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How climate changes world hunger. The new map presented at COP21

Il World Food Programme ha presentato, alla Cop 21 di Parigi, un nuovo indicatore che misura l’impatto dei cambiamenti climatici sulla fame nel mondo.

How climate change will affect food security and, by consequence, the fight against world hunger over the next decades? A new indicator, presented at COP21 in Paris by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UK research institute Met Office Hadley Centre, explains it.

Current situation of world food insecurity
Current situation of world food insecurity ©www.metoffice.gov.uk

Millions of people at risk of hunger

The two institutions have calculated how food insecurity rate will change across the countries most affected. An online instrument allows you to explore future scenarios of global greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. Both factors (emissions and adaptation) can have three levels (low, medium, and high) and allow exploring two future time periods: 2050 and 2080.

Food insecurity in 2080
The map is a projection of 2080. It shows food insecurity levels all over the world. Those coloured in red are the most severe cases ©www.metoffice.gov.uk

“To create the maps – explains Richard Choularton, Chief of WFP’s Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes Unit – we’ve used a wide range of information, related to agricultural systems, access to drinking water, effects of climate change on forests, and how different areas provide food”. For instance, supposing that over the next decades CO2 emissions will be still high and that adaptation policies of the countries most affected by food insecurity will be insufficient, it is possible to verify that situation will worsen in a devastating way. In India, South Eastern Asia, Africa, Central America, and some countries of Latin America, the situation could become catastrophic.

Hunger has to be tackled on several fronts

“This instrument – said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive director – allows us to understand how hunger will change across the world depending on the actions that will be taken to curb climate change. The scenario we are facing shows that environmental problems will multiply risks for hundreds of thousands of people, if effective adaptation policies are not implemented and if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut”.

I dirigenti del World Food Programme delle Nazioni Unite presentano alla Cop 21 di Parigi il nuovo indicatore dell'insicurezza alimentare ©Andrea Barolini
United Nations World Food Programme presents at COP21 in Paris the new food insecurity index ©Andrea Barolini

Investing in only one of the two factors won’t be enough: data indeed show that implementing effective adaptation policies yet registering high levels of emissions (or vice versa), populations of tens of countries won’t be able to escape hunger. “It is an alert,” ended Cousin. “The good news is that we know that future is in our hands”.

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