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FAO Highlights the Risks of Climate Change to Food Security in Report on “How to Feed the World in 2050”

© FAO8 October 2009: A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) details the investment required to ensure food security in 2050, noting both the impacts of climate change on agricultural production, as well as the mitigation potential of agriculture.

Underscoring the uneven distribution of climate change impacts on crop production, the report suggests that countries in the Southern hemisphere may suffer a greater share of negative impacts in the form of reduced yields and greater frequency of extreme events, while in the Northern hemisphere, crop yields and areas suitable for cultivation may be expected to rise. This suggests that the aggregate effect of climate change on global production may be small in the coming few decades.

However, the report notes that food security is likely to be negatively affected by climate change. It highlights that the potential competition between food and food-based biofuels could lead to increased undernourishment of children in Africa and South Asia. It calls for increased research in growth of productivity as well as a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of biofuels. The report calls for efforts to be made to include agriculture in the outcome from the climate change negotiations leading to Copenhagen.

The report is based on a Meeting of Experts that took place in June 2009, and aims to provide background for the High-Level Experts Forum on “How to Feed the World in 2050,” which will meet at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 12-13 October 2009. [FAO Report][UN Press Release]