Sunday, July 5, 2009

Poor face more hunger as climate change leads to crop failure, says Oxfam

John Vidal in the Guardian (UK): Hunger may become the defining human tragedy of the century as the climate changes and hundreds of millions of farmers already struggling to grow enough food are forced to adapt to drought and different rainfall patterns, a report warns. Oxfam International, in a comprehensive look at the expected effects on people of climate change, says some of the world's staple crops will be hit and the implications for millions could be disastrous.

"Climate change's most savage impact on humanity in the near future is likely to be in the increase in hunger … the countries with existing problems in feeding their people are those most at risk from climate change," the report warns.

"Millions of farmers will have to give up traditional crops as they experience changes in the seasons that they and their ancestors have depended on. Climate-related hunger [may become] the defining human tragedy of this century."

The report, published as world leaders prepare to meet for the G8 summit in Italy, says that farmers around the world are already seeing changes in weather patterns which are leading to increased ill-health, hunger and poverty. … The evidence of changing weather patterns is anecdotal but the results are striking because of the extraordinary consistency they show across the world, said Oxfam programme researcher John Magrath….

Heinrich Zille's "Hunger," 1924

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