Tag-arkiv: Food

Sardines swim into northern waters to keep cool


climate news network: Several important fish species that for centuries have been part of the staple diet of people in the Mediterranean region are abandoning sub-tropical seas because the water is too warm and are heading north.

Sardines, which for generations have been the most abundant commercial fish species in Portugal, are moving away. They are now established in the North Sea, and are being caught in the Baltic – a sea that until recently was normally frozen over in the winter.

Sardines, anchovies and mackerel − three fish species that are important in the diet of many southern European and North African countries − have been studied by scientists trying to discover how climate change and warming seas are affecting their distribution.

More on climate news network

Journal: Global Change Biology

Warming shelf seas drive the subtropicalization of European pelagic fish communities
Ignasi Montero-Serra, Martin Edwards and Martin J. Genner
Article first published online: 31 OCT 2014

DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12747


Scientists track natural responses to climate change

climate news network: Lumberjacks are selecting different trees, US fishermen are sailing further north to catch black sea bass, desert birds are nesting later in California and Arizona, and one kind of wildflower is changing shape in the Rocky Mountains − and all in response to climate change, according to new research.

None of these responses is simple, or necessarily ominous, and global warming is not the only factor at work. But all are nevertheless examples of adaptation to − so far – very modest changes in temperature.


Half of plants may move in warmer world

climate news network: By 2100, vegetation patterns will be shifting in almost half the land area of the planet, according to new research in the journal Global and Planetary Change.

Song Feng of the University of Arkansas in the US and colleagues in Nebraska, China and South Korea have taken a long cool look at what the projected patterns of warming are likely to do to the planet’s mosaic of climate types. And they predict dramatic changes.

More: http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2014/02/half-of-plants-may-move-in-warmer-world/

University of Arkansas: Climate Study Projects Major Changes in Vegetation Distribution by 2100

Global food markets: Climate impacts would be more costly than bioenergy effects

Potsdam: Ambitious greenhouse-gas mitigation consistent with the 2 degrees target is likely to require substantial amounts of bioenergy as part of the future energy mix. Though this does not come without risks, global food markets would be affected much more by unmitigated climate change than by an increased bioenergy demand, a study led by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) now finds. Agricultural prices could be about 25 percent higher in 2050 through direct climate impacts on crop yields in comparison to a reference scenario without climate change. By way of contrast, a high bioenergy demand as part of a scenario with ambitious mitigation appears to raise prices only about 5 percent.

More: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/news/press-releases/global-food-markets-climate-impacts-would-be-more-costly-than-bioenergy-effects

New actors in the Arctic ecosystem

alfred wegner

Biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have for the first time shown that amphipods from the warmer Atlantic are now reproducing in Arctic waters to the west of Spitsbergen. This surprising discovery indicates a possible shift of the Arctic zooplankton community, scientists report in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. The primary victims of this “Atlantification” are likely to be marine birds, fish and whales. The reason is that the migrating amphipods measure around one centimetre, and so are smaller than the respective Arctic species; this makes them less nutritious prey.

more: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/new_players_in_the_arctic_ecosystem_atlantic_amphipods_reproduce_successfully_in_arctic_waters/?cHash=68999689af4ef7b43671200068eb60f8


Kraft A, Nöthig EM, Bauerfeind E, Wildish DJ and others (2013) First evidence of reproductive success in a southern invader indicates possible community shifts among Arctic zooplankton. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 493:291-296

Climate Change Seen Posing Risk to Food Supplies

NYT: Climate change will pose sharp risks to the world’s food supply in coming decades, potentially undermining crop production and driving up prices at a time when the demand for food is expected to soar, scientists have found.

The warnings come in a leaked draft of a report under development by a United Nations panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The document is not final and could change before it is released in March.


Escaping the warmth: The Atlantic cod conquers the Arctic

polar cod

Alfred Wegener Institute: As a result of climate change the Atlantic cod has moved so far north that it’s juveniles now can even be found in large numbers in the fjords of Spitsbergen. This is the conclusion reached by biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), following an expedition to this specific region of the Arctic Ocean, which used to be dominated by the Polar cod. The scientists now plan to investigate whether the two cod species compete with each other and which species can adapt more easily to the altered habitats in the Arctic. more

Climate change will upset vital ocean chemical cycles

plankton uk

New research from the University of Exeter and the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that rising ocean temperatures will upset natural cycles of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorous. Plankton plays an important role in the ocean’s carbon cycle by removing half of all CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and storing it deep under the sea – isolated from the atmosphere for centuries.

