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Impacts on Food and Security

Because global warming will hit hardest in already poor regions, especially Africa, climate change is likely to increase the numbers
suffering from food insecurity and malnourishment. IIASA has estimated that the numbers of malnourished – 815 million in 2000–2002 (FAO 2005b) – could increase by an additional 75 million at concentrations of 600 parts of carbon dioxide per million, and even more if levels go beyond that (Fischer and others 2002a and c). Low-income, food-deficit countries often lack the financial resources to import food to fill gaps in supply (Bruinsma 2003, United Nations 2005, FAO 2005c). Food security and export revenues are already threatened in some developing countries due to a combination of climatic and socio-economic factors, and a downward trend in global agricultural commodity prices. Africa – where per capita food production has declined since
the 1960s – is likely to face even greater difficulties in a warmer world. Through sea-level rise and changing cropland areas, global warming will not just reduce potential food production.


It will destroy livelihoods and give rise to large numbers of environmental refugees who will head for cities, for other countries, or for unopened territories. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and South East Asia, where unused land reserves still exist under forest cover, many farming families displaced by climate change or flooding may try to find new land. In such cases, deforestation rates could increase and encroachment on and poaching in national parks and other areas crucial for biodiversity would grow.

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