Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food security hostage to climate trends

IPS News Service: More than 50 African leaders meeting at the United Nations this week focused on strategies to overcome a myriad of interrelated problems -- food shortages, droughts, HIV/AIDS, an energy crisis, climate change and military conflicts -- on the troubled continent. "It is a sad irony to note that those who contribute to climate change less are those who suffer from it the most," stressed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening remarks to the 63rd annual General Assembly, which ends Oct. 1.

"Although Africa contributes only about 3.8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, its countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change in the world due to a warmer climate, more exposure to rainfall, poor soils and flood plains," explained Abdoulie Janneh, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. This vulnerability has constrained agricultural production and worsened food insecurity, Janneh said.

In a report on how climate change is deepening the global food crisis, James Paul and Katarina Wahlberg of the U.S.-based Global Policy Forum warned that the negative effects range from droughts and desertification, to more frequent and serious storms, intense rainfalls and floods. "Agriculture and climate change are tied together in a 'feedback loop'," they concluded....

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