Findings published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveal that water temperature has a direct impact on maintaining the delicate plankton ecosystem of our oceans. The new research means that ocean warming will impact plankton, and in turn drive a vicious cycle of climate change. read more

Spread of crop pests threatens global food security as Earth warms

University of Exeter: A new study has revealed that global warming is resulting in the spread of crop pests towards the North and South Poles at a rate of nearly 3 km a year.  The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change and carried out by researchers at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford, shows a strong relationship between increased global temperatures over the past 50 years and expansion in the range of crop pests. Currently 10-16% of global crop production is lost to pests. Crop pests include fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects, nematodes, viroids and oomycetes. The diversity of crop pests continues to expand and new strains are continually evolving. Losses of major crops to fungi, and fungi-like microorganisms, amount to enough to feed nearly nine percent of today’s global population. The study suggests that these figures will increase further if global temperatures continue to rise as predicted.

Read more: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_316965_en.html


Crop pests and pathogens move polewards in a warming world

Daniel P. Bebber, Mark A. T. Ramotowski & Sarah J. Gurr

Nature Climate Change (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1990

Guardian: Hundreds of crop pests are advancing away from the tropics at a rate of nearly two miles a year, research has shown.  The mostly likely explanation for the trend is said to be climate change as rising temperatures make new habitats more inviting.  Pest invasions driven by global warming have serious implications for agriculture and food security, according to scientists.  Already, between 10% and 16% of global crop production is lost to pests such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, insects and worms.

Losses caused by fungi and fungi-like micro-organisms alone amount to enough to feed 8.5% of the global population.

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/02/climate-change-crop-pests

World’s melting glaciers making large contribution to sea rise

University Colorado Boulder

CU-Boulder: While 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.

The new research found that all glacial regions lost mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.



Melting Glaciers, Not Just Ice Sheets, Stoking Sea-Level Rise,

Richard A. Kerr

Science 17 May 2013: Vol. 340 no. 6134 p. 798 DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6134.798

Warming Oceans Are Reshaping Fisheries

UBC: Climate change has been impacting global fisheries for the past four decades by driving species towards cooler, deeper waters, according to University of British Columbia scientists.

In a Nature study published this week, UBC researchers used temperature preferences of fish and other marine species as a sort of “thermometer” to assess effects of climate change on the worlds oceans between 1970 and 2006.  They found that global fisheries catches were increasingly dominated by warm-water species as a result of fish migrating towards the poles in response to rising ocean temperatures.

“One way for marine animals to respond to ocean warming is by moving to cooler regions,” says the study’s lead author William Cheung, an assistant professor at UBC’s Fisheries Centre. “As a result, places like New England on the northeast coast of the U.S. saw new species typically found in warmer waters, closer to the tropics.  “Meanwhile in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security.”


PEW: Scientists Detect Global Shift in Species

For the first time, scientists have shown that ocean warming has had a global impact on the mix of species caught by fishermen. Previous studies indicated that some species are shifting location in response to temperature increases, with fish gradually moving away from the equator into cooler waters. However, research published in May 2013 in Nature shows that species from warmer waters have also been replacing those traditionally caught in many fisheries worldwide at least since 1970.

The authors found that, except in the tropics, catch composition in most ecosystems slowly changed to include more warm-water species and fewer cool-water species. In the tropics, the catch followed a similar pattern from 1970 to 1980 and then stabilized, likely because there are no species with high enough temperature preferences to replace those that declined. Statistical models showed that the increase in warm-water species was significantly related to increasing ocean temperatures.

warming oceans


Over half the world’s population could rely on food imports by 2050

Guardian: Potsdam Institute projection suggests population growth would increase imported food, even without climate change.

