As the world grapples with the increasing impacts of climate change, global policymakers need to take much stronger action to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). This is the message from the recent UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2022. The report provides the stark conclusion that current national climate change pledges can only limit global warming rises by 2.4-2.6°C by the end of the century – far from the 1.5°C goal set forth by the Paris Agreement. To stand a chance of reaching that ambitious goal, global GHG emissions need to be cut by 45 percent by 2030.
This blog post is based on the T20 Policy Brief, "Environmental Sustainability of Food Systems, Global Food Security and Trade."
Mitigating climate change and the degradation of natural resources while increasing the production of safe and nutritious food to eradicate hunger and ensure food security for a rapidly growing population is the most important and urgent challenge facing humanity today.
Over the past two years, the impacts of ongoing regional conflicts, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russian-Ukraine war have drastically weakened the world’s already inadequate, unsustainable food systems. This confluence of factors has induced in supply chain disruptions and high and volatile prices for food, fertilizer, and fuel, and the result has been the third global food crisis in less than two decades.
It seems that joint food and energy crises have become the norm: Three have now occurred in just the last 15 years, driven by climate change and other human-made crises such as COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war.
All three crises dramatically pushed up food and energy prices, as well as those of fertilizers, leading to an increase in the number of undernourished people worldwide (Figure 1). The number of hungry has now been on the rise for almost a decade now, and it is unclear if or when the global community will come together to implement interventions to turn this around.
For the fourth consecutive year, global acute food insecurity rose in 2022. As many as 205.1 million people across 45 countries and territories are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or higher food insecurity as of September 2022, according to the Global Report on Food Crisis Mid-Year Update. That represents an increase of 29.5 million people from 2021.