Acute Food Insecurity Doubles Since 2019

Acute Food Insecurity Doubles Since 2019

Worldwide, the number of people facing acute food insecurity is 345 million. That’s more than triple the number estimated prior to the pandemic in 2019. As global hunger reaches crisis levels, the World Food Programme warns that climate change is a key factor causing food insecurity along with violent political conflicts (such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), lingering shockwaves from the pandemic, and rising food costs.

WFP: These are the warning signs of a global food shortage, July 11, 2022.

UN: "Global hunger levels are at a new high" | UN Chief at the Global Food Security Call to Action, May 18, 2022.

BBC: Deadly heatwaves '100 times more likely' due to climate change, May 18, 2022.

Why This Matters

Early this summer, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached 4 million years heights. Meanwhile, the year’s climate change-related extreme weather drove crop failures around the globe and will likely increase food shortages and make them more widespread. For example, the Middle East’s hotbed for agriculture has become a “less productive fertile crescent” due to increased water salinity. Also, Europe’s record-breaking heat and drought conditions are stressing crops like wheat from France (the world’s fourth-largest exporter) and olive trees from Spain, which supply nearly half the world’s olive oil. In the Western US, drought-like conditions could become permanent due to “aridification.”

Lake Mead Time-Lapse, 1984-2022, June 30, 2022.

DW: Our drinking water | Is the world drying up?, March 20, 2022.

The Hill: Kamala Harris WARNS wars will be fought over water, not oil, April 7, 2021.

Experts warn against a failure to act, citing this being just the beginning of a major hunger crisis and that famine will lead to a large-scale climate migration in the coming decades. According to disaster-relief nonprofit ShelterBox, more than 200 million people could be displaced in the next 20 years by extreme weather. By 2050, the number of climate refugees could reach 216 million, according to the World Bank.

"The full impact of climate change will make the Ukraine crisis’s impact on food prices look like kindergarten … All hell will break loose,” Enock Chikava, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Interim Director of Agriculture, told TIME.

Bloomberg: World Food Program Says that There is a Hunger Crises, August 12, 2022.

Bertelsmann Foundation: A Global Security Threat | Climate

PBS: Millions in East Africa face famine triggered by drought, May 12, 2022.

Calling On Leadership

Humanitarian groups led by Red Cross International have banded together to warn climate change’s devastating consequences on global stability. In a report, the International Federation of the Red Cross calls on “global leaders to take action [on climate change] by ensuring that money is there to invest in disaster risk reduction, early warning systems, and community resilience."

Ready Or Not

For the first time, the US identified water scarcity as a national security threat and published the White House Action Plan on Global Water Security. Still, several places in the US, including cities in the “Sunbelt,” remain unprepared for such consequences.

Democracy Now!: “The Famine is Coming” | War in Ukraine & Climate Crises to Food Security in Somalia, June 23, 2022.

Arab Center Washington DC: The Impact of Climate Change and Environmental Injustice in the Middle East and North Africa, April 28, 2022.

The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 31, 2021.

VICE: Oregon Already Has a Climate Refugee Crisis, August 19, 2021.

WW0: Facebook Live conversation on national security, climate migration and the climate crisis, September 9, 2020.