Map showing Food insecurity and climate change

How food security is affected by global warming

What happens with food security in developing countries if climate change is rapidly accelerating? Is there any chance to decrease hunger if we adapt our societies to new climate conditions?

That’s been researched for five years by experts from the UN World Food Programme, in collaboration with British Met Office Hadley Centre’s climate scientists. As a result, they have created a Food insecurity and Climate Change index, which is a measure of how vulnerable to disruption a country’s food system is as a result of flood and drought events. An interactive map lets you explore how different emissions of global greenhouse gas impact food security in developing and least-developed countries. And how adapting to climate change can make a difference.

For example, with high degrees of emissions and no adaptation, large parts of Africa and southern Asia would become vulnerable to food insecurity by 2050 and at a very high risk 30 years later. Millions of people could be pushed into hunger and malnutrition. In this scenario a country like Venezuela is predicted to have an increased vulnerability with up to 118 percent compared to present day.

“Hopeful future depending on the choices we make”

On the other hand, if the emissions are low and there’s a high level of adaption to climate change, the situation can be improved in many areas. In Niger, a poor and hunger-stricken country, food insecurity has a chance to decrease by 21 percent in 2080, according to the index.

Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director said in a press release, “This map paints a stark picture of how climate disasters drive hunger. This research also reveals a more hopeful future depending on the choices we make – we must help vulnerable people adapt and build their resilience to climate change, while also investing in a low carbon future.”

Climate events like droughts, hurricanes and flooding affect vulnerable people disproportionately and increase hunger by destroying land, livestock, crops and food supplies. They also make it harder for people to access food markets.

Photograph: The interactive food insecurity map is created by The Met Office Hadley Centre, UK, and WFP.