Rice crops have been subjected to extremes of weather. Photo: Jack Picone

Risk of reversal in progress on world hunger as climate change threatens food security

Highlights of IPCC AR5 Working Group II report on food security and hunger

Published: 31 March 2014

New evidence of how climate change could damage food security was presented today in a major new scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report is clear: the impacts of climate change on food are worse than previously estimated. The last time the IPCC reported in 2007 they gave mixed messages about positive impacts of climate change on crops in some parts of the world possibly offsetting negative impacts elsewhere.

This report is categorical: climate change has already meant significant declines in net global yields of key crops like wheat and maize, and the picture is set to get much worse at the same time as demand for food increases. Urgent adaptation action is vital if we are to eradicate hunger within the next decade, but unless greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced rapidly now, climate impacts may surpass adaptation limits after 2050, threatening large human civilisations.

This briefing summarizes some of the key findings in the IPCC Working Group II report with regard to climate impacts on food and hunger. To prevent a reversal in progress on ending world hunger, Oxfam is calling on governments, business and publics across the globe to take action for zero hunger and a safer climate, so that we, our children and families around the world have enough to eat, always.

Three farmers stare at their land. Photo: Oxfam
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