Climate change threatening food security; empty plates to be reality soon if no steps taken: UN

By: |
August 9, 2019 6:00 PM

The world’s food supply is at risk and India is among the countries that will be severely impacted.

Carbon levels are decreasing essential protein and nutrients in many crops.

While major political figures across the globe may keep denying climate change, humanity is headed towards emptier plates. If drastic changes are not made, the world may soon be bereft of food, a recent UN report said. The world’s food supply is at risk and India is among the countries that will be severely impacted. While significant alterations are needed in farming techniques, changes in dietary habits and land usage are also the need of the hour in grappling with climate change, the report added.

Food is already expensive, scarcer and less nutritious, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing,” Nasa climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author, said. She added that carbon levels decrease essential protein and nutrients in many crops.

In India, about one-third of the land is already undergoing desertification and degradation. Most gravely affected areas include Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa as half of the landmass has already gone under desertification and land degradation. Some of the other states are also showing considerable degradation. This includes Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh where about 10% land has already been degraded. Moreover, the Paris Agreement suggested 1.5-degree celsius redline has already been breached and the land temperatures have risen by 1.53°C and global temperatures by 0.87 °C. Under the Paris Agreement of 2016, it was decided that efforts will be made to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

According to the UN report, switching to a plant-based, vegetarian diet may also help in dealing with climate change and has recommended less meat consumption, especially red meat. This step alone can help in reducing current emissions by 33%. Further, changes in farming techniques will also help. No-till agriculture and better-targeted fertilizer application may help in bringing down carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

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