With countries worldwide gearing up for a new agreement on climate change at the December Paris climate change conference (COP21), this year’s World Environment Day feels particularly special.
The link between climate change and hunger is clear – and the World Food Programme (WFP) sees how it affects ordinary people every day in the countries we work in. We want you to see too – and help us spread the word.
In 50 Seconds: Why Does Climate Change Cause Hunger?
People’s food security is influenced by our world’s changing climate. But, how exactly?
Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of these disasters, which in turn has an adverse impact on people’s ability to harvest and access food. As we have seen in places like Mozambique, the Philippines and the Horn of Africa climate-related disasters have the potential to destroy crops, tools and equipment and people’s homes, exacerbating poverty and hunger.
Gradual but long-term risks
Sea levels will rise as a result of changing climate, affecting coastal areas and river deltas. Accelerated glacial melt will also affect the quantity and reliability of water and change flooding and drought patterns, causing problems for those in affected areas.
Changes in climatic conditions have already affected the production of some staple crops, and future climate change will only make this worse. Higher temperatures will have an impact on yields while changes in rainfall could affect both crop quality and quantity.
Climate change could increase the prices of major crops in some regions. For the most vulnerable people, lower agricultural output would also mean lower income. Under these conditions, the poorest people — who already use most of their income on food — would have to sacrifice additional income to meet their nutritional requirements.
In areas where people already struggle to access food, climate change is likely to create a vicious cycle of disease and hunger. Access to different types of food, along with ability to implement the proper health practices (almost impossible in a natural disaster) will have a detrimental impact on people’s nutrition, meaning they are less able to fight off illness.
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