Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

UN report: climate change could cause global famine

According to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that focuses on the interaction between climate change, desertification and food security, if present land use habits are maintained, the planet’s capacity to produce food will drop drastically.

Yield reductions caused by climate change are already an acute problem for a number of countries. According to the IPCC report, about half a billion people live in areas currently undergoing desertification, and approximately one tenth of the planet’s population are undernourished. Famine leads to social tension and may catalyse waves of migration.

Desertification threatens huge areas
on most continents, from Africa through Asia and America to the Mediterranean region.

According to the report, the degradation of fertile land is proceeding a hundred times faster than its regeneration – and along with human activities, the weather anomalies caused by climate change are also destroying soil.

At present, 72 percent of the planet’s land area is suitable for human habitation. Food production is responsible for 21–37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in many instances the forests that could store carbon are being cleared to use land for food production. The report recommends switching to less environmentally damaging forms of farming instead of industrial food production in order to improve the situation, and it also emphasises the importance of planting forests.

“This is a perfect storm. Limited land,
an expanding human population, and
all wrapped in a suffocating blanket of climate emergency. Earth has never felt smaller, its natural ecosystems never under such direct threat,”

said Dave Reay, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, who was an expert reviewer of the report.

Increasing desertification can cause not only famine, but also social tension and migration Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: The Guardian

One of the driest and warmest summers in Germany

This year’s was the third hottest summer in Germany since the beginning of regular meteorological records in 1881, according to preliminary data from the Federal Meteorological Service.

Sad pictures of a lake that disappears in Chile

In 2011, Laguna de Aculeo, one of the country’s favourite bathing resorts, still covered 12 square kilometres, and the lake was 6 metres deep – but since then, it has completely dried out.

One billion tonnes of carbon dioxide released into the air in Africa

The problem of the water shortages caused by global warming is much more complex than we have thought. In some parts of Africa, people not only need to face thirst but also the fact that the regions impacted by drought emit a quantity of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions of two hundred million cars each year.

European Union aid for drought-stricken Africa

The EU is contributing a further 50 million euro to alleviate drought damage in a number of Eastern and Central African countries. According to estimates, more than 4 million children and about 3 million pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are undernourished in the region.

Seventeen countries suffer critical water shortages

According to a report from the World Resources Institute, 17 countries are facing extremely high water stress, from India through Israel to Botswana. Many of the countries in question – which, collectively, are home to a quarter of the world’s population – are in the Middle East and North Africa.

Zimbabwe hit by power outages due to drought

Drought in the South African country that largely relies on hydroelectric power is causing not only shortages of drinking water but also power outages of up to 16 hours a day in the capital.

The endangered Nile

The water yield of the River Nile is becoming increasingly erratic as a result of climate change, which may have very grave consequences for Egypt.

India among the countries worst affected by global warming

Unprecedented droughts, heat waves claiming more than a hundred lives: the summer of 2019 has made it clear for the whole world that India is in big trouble. How will climate change shape the future of the country?

Are Europe's rivers also at the risk of running dry?

Climate change is increasingly making itself felt in Europe, too: flash floods, heat waves, droughts and forest fires are on the rise on the continent.

Water shortages: Spain and Morocco to follow India?

Water shortages represent one of the most severe consequences of global warming, impacting growing numbers of people. In 2018, the Cape Town water crisis made global news. This year so far, the situation is the worst in India: millions are struggling to get water day after day.