Global Hunger Continues to Grow Driven By Climate Change

(edited)

According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), climate change is having a negative effect on global agriculture and is driving up the number of hungry people around the world. 821 million people, one in every nine, were malnourished in 2017, up from 815 million in 2016, putting at risk the UN's goal of eradicating hunger in the world by 2030.

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Edited by Sofia
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This is an interesting graph, however it's not looking promising. 3 consecutive years uptrend.

 I'm sure we could have eradicated world hunger a long time ago if it wasn't all about profits. 

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Climate change is to blame? Not population growth?

World population 2016 = 7.442 billion. 815 million malnourished = 10.9%

World population 2017 = 7.550 billion  821 million malnourished = 10.8%

 

 

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Lets not forget about wars. They hit farmers especially hard, evicting them from their lands, destroying corps. Many conflicts happened to take place in rural area characterized by smallholder agriculture. 

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2 hours ago, CMOP said:

I'm sure we could have eradicated world hunger a long time ago if it wasn't all about profits. 

Whenever one speaks about profits, it is important to specify which type profits:  

Monopolistic profits will starve people to increase shareholder wealth.

Free market capitalistic profits feed people to increase shareholder wealth.

...and that is an important difference.

In 1866, a famine struck India.  The East India Company had a monopoly on food exports in the area, and so it was more profitable for them to export food from India than it was to sell that food to the starving Indians.  As a result, 200 million pounds of rice was exported from India during the famine while millions of Indians were dying of starvation.  Had free market conditions prevailed, the starving Indians would have paid a higher price to keep that food local instead of exporting it.  Unfortunately, monopolies create economic imbalances, and people die because of it.   

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@Epic you bring up a really good point. Thanks for making the distinct difference between the two. 

Unfortunately, most of the world's hunger come from said monopolistic profits. 

My family exports tomatoes, cucumbers, etc to the United States - the best vegetables are sent to the USA while the not so good looking vegetables stay in Mexico. Not saying this touches on the World Hunger Topic - but it just goes to show - demand for better quality will always prevail even if that means giving a lesser product to your own country. 

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8 hours ago, Stormysaga said:

Lets not forget about wars. They hit farmers especially hard, evicting them from their lands, destroying corps. Many conflicts happened to take place in rural area characterized by smallholder agriculture. 

Good point. I'm reminded of a theory that climate change actually causes wars by affecting arable land negatively, reducing crops, driving farmers into cities until there is an oversaturation on the labor market, unemployment rises, disgruntlement ensues, enter radicalization and voila, you've got a war in the making. 

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7 hours ago, CMOP said:

@Epic you bring up a really good point. Thanks for making the distinct difference between the two. 

Unfortunately, most of the world's hunger come from said monopolistic profits. 

My family exports tomatoes, cucumbers, etc to the United States - the best vegetables are sent to the USA while the not so good looking vegetables stay in Mexico. Not saying this touches on the World Hunger Topic - but it just goes to show - demand for better quality will always prevail even if that means giving a lesser product to your own country. 

Same when I was young, all the good veal from Austria went to Italy for their scallopine and we had to eat the tough stuff...

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9 hours ago, Robert Ziegler said:

Same when I was young, all the good veal from Austria went to Italy for their scallopine and we had to eat the tough stuff...

😞 veal is so delicious - i can't imagine veal being tough :/

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On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 3:58 AM, Sofia said:

climate change is having a negative effect on global agriculture and is driving up the number of hungry people around the world. 821 million people, one in every nine, were malnourished in 2017, up from 815 million in 2016

Sophie - for heaven sake there is no need to invent propaganda. I looked at the report, you quoted. Mostly it talks about what will happen and that we have to free up world trade, but it says the increase is due to "conflict - increasingly compounded by climate change - as one of the key drivers behind the resurgence of hunger and many forms of malnutrition". In other words human conflict in various parts of the world. Now go back and look at the graph you cite. See that there was a major decline for a whole decade despite whatever effect climate change may be having, and the actual uptick (if you ignore the projected figures) is still slight. In other words, mention of climate change got thrown into the mix as that's what the commentariat would expect.. The mosr immediate effect would be conflict. If you go back further with the graph, malnorishment has been falling for more than a decade, I'm pretty sure, mainly due to both China and India dumping parts of their socialist ideology.