Although many countries choose to import food right now, the model showed that there are surprisingly few that could not maintain the same diet and still be food self-sufficient. “Today, 66 countries are not able to be self-sufficient due to water and/or land constraints,” said Fader. This equates to 16% of the world’s population depending on food imported from other countries.  The countries with the most reliance on imports were found in North Africa, the Middle East and Central America, with over half the population depending on imported food in many of these locations. Outside those locations many countries could become food self-sufficient if they chose to.


Journal Paper:

Spatial decoupling of agricultural production and consumption: quantifying dependences of countries on food imports due to domestic land and water constraints

Marianela Fader et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 014046


© 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd

Received 12 November 2012, accepted for publication 6 March 2013

Published 26 March 2013

Climate change: how a warming world is a threat to our food supplies

Guardian: Drought, rocketing bread prices, food and water shortages have all blighted parts of the Middle East. Analysts at the Centre for American Progress in Washington say a combination of food shortages and other environmental factors exacerbated the already tense politics of the region. As the Observer reports today, an as-yet unpublished US government study indicates that the world needs to prepare for much more of the same, as food prices spiral and longstanding agricultural practices are disrupted by climate change.

“We should expect much more political destabilisation of countries as it bites,” says Richard Choularton, a policy officer in the UN’s World Food Programme 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 semi-arid areas where floods and droughts and price shocks are expected to have the most impact.


Mekong hit by climate change

Vietnam.net: Final results of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded study, that were released at a regional workshop in Bangkok, indicate that changes in climate will likely trigger decreases in yields and in the suitability of key commercial and staple crops of the region.  The basic staple crop of the region – the rain-fed rice – would see a significant decrease in yield in seven out of eight provinces across the region that had been identified by the study as “hot spots.”


USAID: Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Study for the Lower Mekong Basin


New heat-, drought- and flood-tolerant crops

Global Crop Diversity Trust: New Pact Invests US$109 Million to Secure Raw Genetic Material Critical to Maintaining Food Production Worldwide

Concerned that inconsistent funding eventually could weaken a global network of seed banks at a time when farmers face unprecedented challenges, two of the world’s leading agriculture organizations announced today a bold new effort to secure what many consider the foundation of food security in the developing world.

“With climate change greatly intensifying demands on plant breeders to develop new heat-, drought- and flood-tolerant crops, it is particularly important for the samples conserved in the CGIAR’s genebanks to be readily accessible and in optimal condition,” said Åslaug Marie Haga, incoming executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. “The viability of agriculture depends on the incredible treasure of crop diversity housed in the CGIAR genebanks.” More

Feeding the 9 Billion: The tragedy of waste


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Today, we produce about four billion metric tonnes of food per annum. Yet due to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as market and consumer wastage, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced never reaches a human stomach. Furthermore, this figure does not reflect the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilisers and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs which simply end up as waste. This level of wastage is a tragedy that cannot continue if we are to succeed in the challenge of sustainably meeting our future food demands. More

Climate change growing threat to food, biodiversity

(AlertNet) – Climate change is a major threat to the world’s food supply and to biodiversity, and prompt action to deal with it is crucial, environmental experts said at the close of the World Conservation Congress.  Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that shifts in weather patterns suggest that problems for people and the environment will multiply if no action is taken on climate change.Continue

Hunger may be largest health impact of climate change

hunger alertnet www.trust.org

LONDON (AlertNet) – Malnutrition is likely to be the most serious health threat linked to climate shifts in the coming decades, as farmers struggle to cope with more unpredictable weather, a top health expert has said.

Linkages between climate change, extreme weather and health have so far focused mainly on an expected increase in deaths from disasters and heat waves, as well as rising cases of malaria, dengue fever and diarrhoea. Continue

Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal

TED Talks: Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible — but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.

Tristram Stuart sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps. Continue

World confronts serious water crisis

InterAction Council: The world today confronts a water crisis with critical implications for peace, political stability and economic development, experts warn in a new report issued jointly by the InterAction Council (IAC), a group of 40 prominent former government leaders and heads of state, United Nations University, and Canada’s Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.

“The future political impact of water scarcity may be devastating,” says former Canadian Prime Minister and IAC co-chair Jean Chrétien. “Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future. The IAC is calling on the United Nations Security Council to recognize water as one of the top security concerns facing the global community.”

