Climate change and food security

08 November 20212 min reading N. Kemal PARLAK
Namık Kemal Parlak

The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021. The COP26 summit has brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres set a grim tone in his address to world leaders. “Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink. We face a stark choice: Either we stop it, or it stops us. And it's time to say 'enough.' Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves,” Guterres said.

Climate change is causing unprecedented damage to our ecosystem. Increasing temperatures, ocean warming and acidification, severe droughts, wildfires, altered precipitation patterns, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and amplification of extreme weather events have direct implications for our food systems.

The world is currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The targets announced in Paris would result in warming well above 3 degrees by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. If we continue as we are, temperatures will carry on rising, bringing even more catastrophic flooding, bush fires, extreme weather and destruction of species. The world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

The global response to climate change today will determine how we feed future generations tomorrow. By transforming their agriculture sectors, countries have the chance to achieve food security for all. New agricultural policies and practices are needed to feed a growing global population, ensure sustainable use of natural resources. Coherence between climate change, agriculture and food security policy processes is vital to accomplish this transformation.

Food security and climate change are therefore interlinked challenges that need to be addressed simultaneously. Increasing resource efficiency in agriculture and building resilience to climate risks are the key actions for undertaking these challenges. This implies a significant transformation of agriculture and food systems, with concerted action and coordinated involvement of all stakeholders on a long-term perspective.  The world needs political will to act. Do we have a common political voice to counter climate change? Unfortunately, the answer is not yes.

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