Scientists from six continents are to combine their expertise under a new commission to look at ways to boost food production in the face of climate change.
Scientists from six continents are to combine their expertise under a new commission to look at ways to boost food production in the face of climate change. The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change brings together thirteen experts from natural and social sciences to develop policy recommendations on how to help global agriculture adapt to changing weather conditions.
Chaired by the chief scientific adviser in the UK, Professor John Beddington, the commission has been set up by the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The commission is different from any previous initiatives as it will focus on bringing together existing evidence and major studies to identify how best to address food security in the context of climate change.
Recent droughts in Russia and China and flooding in Pakistan and Australia have contributed to rising food prices and climate change is predicted to increase the risk of such extreme weather events. The World Bank reported in February that the recent rise in food prices, which included a doubling of wheat prices and a 73 per cent increase in maize prices, has already pushed an extra 44 million people into poverty in developing countries.
The group of scientists and economists will deliver its findings by December 2011. It aims to direct its findings for use by international decision makers, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and the Group of 20 (G20) industrialised and developing countries.
Professor John Beddington said recent extreme weather conditions “have contributed to a level of food price volatility we haven’t seen since the oil crisis of forty years ago”. He said “this could be just a taste of things to come because in the next few decades, the build-up of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere could greatly increase risk of droughts, flooding, pest infection and water scarcity for agriculture systems already under tremendous stress.
Food Price Hike Drives 44 Million People into Poverty – World Bank Group Press Release, 15 February 2011