warning that global food production must rise by 60 percent in 2050, to avoid social unrest and civil wars caused by food shortages.