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The prevailing view currently is that greenhouse gases, predominantly CO2, are increasing the world's temperature due to trapping heat and is therefore the reason for global warming. CO2 is produced in everything humans do, every breath you take converts O2 to CO2 the food you eat all involves CO2 being produced in some way from transportation to in the case of animals actually breathing and eating CO consuming plants. All electricity requires CO2, cables to transport it, substations, power stations, windmills, solar panels all require CO to be generated in production or use. All the things you use day to day has a carbon footprint. So the obvious conclusion is that more humans on the earth will consume more CO2 regardless of what you do to reduce production of this gas. So saying there is an increase in starvation due to increasing global warming should be celebrated for cutting the population and thus reducing global warming. Having an increasing world population is not sustainable even if we stopped producing everything and ate grass we would still eventually cause global warming due to increased population eating the CO producing plants and generating CO2 by breathing.
Too much effort worldwide is being directed at cutting greenhouse gasses without anyone pointing out the fundamental problem there are too many of us for this living environment.

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13 hours ago, jaycee said:

Having an increasing world population is not sustainable even if we stopped producing everything and ate grass we would still eventually cause global warming due to increased population eating the CO producing plants and generating CO2 by breathing.
Too much effort worldwide is being directed at cutting greenhouse gasses without anyone pointing out the fundamental problem there are too many of us for this living environment.

While I agree that the main problem is that we are too many people on the earth your analysis is not entirely correct.

The main problem is that we are digging up greenhouse gases which were trapped beneath the earth's crust (fossil fuels) and adding them to our atmosphere. This is not the same thing as releasing CO2 by eating grass, because that CO2 was already in our atmosphere to begin with.

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(edited)

6 hours ago, Ivan Lapitski said:

This is not the same thing as releasing CO2 by eating grass, because that CO2 was already in our atmosphere to begin with.

I was not suggesting eating grass releases CO2 but eating it prevents it from removing it from the atmosphere. Also I was not suggesting we eat grass but was suggesting no matter what we do we produce CO2 and was using it as an extreme example.

I am not sure that I agree that digging up fossil fuels is the only way we produce CO2. How do you conclude that we do not breath in O2 and emit CO2? Not as serious as burning fossil fuel but if there we keep growing populations it will add up so eventually we cannot  save the earth by stopping using fossil fuels.

Edited by jaycee

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3 hours ago, jaycee said:

I am not sure that I agree that digging up fossil fuels is the only way we produce CO2. How do you conclude that we do not breath in O2 and emit CO2? Not as serious as burning fossil fuel but if there we keep growing populations it will add up so eventually we cannot  save the earth by stopping using fossil fuels.

Carbon dioxide has a cycle. Plants capture CO2 in the atmosphere when they grow, for this sunlight is needed. Eventually animals/humans eat/burn those plants and the trapped CO2 gets released in the atmosphere again, eventually that CO2 is again captured by a new plant. And like this it continues. Basically this means the same CO2 moves around between being in plants, animals/humans and the atmosphere. A closed cycle (simplified explanation).

When we dig up fossil fuels and burn them we are rapidly adding CO2 to our atmosphere that has been stored in the ground for millions of years, which creates a disturbance in the cycle.

So yes, everything we do creates/releases CO2 and this is okay as long as that CO2 doesn't come from fossil fuels, hope this explanation is a bit clearer.

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Unfortunately, this discussion is not taking into account certain irreducible physical/chemical principles.

First, notwithstanding the hyperbole of the professional alarmists, CO2 is not a "greenhouse gas." CO2 is a trace gas in the atmosphere, measured in parts per million, not like say nitrogen which is measured in parts per hundred.  The concentration of CO2 is roughly the same as that of argon.  You don't hear of some argon crisis, now do you?  And the reason is that trace gases by their concentration have effectively zero effect on anything - they are trace.

