The World Food Programme has just published a new report (pdf; also Reuters coverage here) on how climate change will affect hunger, which both summarises the state of scientific knowledge on the issue and sets out a policy agenda to tackle it. Key messages:
– By 2050, the number of people at risk of hunger because of climate change will be 10 to 20 per cent higher than it would have been without climate change.
– The number of malnourished children is expected to increase by 24 million – 21 per cent higher than without climate change.
– Sub-Saharan Africa will be worst affected, with the semi-arid regions either side of the equator hit hardest of all.
– But here’s the good news: if we get the policies right – on mitigation and on adaptation – the increase in the number of hungry people by 2050 could be limited to just 5% (which would actually be a substantial reduction in proportionate terms, given that population is projected to rise by 50% over the same period).
The lead author for the report was Martin Parry, the Chair of IPCC Working Group 2 (the part of the Panel that looks at impacts). I was one of three other authors, and wrote the part of the report covering policy responses.