World food shortage in 10 years
Jan. 19 2010
A GLOBAL population explosion combined with the steady effects of climate change are forecast to create a worldwide food shortage in the next 10 years, but the news isn't all bad for some countries.
The United States, China, Ethiopia and parts of northern Europe are among the select few expected to be able to grow more crops as a result of changes in temperature and rainfall, according to a study.
However, those gains will not be enough to stave off an increase in world starvation and price spikes for food as a result of a shortfall in three of the four main cereal crops, said the report by the Universal Ecological Fund, a non-profit group.
The forecast is based on UN figures about climate change released in 2007, and projects the impact of temperature changes that will leave the planet at least 2.4 degrees Celsius warmer by 2020.
While there are more recent analyses that make slight allowances for how the Earth may adjust itself, researchers used the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, combined with ``the business-as-usual path the
world is currently following,'' said lead author Liliana Hisas.
The analysis describes a scenario in which a population boom packs the world with an additional 890 million people by 2020, for a total of 7.8 billion.
Changes in agriculture wrought by swings in rain and temperature then forge across-the-board deficits in wheat, rice and maize, meaning there will not be enough to feed all those extra mouths.
The result will be more prevalent hunger -- one in five people going hungry, up from the current rate of one in seven -- and food price spikes of up to 20 per cent, according to the study.
"At least every other newborn in Africa; one in every four newborns in Asia; and one in every seven newborns in Latin America and the Caribbean would be sentenced to undernourishment and malnutrition,'' it said.