Climate change is exacerbating hunger in some of the world’s poorest countries. And those most at risk are the least to blame

poverty_

(Karthikeyan K, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.


Our planet’s hungriest countries contribute the least to global warming, according to a new report by Christian Aid on the impact of climate change on global food security.

The study, Hunger Strike: The climate and food vulnerability index, found that the 10 most food-insecure nations in the world generate just 0.08% of global carbon emissions.

As the planet warms, agriculture and food supplies are being disrupted, which is disproportionately impacting underdeveloped countries.

The world’s most food-insecure nations.
Image: Christian Aid

Burundi, which tops Christian Aid’s food-insecurity table, is highly dependent on small-scale agriculture, which employs around 90% of its workforce. Its farmers are vulnerable to the increasing number – and severity – of droughts, floods and other extreme weather events caused by climate change.

In a country where conflict and political unrest have been a constant presence, longer and hotter dry seasons represent an additional threat to food supplies. Its chronic malnutrition rates are the highest in the world, explain the report’s authors.

But the African nation’s economy has the smallest carbon footprint of any country, producing just 0.027 tonnes of CO2 per person – a figure so low, it’s often rounded down to zero, according Christian Aid. For context, the emissions generated by a single US citizen are equal to 581 people in Burundi.

Coping with change

It’s a similar story for other agriculture-dependent economies. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s second-smallest carbon polluter and ranks just behind Burundi for food insecurity.

Having endured conflict, internal displacement and Ebola outbreaks, climate change poses an additional threat. Parts of the country are increasingly prone to floods, which often leads to soil erosion, landslides and crop failures. And due to higher temperatures and humidity, outbreaks of disease in livestock and crops are more common.

Communities in the country’s Great Lakes region could see fish stocks depleted due to rising water temperatures.

Off Africa’s east coast, the island nation of Madagascar, which ranks as the third most food-insecure nation, faces a constant risk of cyclones, flooding and droughts. The past few decades have seen wetter rainy seasons during cyclones, which by 2100 are forecast to increase in intensity by 50%.

Climate change is expected to produce increasingly intense rainy seasons, but hotter and dryer summer months, according to the Christian Aid report.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.

To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The World Economic Forum’s Climate Initiative supports the scaling and acceleration of global climate action through public and private-sector collaboration. The Initiative works across several workstreams to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.

This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from various industries developing cost-effective solutions to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policy-makers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of delivering a safer climate.

Time to act

Urgent action is needed to address food insecurity, and tackling the underlying challenge of climate change will be key.

A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis the world needs to roughly halve global emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero by 2050 or earlier. Alongside policy changes, governments of all countries must make fundamental changes, such as promoting renewable energy, moving away from unsustainable agricultural practices and implementing rewilding programmes.

“In a just world our problems would be something we could address ourselves. But because we haven’t caused this climate breakdown, we alone cannot solve it,” said Philip Galgallo, Christian Aid’s country director for Burundi.

“We need richer, more polluting, countries to cut their emissions rapidly if we’re going to hold back the ravages of climate change and reverse their effects. Because of the global nature of climate change this is an opportunity for the world to act together in solidarity and fairness,” he added.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

ECB tied in the anti-monetary German ideology

Mental health and suicide prevention – What can be done to increase access to mental health services in my region?

‘Global trust’ declining, ‘our world needs stepped-up global leadership’

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

China is adding a London-sized electric bus fleet every five weeks

34 million Americans know someone who died after being unable to pay for medical treatment

Why our future relies on more inclusive and transparent innovation

How youth and technology can drive Africa’s COVID-19 response

UN’s Grandi slams ‘toxic language of politics’ aimed at refugees, migrants

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

Deal on financing a just energy transition in EU regions

Schengen: MEPs ready for negotiations on temporary checks at national borders

How Africa and Asia are joining forces on universal healthcare

Agreement on an improved EU admission system for highly qualified workers

Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst announce new partnership to support investments in clean technologies for low-carbon industries

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) briefing from the World Health Organisation – key takeaways

UNcomplicating the UN: a new podcast is born over coffee in New York

UN rights chief denounces Burundi for ‘belligerent and defamatory’ attack on inquiry team

Ending use of chemical weapons in Syria: ‘still work to be done’, says UN disarmament chief

Autumn Fiscal Package: Commission adopts Opinions on euro area Draft Budgetary Plans

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

Six ways to cut through the Middle East’s geopolitical fog

‘Historic moment’ for people on the move, as UN agrees first-ever Global Compact on migration

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

In Chad, top UN officials say humanitarian response must go ‘hand in hand’ with longer-term recovery

‘Make healthy choices’ urges UN agency, to prevent and manage chronic diabetes

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

France and Germany can’t reach consensus regarding EU’s top jobs

Coronavirus update: UN scales back major conference

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

This root vegetable could help alleviate hunger and end soil erosion. Here’s how

Fighting Depression In the Isolation of COVID-19

Impact of high-fats food regimen on immune activity, tumor growth.

The green hydrogen revolution has started, and it won’t be stopped

Europe is progressing most towards these UN Sustainability Goals: A report card for Europe

Terror attacks strike people ‘from all walks of life, the UN included’

Cohesion Policy: involving citizens to ensure better results

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

How two colossal Assyrian icons were recreated using digital tech

COVID-19: Mental balance in pandemic times

State aid: Commission approves €150 million Austrian subordinated loan to compensate Austrian Airlines for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

Families deserve answers when loved ones go missing in conflict: Security Council adopts historic resolution

This is what is still holding social entrepreneurs back

After the European Parliament elections – what happens next?

Eurozone: Austerity brings new political tremors

To retire at 65, American millennials need to save almost half their paycheck

Why is the Strait of Hormuz so important?

Yellow vests, rising violence – what’s happening in France?

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

Monday’s Daily Brief: numbers of hungry people rising, millions of children need vaccines, Mali children need more protection

‘Embrace the transformation’ to a carbon-neutral world by 2050, UN chief tells COP25

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

As Saudi women take the wheel, UN chief hopes end of driving ban creates more opportunities for kingdom’s women and girls

Commission report: EU data protection rules empower citizens and are fit for the digital age

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s