“Starting to manage water resources more effectively and efficiently now will enable humanity to better respond to today’s problems and to the surprises and troubles we can expect in a warming world.”

In her foreword to the report, “The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue,” IAC member and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, underlined the danger in many regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa or West Asia and North Africa, where critical water shortages already exist. Continue

AlertNet: Twenty more “Niles” needed to feed growing population.

The world needs to find the equivalent of the flow of 20 Nile rivers by 2025 to grow enough food to feed a rising population and help avoid conflicts over water scarcity, a group of former leaders said on Monday.

Factors such as climate change would strain freshwater supplies and nations including China and India were likely to face shortages within two decades, they said, calling on the U.N. Security Council to get more involved. Continue

Severe Droughts Drive Food Prices Higher, Threatening the Poor

World Bank: Global food prices soared by 10 percent in July from a month ago, with maize and soybean reaching all-time peaks due to an unprecedented summer of droughts and high temperatures in both the United States and Eastern Europe, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Food Price watch report

From June to July, maize and wheat rose by 25 percent each, soybeans by 17 percent, and only rice went down, by 4 percent. Overall, the World Bank’s Food Price Index, which tracks the price of internationally traded food commodities, was 6 percent higher than in July of last year, and 1 percent over the previous peak of February 2011.

“Food prices rose again sharply threatening the health and well-being of millions of people,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable, but so are people in other countries where the prices of grains have gone up abruptly.” Continue

Sea life ‘facing major shock’

Okfisk(1) fisk gule

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies: Life in the world’s oceans faces far greater change and risk of large-scale extinctions than at any previous time in human history, a team of the world’s leading marine scientists has warned. The researchers from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK have compared events which drove massive extinctions of sea life in the past with what is observed to be taking place in the seas and oceans globally today.

Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were associated with global warming and acidification of the oceans – trends which also apply today, the scientists say in a new article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from seawaters, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing – or a combination of these factors.  “Currently, the Earth is again in a period of increased extinctions and extinction risks, this time mainly caused by human factors,” the scientists stated. While the data is harder to collect at sea than on land, the evidence points strongly to similar pressures now being felt by sea life as for land animals and plants. Continue

Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming

nasa shifting temp

NASA: Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming

Columbia University: This year’s Midwest heat wave and some other recent extreme weather events are no fluke of nature, but a consequence of a warming planet, according to an analysis of climate data by NASA scientists. The odds of an unusually hot summer have doubled since mid-century, according to the research by NASA’s James Hansen and two colleagues, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue

Perception of climate change

Published online before print August 6, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1205276109

PNAS: “Climate dice,” describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons, have become more and more “loaded” in the past 30 y, coincident with rapid global warming. The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased. An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (3σ) warmer than the climatology of the 1951–1980 base period. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth’s surface during the base period, now typically covers about 10% of the land area. It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small. Wediscuss practical implications of this substantial, growing, climate change. Continue

Drought damage

fao aug 20121 food-price-index_e

FAO: The severe deterioration of maize crop prospects in the United States following extensive drought damage pushed up maize prices by almost 23 percent in July.  International wheat quotations also surged 19 percent amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies. Continue

NOAA: July 2012: hottest month on record for contiguous United States

AlertNet: U.S. drought, food prices fan fears of new crisis

Food Security and Climate Change

Oxford Research Group: Rising food prices point to a potential crisis later this year as poor communities across the world find themselves unable to afford basic foodstuffs. The crisis now unfolding has some similarities to the major problems that occurred in 2008 that led to food riots in many countries. It also has echoes of the much more severe World Food Crisis in 1973/74. This time, though, there is mounting evidence that climate change is playing a role. Continue

US: State of the Climate Drought June 2012

palmer noaa june 2012

NOAA: Based on the Palmer Drought Index, severe to extreme drought affected about 33 percent of the contiguous United States as of the end of June 2012, an increase of about 10 percent from last month. About 4 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the severely to extremely wet categories.