Second,be happy the globe is slightly warming.  The longer-term trend for the planet is ominous - the planet will continue to cool.  Without some warming from true greenhouses gases, specifically the release of methane, the next ice age would likely already have begun.  That implies a sheet of ice a mile thick inexorably advancing down from the North Pole, swallowing up Canada and the first 350 miles of the USA, including the Great Lakes, crushing all of New York, and wiping out Midwestern farms down to Kansas. That is a rather unpleasant prospect. 

You would also lose all of Scandinavia, the top half of Russia, Britain, and the tops of France, Germany, all of the Baltic frozen solid and with another mile of ice on top - you get the picture. 

Even with a stable temp, you would now be in another "little ice age," those hit roughly every 187 years, and there would be a "year without Summer," with widespread crop failures in Canada and the Northern USA, also Ireland, the UK, Finland, probably parts of Poland.  You really don't want to go there. 

These folks that gather in Paris and pontificate about halting global warming have no clue.  What they are advocating is advancing a cooling planet.  That is inevitable, unfortunately.  Hopefully in another 400 years the earth's population will have dramatically shrunk through major drops in fecundity in Asia and Africa, and the reduced population can accommodate the next ice age and drop in farming. You will also need a new monetary system to accommodate entire countries disappearing underneath the next massive ice sheet.  

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On 9/18/2018 at 2:30 PM, CMOP said:

This is an interesting graph, however it's not looking promising. 3 consecutive years uptrend.

 I'm sure we could have eradicated world hunger a long time ago if it wasn't all about profits. 

I think what the study is saying is that there have been some major gains in terms of eradicating hunger, but climate change is now undoing those gains. Especially in Asia, which doesn't have the worst numbers but which the study points out as one area in which gains were noticeable and now starting to reverse. 

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(edited)

I would make a further observation to the general statement that there are increases in absolute terms to hunger. 

One factor that remains undiscussed, but is very much lurking in the shadows, is changes in rainfall and rainfall patters.  In some places these shifts are ominous. 

Specifically, I point to Spain.  The central plateau of Spain has seen its rainfall drop by over 50% in the last ten years.  The immediate result is insufficient water to sustain traditional crops, including peaches.  It is now so bad that peach farmers are taking out their chainsaws and cutting down every second tree, these in groves of mature peach trees of 20 years, and cutting them up for firewood.  The reasoning is that by sacrificing 50% of the mature trees (and not planting any new ones) the demand on available groundwater will drop to the point where at least the remaining trees have a shot at survival and bringing in a crop.  By any standard, this is a drastic remedy. 

The continued diversion of what little water remains into the coastal cities of the Costa del Sol, in order to provide water for the tourist hotels that support the Spanish economy, comes at the price of desertification of a vast area of the central plateau.  Once the water disappears and the water table sinks to oblivion, then the land will simply blow away, in dust-storms.  The net result of that will be rock desert, barren of any growth and unable to regenerate, ever. 

The logical solution is the construction of nuclear plants along the coast, to desalinate vast volumes of water and pump it inland, to serves both to replenish the groundwater and to irrigate the crops and orchards.  Unfortunately, Spain has a currency crisis, largely caused by its joining the Euro-zone, which prevents Spain from devaluing to maintain competitiveness and support its own capital markets.  So Spain sinks away under the problems of a frozen monetary policy, set by Germany, and lack of capital to finance de-watering and irrigation projects.  Spain will very rapidly convert into a vast desert, and the mass displacement of the population therein. 

Ironically, the peoples of the Sahara, including Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, that are migrating into Europe, together with the migrants from sub-Sahara Africa into Spain, who sought farm-labor jobs, will now be further displaced into France, a country already burdened with large numbers of migrants and both unable and unwilling to accept more.  That will lead to an explosive environment, with racial clashes, suicide truck bombers, gunfights with police, all the malaise of societal conflicts.  It is going to get worse. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
"racial classes" to "racial clashes"
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11 hours ago, TraderTate said:

I think what the study is saying is that there have been some major gains in terms of eradicating hunger, but climate change is now undoing those gains. Especially in Asia, which doesn't have the worst numbers but which the study points out as one area in which gains were noticeable and now starting to reverse. 

