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Increasing climate change leads to "inequality" in food security

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The national environmental information center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently announced that July 2021 will become the hottest month since the world's weather observation records.

Accompanied by record breaking high temperatures are frequent extreme weather phenomena and natural disasters in many parts of the world: the persistent heat wave in North America, rainstorms in many countries in Europe, rare low temperatures in Brazil, mountain fires in many countries in the northern hemisphere

Under the influence of climate change and extreme weather, the problem of global food security has become increasingly prominent in recent years; However, for countries and people with different economic conditions, the actual impact is different - a new "inequality" is quietly unfolding.

Since the beginning of summer this year, Russia, the United States and Canada, the world's major wheat producing countries, have suffered the impact of extreme dry weather.

According to the supply and demand forecast report of the U.S. Department of agriculture in August, the output of Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, decreased by 15%, and the spring wheat harvest of the United States, the world's second largest wheat exporter, decreased by 41% year-on-year, the lowest output in 33 years, while the wheat output of Canada, the world's third largest wheat exporter, will decrease significantly by 24%.

According to the latest world grain production forecast released by FAO, the forecast value in July was slightly lower than that in June, down to 2.817 billion tons, mainly due to the continuous dry weather.

Earlier this year, Brazil suffered the worst drought in decades, resulting in the loss of many crops. Since July 20, Brazil has been affected by the severe cold weather, and the temperature once fell below 0 ℃, the lowest in nearly 25 years.

The sudden cold current and frost caused the death of crops in several major coffee bean producing areas, and affected sugarcane, corn and other crops in central and southern Brazil.

The recent rainstorm in Western Europe has affected the harvest of crops such as barley and wheat in summer. In addition to yield, agricultural experts are more worried that rain will cause crop diseases and affect crop quality.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on climate change and the food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that since 2009, the probability of extreme weather phenomena such as drought and high temperature is much higher than that in the 1980s and 1990s, which has seriously affected the global food supply.

According to the research results recently released by Finnish scientists, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current rate, one third of the world's food production will be threatened by the end of this century.

The extreme weather caused by global climate change has seriously hit crop production and pushed up food prices, which has a particularly serious impact on low-income countries and people, and may even endanger the survival of many people.

The global food price index in may previously released by the United Nations rose 40% over a year ago, reaching the highest level in nearly 10 years. Bloomberg analysis pointed out that drought, flood and severe cold weather threaten food production and may further push up food prices in the future.

The report on world food security and nutrition released by the United Nations in July shows that about one tenth of the world's population will face the dilemma of food shortage in 2020. Among them, the population facing food shortage in Asia is 418 million and that in Africa is 282 million.

Reported by the conflict, climate change and the economic recession caused by COVID-19 and other factors, the level of global hunger has risen sharply, and 1/5 of the world's children have been poorly developed. The number of people affected by long-term hunger increased by 161 million in 2020, exceeding the sum of the previous five years.

The United Nations Food Program warned that an "imminent disaster" was imminent, with about 34 million people on the verge of famine around the world.

The organization pointed out that climate change is the main reason for the sharp increase in hunger, and stressed that the trend of rising food prices is intensifying.

In the report on world food security and nutrition in 2021 jointly released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for agricultural development, many United Nations agencies regarded climate change as one of the important factors inducing the global food crisis and believed that the frequent occurrence of climate disasters increased the difficulty for the international community to achieve the goal of "zero hunger" by 2030.

According to the data recently released by the International Grain Council, the global wheat export price has increased by 46% this year. Wheat is the raw material of bread and other major foods. Affected by the sharp reduction in wheat production and the sharp rise in prices, American food processing and baking enterprises have passed on price increases to consumers.

However, for high-income countries and families, rising food prices usually do not have a serious impact. In fact, the rise in grain prices will bring huge profits to global grain traders.

It is reported that the latest fiscal year data of Cargill, an American grain merchant, disclosed that in 2020, when global grain prices rose, the company's net profit reached nearly US $5 billion, the highest in the 156 years since the company was founded.

Some analysts believe that in the food security crisis caused by climate change, inequality in different countries and regions and within regions will be further amplified.

According to the estimates of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, climate change has caused an average global loss of nearly 170 billion US dollars a year. Specifically in agriculture, climate change has affected the national income of countries with agricultural products as the economic pillar (mostly developing countries) on the one hand, and also affected the global food supply chain and food trade on the other hand.

In the face of the inequality of food security exacerbated by global climate change, the FAO calls on governments and enterprises of all countries to work together to prevent the "systemic risks" of the food problem.

The organization said that although in the short term, the impact of climate change and food security risks in different countries and regions is different, these problems have a transmission effect, and no country or class can be alone in climate and food issues for a long time.

Source: workers daily


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