A new online, interactive map offering a look at how climate change may affect hunger up to 2080's is launched at COP21 in Paris this week.
The Food Insecurity and Climate Change map produced by the Met Office and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), illustrates how adaptation and mitigation efforts could prevent the worst impacts of Food insecurity and climate change globally and help make people less vulnerable to food insecurity. It also shows how failure to adapt, along with increases in greenhouse gas emissions, could push millions of people deeper into hunger and malnutrition.
Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director said; "This map paints a stark picture of how climate disasters drive hunger. This research also reveals a more hopeful future depending on the choices we make - we must help vulnerable people adapt and build their resilience to climate change, while also investing in a low carbon future. The next generation can enjoy greater global food security than we do today but only if leaders get it right in Paris."
The website incorporates five years of research between WFP's food security experts and world-renowned scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre. It shows how climate change affects vulnerability to food security in least developed countries today, and through sophisticated projections, the extent to which it will do so in the future. Today the highest levels of vulnerability to climate-related food insecurity are in sub-Saharan Africa, medium levels across much of Asia, and lower levels in South and Central America.
Kirsty Lewis, Climate Security Science Manager at the Met Office, said; "Our joint research shows how climate change can affect the scale and geography of food insecurity, and how adaptation and mitigation can address the challenges of future food insecurity in developing and least-developed countries."
Climate disasters affect hungry and vulnerable people disproportionately. They increase hunger by destroying land, livestock, crops and food supplies, and make it harder for people to access markets and food networks. Even a minor weather event can quickly escalate into a food crisis for vulnerable households who, as a result, can resort to desperate measures, such as taking their children out of school or reducing the amount and quality of the food they eat.