By 2080 the effects of climate change—on heat waves, floods, sea level rise, and drought—could push an additional 600 million people into malnutrition and increase the number of people facing water scarcity by 1.8 billion. The precise impacts will, however, strongly depend on socioeconomic conditions such as local markets and food import dependence. In the near term, two factors are also changing the nature of food security: (1) rapid urbanization, with the proportion of the global population living in urban areas expanding from 13 percent in 1975 to greater than 50 percent at present, and (2) trade and domestic market liberalization since 1993, which has promoted removal of import controls, deregulation of prices, and the loss of preferential markets for many small economies.
Over the last two years, the worst drought in decades has devastated eastern Africa. The resulting food-security crisis has affected roughly 13 million people and has reminded us that there is still a long way to go in addressing current climate-related risks. In the face of such profound changes and uncertainties, our approaches to food security must evolve. In this article, we describe four key elements that, in our view, will be essential to the success of efforts to address the linked challenges of food security and climate change.
Additional publication details
Food security in a changing climate
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center