All over the world, more extreme and less predictable weather is having an impact on people’s ability to feed themselves. In 2012, poor harvests caused by droughts in Russia and the US set global grainprices soaring, while an unusually wet UK summer pushed up vegetable prices inour supermarkets. In sub-Saharan Africa, recurrent droughts have caused widespread hunger and wiped out the incomes and livelihoods of millions of farming communities. At the same time, rising sea levels due to warmer temperatures and melting ice are causing farmland to be contaminated by seawater in countries like Bangladesh.Meanwhile in Latin America, shrinking glaciers are posing a threat to water supplies and farming across the entire Andean region. Today, around 870 million people will go hungry – and climatechange is one of the reasons why.
Dealing with the effects of climate change in developing countries is vital, as it has a direct impact on food production. Developed countries have committed to deliver $100 billion by 2020 to help the developing world tackle and adapt to climate change, but meeting that target will be difficult. The UK Government must therefore take a lead in pushing for a global agreement on raising climate finances from new sources - in particular from a proposed tax on shipping fuels.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the livestock sector is currently “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. The FAO estimates that livestock production is responsible for up to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 per cent. World scientists on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 80 per cent by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.