Agri-business News food riots

Published on June 7th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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New York Times, Oxfam, & Others Pick Up the Climate Change–Food Insecurity Story

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Food riot in Algeria

You may be getting tired of my stories on climate change and food, but I think this is a critical topic already significantly affecting the lives of tens of millions of people (or more) that will become increasingly important in the years to come (if we don’t do something to address climate change NOW).

I’m not the only one trying to draw a little more attention to this critical topic, but not many big media agencies have been doing so (yet). This weekend, though, the New York Times published an above-the-fold, 4000-word, front-page story on the matter! The title: A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself.

This piece covers many of the topics I’ve been writing about from time to time this year:

  • a growing imbalance between food supply and demand
  • the link between global warming, ‘natural’ disasters, and crop failures/food losses
  • the link between food insecurity and political unrest

(See links on the bottom of the page for some of my stories on these matters.)

On climate change, here’s a nice summary statement from the NYTimes: “Now, the latest scientific research suggests that a previously discounted factor is helping to destabilize the food system: climate change.” And the two paragraphs that directly follow:

Many of the failed harvests of the past decade were a consequence of weather disasters, like floods in the United States, drought in Australia and blistering heat waves in Europe and Russia. Scientists believe some, though not all, of those events were caused or worsened by human-induced global warming.

Temperatures are rising rapidly during the growing season in some of the most important agricultural countries, and a paper published several weeks ago found that this had shaved several percentage points off potential yields, adding to the price gyrations.

The paper mentioned above was published in the journal Science: “Climate Trends and Global Crop Production Since 1980.”

Of course, I recommend you check out the full NYTimes piece, as it really is a good read (and not everything on there is these days).

However, before heading over there, I also wanted to direct you attention to two more recent pieces on this matter:

  1. A new report out by Oxfam finds that prices of key, staple foods (which I’ve already reported have hit record levels this year) could more than double in the next two decades, in large part due to global climate change.
  2. A top UN official — Omar Baddour, division chief of the World Meteorological Organization’s World Climate Data & Monitoring Program — recently warned that extreme weather events resulting from climate change could severely disrupt crop production and increase global food prices (and, thus, food insecurity).

food security threatened by climate change

It’s all the same thing, just found by different researchers, reported by different people, and said in slightly different ways. The bottom line is that our climate is critical to our ability to grow food, and we are severely screwing up our climate.

Want to take action?

Check out some of the top going green tips I’ve recommend over on Planetsave, in particular:

  1. Go Solar
  2. Green Your Transport
  3. Go Vegetarian or Vegan

h/t Climate Progress & Yale Environment 360

Related Stories on Eat Drink Better:

  1. Food Security & Global Weirding
  2. Climate Change and Rise in Food Prices
  3. Food & Climate Change [VIDEO]
  4. Food Prices Rising Fast in U.S., More to Come?
  5. Texas’ Worst Drought in 44 Years Driving Food Prices Up

Photo via magharebia



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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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