Its not really a study. There's been an uptick in hunger and the statement points to a couple of possible causes of which conflict would be by far and away the most important. The graph at the start actually shows a long, steady decline in hunger/malnutrition, supposedly while climate change is raging. To then blame the uptick on climate change does not make a lot of sense, especially when you can readily point to plenty of conflicts. At the very least the assertion would require more proof.   

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(edited)

19 hours ago, Ivan Lapitski said:

Carbon dioxide has a cycle. Plants capture CO2 in the atmosphere when they grow, for this sunlight is needed. Eventually animals/humans eat/burn those plants and the trapped CO2 gets released in the atmosphere again, eventually that CO2 is again captured by a new plant. And like this it continues. Basically this means the same CO2 moves around between being in plants, animals/humans and the atmosphere. A closed cycle (simplified explanation).

When we dig up fossil fuels and burn them we are rapidly adding CO2 to our atmosphere that has been stored in the ground for millions of years, which creates a disturbance in the cycle.

So yes, everything we do creates/releases CO2 and this is okay as long as that CO2 doesn't come from fossil fuels, hope this explanation is a bit clearer.

I don’t think the age of the trees we burn makes a whole lot of difference 5 million or 50 year old trees produce CO2 when burnt. If we replaced global coal/oil burning with tree burning the earth would be devoid or trees pretty rapidly as burn rates would be faster than grow rates. I suggest the problem is the size of energy demand due to too large a population is the problem not the age of the carbon burnt.

Edited by jaycee

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2 hours ago, jaycee said:

I don’t think the age of the trees we burn makes a whole lot of difference 5 million or 50 year old trees produce CO2 when burnt. If we replaced global coal/oil burning with tree burning the earth would be devoid or trees pretty rapidly as burn rates would be faster than grow rates. I suggest the problem is the size of energy demand due to too large a population is the problem not the age of the carbon burnt.

There is a difference between adding CO2 that is not in the system (buried beneath the ground) and CO2 that is in the system. I agree that with the current world population sustainability is impossible.

The sole reason we have the large population that we have is because of fossil fuels.  When we stop using fossil fuels (when the energy needed to extract them is larger than what they provide) the population on earth will shrink because there won't be enough food to feed everyone.

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(edited)

3 hours ago, Ivan Lapitski said:

There is a difference between adding CO2 that is not in the system (buried beneath the ground) and CO2 that is in the system. I agree that with the current world population sustainability is impossible.

But I don't see how burning a tree that is just been cut contributes any more carbon than a coal one from a long time ago. If we don't cut down the living tree and burn coal we still have a carbon extractor working and the energy provided from the burning whereas cutting and burning the tree we have lost a carbon extractor and reintroduced a similar amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Sorry not getting your point.

The quantity of CO2 in the world's atmosphere has varied long before man appeared it is not a fixed number in a cyclic system as you suggest.

.http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

Edited by jaycee
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8 hours ago, jaycee said:

But I don't see how burning a tree that is just been cut contributes any more carbon than a coal one from a long time ago. If we don't cut down the living tree and burn coal we still have a carbon extractor working and the energy provided from the burning whereas cutting and burning the tree we have lost a carbon extractor and reintroduced a similar amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Sorry not getting your point.

The quantity of CO2 in the world's atmosphere has varied long before man appeared it is not a fixed number in a cyclic system as you suggest.

.http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-last-time-co2-was-this-high-humans-didnt-exist-15938

The forest is basically a carbon dioxide storage, If you burn one tree you release the CO2 of that tree and over 50 years time a new tree grows on the same spot once again capturing the same CO2.

If we would instead burn fossil fuels, we need to add a new tree since the other trees are already busy absorbing CO2 that already existed in the atmosphere. (The forest is limited in the amount of CO2 it can absorb)

So when we are burning fossil fuels we are increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

When we burn biofuels/trees we are temporarily increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, this CO2 is however slowly absorbed by the plant that grows in the burnt plant's place. We lost what you call the "carbon extractor" but only temporarily.

