Fossil fuels are making you hungry
Posted 23 April 2013 in
In February, we wrote about a USDA report showing the devastation that oil-driven climate change will bring to food production in the United States. And now, the Japan Times has pulled together similar data from other countries, arriving at one inescapable conclusion: rising global temperatures will reduce crop yields and cause food prices to skyrocket, translating to political instability as populations continue to swell:
“We should expect much more political destabilization of countries as [climate change] bites,” said Richard Choularton, a policy officer in the U.N. World Food Program’s climate change office. “What is different now from 20 years ago is that far more people are living in places with a higher climatic risk: 650 million people now live in arid or semiarid areas where floods and droughts and price shocks are expected to have the most impact.
“The recent crises in the Horn of Africa and Sahel may be becoming the new normal. Droughts are expected to become more frequent. Studies suggest anything up to 200 million more food-insecure people by 2050 or an additional 24 million malnourished children. In parts of Africa we already have a protracted and growing humanitarian disaster,” he said. “Climate change is a creeping disaster.”
Although this future looks bleak, speeding the transition from petroleum to more renewable fuel will reduce greenhouse gases — and maybe global hunger as well.