Hunger: the new phase of climate change in Africa

no picture Cadmus Atake-E
Se registró el día 31 de octubre de 2013
  • 36 Artículos

Climate change is transforming the planet’s ecosystems and threatening the well-being of current and future generations, increasing the rate of food shortage as a result of droughts, water shortage, and high temperatures globally.

Ever since the first climate talks in Geneva in 1979, there have been a series of climate talks, yet no profound solutions has been attained. This has driven world leaders and scientist into postulating false solutions to climate change which is rapidly driving the world into hunger and food shortages. The issue of food shortages and hunger has gradually given rise to a rapid bio-technological advancement which in turn has resulted to mass environment degradation, more loss of land, and has affected the livelihood of local farmers.

It was reported on the 9th of October 2012, in Rome –that about 870 million people, or one in eight persons, were suffering from chronic undernourishment and hunger in 2010-2012 (according to the new UN hunger report released). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 (SOFI), jointly published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), presents better estimates of chronic undernourishment and hunger based on an improved methodology and data for the last two decades.

Among the vast majority of the undernourished and hungry people, 852 million people live in developing countries which is about 15 percent of their population, while 16 million people are undernourished in developed countries. With such figures, it shows that climate induced hunger is much stronger now than what it used to be. A few decades ago this was a result of an increase in the emissions from fossil fuels, gas flares, and greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Among these undernourished and hungry people, Africa has been the only region where the number of hungry people has increased over the period- from 175 million to 239 million, with nearly 20 million added in the past four years. The prevalence of hunger which has reduced over the entire period, has risen slightly over the past three years from 22.6 percent to 22.9 percent - with nearly one in four hungry. In sub-Saharan Africa, the modest progress achieved in recent years up to 2007 was reversed, with hunger rising 2 percent per year since then. Developed regions also saw the number of the hungry rise from 13 million in 2004-2006 to 16 million in 2010-2012. This reversed a steady decrease in previous years from 20 million in 1990-1992.

All this has been a result of increase droughts, increase in temperature, monoculture and land grabbing resulting from false solutions postulated by scientistist from developed nations where pollution is on the increase due to their quest for technological advancement. This has caused more harm to the global environment than good. Food availability and access to adequate food constitute one of the most basic and essential requirements for maintaining a healthy and productive life. Presently, hunger and malnutrition comprise the major threats to human health (World Food Programme, 2009), and climate change will continue to affect all aspects of food security, especially in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than 1 billion young men and women live.

Food insecurity and shortage is likely to pose a major challenge for developing countries that are vulnerable to extreme weather events and countries that have low incomes and a high incidence of hunger and poverty (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007b; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2009b). Inhabitants of these regions are already at risk and will find it very difficult to overcome food production and income losses resulting from extreme weather events. This situation could mean short-term and long-term losses in food availability and access. Short-term infrastructural damage from extreme weather events of growing intensity can also make food distribution difficult.

The most affected region hit by compromised food security will be the rural areas of Africa, where more than half of the region’s young people live. The greatest challenge faced within this context will arise from the impact of climate change on water resources available for agricultural utilization and domestic uses. In rural Africa, groundwater and rainfall are essential inputs for food production and are the main sources of potable water. One area currently experiencing a serious water deficit is the Sahel region where longer and more intense droughts constitute one of the most dramatic climatic changes recorded in any region. This situation is expected to worsen in the coming years, affecting more than 60 million young women and men. Outside the Sahel, groundwater supplies are expected to decrease by as much as 10 per cent, even with a 1oC increase in temperature.

Although less developed nations are likely to face a greater threat to food security, developed countries may be affected as well. In northern Australia and the southern United States, for example, food production could decline as a result of drier surface conditions too. Climate change mitigation processes has posed an additional challenge to food availability globally. Ironically, some climate change mitigation efforts have undermined food security, especially in less developed regions of the world.

The production of biofuels and other forms of bioenergy presents one of the greatest challenges in this regard. Bioenergy is the largest new source of agricultural demand in recent years, and this has important implications for food production and availability in areas where agricultural capacity is diminishing. It takes a lot more grain to power the world than to feed it. The corn equivalent of the energy used for a few minutes of driving would feed a person for an entire day, and that same person could be fed for a year with the equivalent energy burned from a full tank of ethanol in a four-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle.

REDD+ A carbon offset mechanisms is also another major challenge in this regard a process whereby indusralized Northern countries use forest, agriculture, soils, and even water as sponges for their pollution instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissons at source, which results to land grabbing in developing nations thereby reducing land space for agriculture and food production which inturn leads to foos shortage and hunger. These processes are no longer just false solutions to climate change but a new way of colonialism in order to false feed Africans in developing countries with Genetically Modified Organisms in this regard food crops manufactured in the laboratory. These climate change false solutions such as Biofuels production, bioenergy generation, REDD+ projects and GMOs should be rejected and resisted by developing nations.

Developed nations of the world should heed to the reduction of carbon emissions so as to reduced the impact of climate change glabally to “below 2 degrees Celsius” and avoid “climate change, deep cuts in global emissions which is urgently required.

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