My explanation of the carbon dioxide cycle is greatly simplified for explanatory purpose. It's not a closed system, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere vary naturally as you say, however it happens over a long period of time.

The difference now is the rate of change is happening very fast, see the picture below.

emm1.jpg

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43 minutes ago, Ivan Lapitski said:

The forest is basically a carbon dioxide storage, If you burn one tree you release the CO2 of that tree and over 50 years time a new tree grows on the same spot once again capturing the same CO2.

If we would instead burn fossil fuels, we need to add a new tree since the other trees are already busy absorbing CO2 that already existed in the atmosphere. (The forest is limited in the amount of CO2 it can absorb)

So when we are burning fossil fuels we are increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

When we burn biofuels/trees we are temporarily increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, this CO2 is however slowly absorbed by the plant that grows in the burnt plant's place. We lost what you call the "carbon extractor" but only temporarily.

My explanation of the carbon dioxide cycle is greatly simplified for explanatory purpose. It's not a closed system, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere vary naturally as you say, however it happens over a long period of time.

The difference now is the rate of change is happening very fast, see the picture below.

emm1.jpg

In a hurry just now but if you care to look up a chart of human population growth you will see it bares a strong resemblance to your chart of human carbon emissions as I said it’s the number of humans that’s the problem.

Regards the trees, chopping down a tree and burning it is therefore the way to go you suggest? If so the average time to regrow a tree varies but on average I am guessing 20 years I don’t think we can grow enough trees to manage our energy needs for population size. https://www.quora.com/How-long-does-it-take-for-a-tree-to-mature

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CO2 is not a real problem. Vegetative growth increases greatly with the increase of C02. Vegetation creates more food and more fuel. You can harvest trees in many ways and actually increase the quality and density of the world's forests. We actually just need to use natural gas, solar, wind, etc until other safe technology proves itself. We have many decades to do that. 

Malnutrition has always been a worldwide problem. Actually, the biggest form of malnutrition is obesity. Few people actually die of hunger unless they are prevented from getting food or food relief due to terrorism creating unsafe conditions for relief workers or stealing the food to kill a group of people or sell it. 

The United States has a record crop of corn and soybeans this year. Weather conditions were nearly perfect. The price for that food will be at a near record low due to lack of demand for our farmer's products. 

Food for an increasing population is not a problem. Vegetarianism increase would allow three times the current population. The problem is where the population lives. They crowd themselves into cities to live a sometimes unsustainable lifestyle. Better urban planning (that is not really urban) could solve the problem.

Global Warming and Climate Change https://docs.google.com/document/d/1B7YYeQTmESPhjlS_dj4zMTxWOiJhmLjxN1I_1NJcJFY/edit 

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1 hour ago, ronwagn said:

Food for an increasing population is not a problem. Vegetarianism increase would allow three times the current population. The problem is where the population lives. They crowd themselves into cities to live a sometimes unsustainable lifestyle. Better urban planning (that is not really urban) could solve the problem.

Fortunately, except for India and swaths of Africa and a few places in Central America, the fecundity rates are below the replacement rate, and populations are declining, in some cases dramatically so.  All of Europe and Russia is below replacement, and will dwindle to about 1/3 current populations in the next 75 years absent in-migration.  China appears to be shrinking, rapidly aging population consequent to their one-child policy of decades ago, with the result that young men have no prospects for wives, thus will not reproduce, absent importation of fecund women from other Asian countries such as Vietnam. 

Male celibacy, incidentally, is the historical norm in several countries.  Prior to the advance of birth-control methodology allowing for sex for recreation, not merely procreation, perhaps one-third of Britain's male population were in a state of enforced celibacy.  The driver of that abstinence was lack of money, with the women that survived  (enough died in childbirth to keep the supply of women low and excess males in the population) seeking out men with money.  Those without, went without.  Of that group, lots joined the army and the navy, perfectly respectable albeit celibate careers. 

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