A Sign of Things to Come

Examining four major climate-related disasters, 2010–2013, and their impacts on food security

Publication date: 18 September 2014
Author: Christopher Coghlan, Maliha Muzammil, John Ingram, Joost Vervoort, Friederike Otto and Rachel James

Four recent extreme weather events – the 2010 heat wave in Russia, the flooding in Pakistan in the same year, the 2010–2011 drought in East Africa and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 – were notable for their intensity, duration, and impacts on livelihoods and food security.

As part of its food and climate justice campaign, Oxfam commissioned researchers from the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security to examine the impact of these extreme weather events on vulnerable people, exploring when and why threats emerge.

The report identifies cases where extreme weather events exacerbated existing unfavorable conditions, and considers the roles of governance in state and non-state responses to each emergency. The relevance of climate change is also discussed, through an examination of scientific evidence about the influence of human emissions on extreme weather events, and explorative scenario analysis to consider the potential impacts of increased extreme weather severity on food security.