Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Climate Change May Worsen Food Shortage in Africa, Asia, Says Study

Climate change may worsen food shortage in Africa, Asia, says study

Tuesday, 07 June 2011 00:00 From Collins Olayinka and Florence Lawrence,

Abuja News - A NEW study has warned that climate change may worsen the food crisis in Africa and South Asia and imperil hundreds of millions of already impoverished people.

Also, the United Nation’s Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has expressed concern over the slow pace of progress made internationally on environmental decline despite growing global awareness.

In his address at this year’s World Environmental Day (WED) tagged, “Forests: Nature at Your Service,” organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment, he said several changes had occurred 20 years after the 1992 Rio Earth conference.

The UN scribe whose speech was read yesterday in Abuja by the Resident Coordinator in Nigeria and the United Nations Development Programme, Daouda Toure, noted that evidence of profound and potentially irreversible changes in the ability of the planet to sustain world progress was also accumulating.

The new study entitled “Mapping Hotspots of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in the Global Tropics,” was produced by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The work was undertaken by a team of scientists responding to an urgent need to focus climate change adaptation efforts on people and places where the potential for harsher growing conditions posed the gravest threat to food production and security.

A statement obtained by The Guardian from CGIAR yesterday said the researchers pinpointed areas of intense vulnerability by examining a variety of climate models and indicators of food problems to create a series of detailed maps. One shows regions around the world at risk of crossing certain “climate thresholds” – such as temperatures too hot for maize or beans – that over the next 40 years could diminish food production. Another shows regions that may be sensitive to such climate shifts because in general they have large areas of land devoted to crop and livestock production. And finally, scientists produced maps of regions with a long history of food insecurity.

Commenting on the findings, a senior scientist at the CGIAR’s International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya and the study’s lead author, Polly Ericksen, said: “When you put these maps together they reveal places around the world where the arrival of stressful growing conditions could be especially disastrous. These are areas highly exposed to climate shifts, where survival is strongly linked to the fate of regional crop and livestock yields, and where chronic food problems indicate that farmers are already struggling and they lack the capacity to adapt to new weather patterns. This is a very troubling combination.”

For example, there are 56 million food-insecure and crop-dependent people in parts of West Africa, India and China who live in areas where, by the mid-2050s, maximum daily temperatures during the growing season could exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees )

No comments: