Climate change could raise food insecurity risk

A study, led by the University of Exeter, examined how climate change could affect the vulnerability of different countries to food insecurity – when people lack access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The study looked at 122 developing and least-developed countries, mostly in Asia, Africa and South America. “Climate change is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of the world,” said Professor Richard Betts, Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter.

Scientists looked at the difference between global warming of 1.5°C and C (compared to pre-industrial levels): “Some change is already unavoidable, but if global warming is limited to 1.5°C, this vulnerability is projected to remain smaller than at 2°C in approximately 76% of developing countries.”

Wetter conditions are expected to have the biggest impact in South and East Asia, with the most extreme projections suggesting the flow of the River Ganges could more than double at C global warming.

Warming is expected to lead to wetter conditions on average – with floods putting food production at risk – but agriculture could also be harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas. The areas worst affected by droughts are expected to be southern Africa and South America – where flows in the Amazon are projected to decline by up to 25%.

[University of Exeter]

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