About 55 percent of the contiguous U.S. fell in the moderate to extreme drought categories (based on the Palmer Drought Index) at the end of June. Continue

Yale360: Severe Drought in U.S. Is The Worst Dry Spell Since 1956

Drought Covers One-Third Of U.S. Counties, The Largest Agricultural Disaster Area Ever Declared

ThinkProgress: The U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a natural disaster declaration for more than 1,000 U.S. counties facing severe drought. This disaster declaration is the largest ever from the Agriculture Department and includes one-third of counties and spans 26 states. Some 53 percent of the Midwest is facing moderate or severe drought, but areas beyond the drought’s borders could pay higher world grain prices, due to a poor harvest.

FAO and IIASA launch online Global Agro-ecological Zones Interactive Data Portal


IIASA: A new online data portal developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) aims to help unlock the planet’s potential to feed a rapidly growing population.  The Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ) portal developed by FAO and IIASA is a planning tool designed to help to identify areas for increased global food production while maintaining the natural resources base and facing the challenge of climate change. According to FAO estimates, world food production needs to increase 60 percent by 2050 to feed a world population expected to surpass 9 billion people.  Much of the necessary growth will need to be achieved by increasing the amount of food produced on existing agricultural land, as most of the world’s best farmland is already being used.  Water scarcity is another limiting factor for area expansion. And intensification of food production will occur within a changing climate, requiring adaptation and mitigation and will have to be sustainable to safeguard future use of the resources.

‘Ocean of Life’: Ocean biodiversity suffering at hands of alien invaders


RTCC: Overfishing, warming waters, ocean acidification and pollution are all terms we are becoming more aware of as it slowly dawns on us that our oceans may not be the mysterious and resilient habitats we have often considered them.  As recently as 1998 the oceans heated so dramatically that a quarter of the world’s corals died – including between 70-90% of those in the Indian Ocean.  If the same event had been witnessed on land to our forests – considered the land-based counterpart of the coral reefs – urgent information and action would be demanded to find out what had happened. More


ocean of life

Climate Change Likely To Impact Corn Market

RTT: The journal Nature Climate Change contends that factors such as market policies or oil prices have comparatively little effect on corn prices than the climate. But heat waves sparked by rising global temperatures are expected to become more common, withering crops in Corn Belt states and triggering price spikes, the scientists say.


Response of corn markets to climate volatility under alternative energy futures

Noah S. Diffenbaugh, Thomas W. Hertel, Martin Scherer & Monika Verma

Nature Climate Change, (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1491

Received 19 December 2011 Accepted 20 March 2012 Published online 22 April 2012

New groundwater maps for Africa

africa groundwater bgs

BGS: Robust quantitative groundwater maps for Africa were developed to highlight areas more likely to be resilient to climate change and also where sufficient groundwater resources may be available to help adaptation. The maps are the first produced for Africa and are underpinned by dedicated case studies and systematic data/literature reviews. Continue


Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa

A M MacDonald et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 024009, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024009

Received 7 februar 2012, accepted for publication 19 marts 2012, Published 19 april 2012

Ready or Not: How Water-Ready is Your State?

us water


NRDC: Across the U.S., the impacts of climate change on water resources are already being seen. Warmer temperatures, changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, and rising sea levels are beginning to affect our communities and natural resources.

As climate change affects communities across the U.S., some states are leading the way in preparing for the impacts on water resources. These states are reducing carbon pollution and planning for climate change impacts. Yet many states are not acting and remain woefully unprepared.  Click on a state to find out what risks communities there may face and what the state is doing to prepare. Continue

Global farmer leaders unite to address the challenge of climate change

IFAD: Representatives of farmers and rural producers from all over the world gathered at the Rome headquarters of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for the Fourth Global Meeting of the Farmers’ Forum.  Coming from the floodplains, hillsides and dry lands of the different regions where IFAD operates, attendees represented the voices of millions of smallholders, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers who face serious climate-change challenges every day. Continue

Scarcity and degradation of land and water: growing threat to food security

FAO: Widespread degradation and deepening scarcity of land and water resources have placed a number of key food production systems around the globe at risk, posing a profound challenge to the task of feeding a world population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, according to a new FAO report published today.

The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) notes that while the last 50 years witnessed a notable increase in food production, “in too many places, achievements have been associated with management practices that have degraded the land and water systems upon which food production depends.”

