Climate crisis likely to cause food shortages before we reach 1.5°C threshold, UN expert says

This is due to the effects of the climate crisis, along with inadequate farming practices and water shortages, posing threats to agriculture worldwide.


According to Alain-Ricahrd Donwahi, the president of last year’s United Nations’ COP15 conference on desertification and a former defense minister from the Ivory Coast, it is likely that the planet will experience a major food supply disruption long before temperatures reach the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This is due to the effects of the climate crisis, along with inadequate farming practices and water shortages, posing threats to agriculture worldwide.

Climate change is a pandemic that we need to fight quickly. See how fast the degradation of the climate is going—I think it’s going even faster than we predicted,” Donwahi said, as The Guardian reported. “Everyone is fixated on 1.5C , and it’s a very important target. But actually, some very bad things could happen, in terms of soil degradation, water scarcity and desertification, way before 1.5C.”

Donwahi went on to say that heat waves, intensifying flooding and droughts, as well as increasing temperatures were causing the possibility of food insecurity in many parts of the world.

“We could have an acceleration of negative effects, other than temperature,” Donwahi said, as reported by The Guardian. “When the soil is affected, the yield is affected.”

Donwahi said private investors needed to become involved in agriculture.

“The private sector has an interest in agriculture, and the better usage of the soil. We’re talking about [improving] yields. We’re talking about agroforestry, which is another way the private sector can have a return on investment. We have to be innovative, to find new vehicles for finance,” Donwahi said, as Green Queen reported.

Just 4.3 percent of climate finance goes to agriculture and food, but they make up almost one third of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI).

“Climate finance for agrifood systems must increase at least sevenfold from current levels to reach the most conservative estimated needs for the climate transition, which is in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars annually,” CPI reported.

Additionally, less than one percent is directed to climate mitigation such as waste, food loss and low-carbon diets.

According to the first article in the United Nations Academic Impact series “Food Security and Climate Change,” food security is something the world needs to be thinking about now.

“In the next 30 years, food supply and food security will be severely threatened if little or no action is taken to address climate change and the food system’s vulnerability to climate change,” the article said.

In the United Kingdom, about half the food is imported, with a quarter of the imports from the Mediterranean, The Independent reported.

Recent heat waves, droughts, wildfires, intense rain and flooding have all led to crop damage in southern Europe.

“Shortages of salad and other vegetables in UK supermarkets in February this year caused by extremes in southern Spain and north Africa brought home to people just how vulnerable the UK is to the impacts of climate change on our food,” said Gareth Redmond-King, head of the international program at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, as reported by The Independent.

Donwahi said desertification is not something humans can ignore, as it affects everything from biodiversity to food security.

Desertification and drought leads to climate change, leads to loss of biodiversity. And when you have climate change you have droughts, floods, storms,” Donwahi said, as The Guardian reported. “It’s not only the poor countries, everybody is in the same boat [on food security].”


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