Well, the Warsaw summit on climate change has turned out to be a major disappointment, with many prominent NGOs walking out prematurely to signal their protest at governmental inaction and last-ditch agreements remaining vague and postponing real commitments to future meetings. Commentators especially deplored the lack of urgency that seemed to reign among the negotiators, all the more unwarranted since the summit came just at the heels of the disastrous typhoon in the Philippines, which many of the attendees’ speeches linked to the consequences of climate change. What would inaction mean in our field, concerning food policy? I found a couple of interesting graphs that might lend us some insights…
This is from a series called Post2015 by Farming First, which attempts to look ahead of the 2015 development agenda all the way to 2030 and showcase some potentials and challenges on the way.
On the website you can find a ton of other great facts on per capita consumption, production, water stress etc. in 2030 (also, the website has all the references for the mentioned stats, even though these featured jpgs don’t), but these graphs already paint a pretty grim picture – if we want to feed the growing expected demand, and most of the growth in production is expected to come from yield increases, we really don’t want these increases to be negatively affected by climate change, especially if it’s climate change that hasn’t happened yet, do we? Sadly, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report forecasts that this could indeed be the case, predicting a flattening of the global food supply and even a decrease of up to 2% each decade compared to what it could be without climate change.
No wonder that Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, highlights the importance of binding climate agreements not only for ‘the environment’, but also our own sake:
“Agriculture needs to take center stage when all national governments discuss climate change. The ever-increasing demand for food cannot be met by a shrinking capacity to produce food. The poorest people have the least amount of responsibility for climate change, yet already suffer the most from it. Negotiators need to devote their attention to the inextricable link between climate change and agriculture – not the opposite, which is what we are seeing now as climate negotiators focus narrowly on national interests and domestic politics.”
The Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security also has an awesomely informative website with loads of publications, blog posts and infographics on ‘climate-smart agriculture’ and the linkages between climate change and the ways we grow our food. Be sure to check it out!