By 2050, food production is projected to increase by about 70 percent globally and nearly 100 percent in developing countries. This incremental demand for food, together with demand from other competing uses, will place unprecedented pressure on many agricultural production systems across the world. These ‘systems at risk’ are facing growing competition for land and water resources and they are often constrained by unsustainable agricultural practices. They therefore require particular attention and specific remedial action.

Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change

cgiar food and cc

CGIAR: Food systems must shift to better meet human needs and, in the long term, balance with planetary resources. This will demand major interventions, at local to global scales, to transform current patterns of food production, distribution and consumption. Investment, innovation, and deliberate effort to empower the world’s most vulnerable populations will be required to construct a global food system that adapts to climate change and ensures food security while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and sustaining our natural resource base. Continue

Guardian: Agriculture needs massive investment to avoid hunger, scientists warn

aqviva related posts small

World hunger report 2011

FAO: This year’s report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay. The report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided.


The Horn of Africa drought bites deeper

AfricaNews: As the devastating drought causes havoc on the Horn of Africa region the number of people affected is staggering. Food, water, medical care and proper housing have become elusive. As a result hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in search of basic necessities.

Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp where people fleeing the drought and the fighting in Somalia have been seeking refuge is bursting at the seams. The camp which is about 50 miles from Somalia’s border was initially meant to hold just 80,000 people now has a population of some 450,000, and the number is swelling as hundreds of refugees trickle in daily. Continue

Farmers in southern Pakistan face worse flooding than last year

FAO flood Pakistan 2011

FAO: Heavy monsoon rains that began in mid-August destroyed or damaged 73 percent of crops and 67 percent of food stocks in affected districts of Sindh province, and have killed nearly 78 000 head of livestock. Millions of people are destitute and face an uncertain and food-insecure future.

This catastrophe struck before families affected by last year’s flooding were able to even start recovering — especially as Sindh did not receive as much assistance as other provinces in 2010. The floods and rain deepen the risk of losing more vital livestock assets and, for some, missing another opportunity to plant wheat and other essential crops. Continue

NASA: Flooding in Southern Pakistan

aqviva related posts small

Mexico: Climate Change Drives Migration

IPS: Tlapa, one of the poorest places in Mexico, is ravaged by deforestation, intermittent drought and torrential rains, so that farming is not an economically viable occupation for local people.  Regions like Tlapa illustrate the possible relationship between climate change and migration, an issue that is coming under scrutiny in Mexico, a country that is vulnerable to the effects of phenomena like prolonged droughts, soil degradation, devastating rainstorms, lack of water and rising sea levels.  “Migration patterns are changing as a result of climate change which is having increasing impacts. In a number of states, more people are emigrating,” Andrea Cerami, a lawyer with the independent Mexican Centre for Environmental Law (CEMDA), told IPS.

Food is the ultimate security need

Somalia, DR Congo top Maplecroft’s food security risk ranking

food security map maplecroft aug 2011

A new study assessing the availability and stability of food supplies in 196 countries has rated the food security of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo as lowest in the world, whilst countries in the drought stricken Horn of Africa are also at ‘extreme risk’. Continue


guardian: Food is the ultimate security need, new map shows

Maplecroft food sec index aug 2011

The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East

Fao food price index 2011

Credit: FAO

NESCI: The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East

Social unrest may reflect a variety of factors such as poverty, unemployment, and social injustice. Despite the many possible contributing factors, the timing of violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 as well as earlier riots in 2008 coincides with large peaks in global food prices. We identify a specific food price threshold above which protests become likely.

A new study shows that the timing of outbreaks of violence rocking North Africa and the Middle East is linked to global food prices.

Today’s headlines explode with stories of failed political systems, harsh regimes, and denial of rights underlying riots and warfare. The authors, however, point to rising food prices as a key factor too–not only in assessing the aftermath but in predicting future times of unrest.

The study, titled “The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East,” is by Marco Lagi, Karla Bertrand and Yaneer-Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute.

foodprices and riots

Credit: New England Complex Systems Institute., ArXiv.org


Guardian: A provocative new study suggests the timing of the Arab uprisings is linked to global food price spikes, and that prices will soon permanently be above the level which sparks conflicts.

In the press