CGIAR reveals future climate hot spots

A new study has revealed that hundreds of millions of people living in food-insecure regions face future problems as climate change makes an impact.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has identified areas where food supplies could be worst hit by climate change. These “hotspots” are located in Africa and South Asia, but may also be in China and Latin America as well.

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In fewer than 40 years, CGIAR predicts, the prospect of shorter, hotter or drier growing seasons could imperil hundreds of millions of already-impoverished people. In the map above, the red areas are food-insecure regions that are highly exposed to a potential five percent or greater reduction in the length of the growing season.

Polly Ericksen, a senior scientist at the CGIAR’s International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya and the study’s lead author, said,

These are areas highly exposed to climate shifts, where survival is strongly linked to the fate of regional crop and livestock yields, and where chronic food problems indicate that farmers are already struggling and they lack the capacity to adapt to new weather patterns.

This report is the first of CCAFS’s to use global climate models to pinpoint regions most affected by rising temperatures. The researchers identified where populations are suffering food shortages, and then used data from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to locate which of these food-insecure regions were most likely to experience the greatest shifts in temperature and precipitation.

The findings give a picture of where the most vulnerable populations are, to be able to prioritise areas for adaptation projects.

Patti Kristjanson, a research theme leader at CCAFS said,

We are starting to see much more clearly where the effect of climate change on agriculture could intensify hunger and poverty, but only if we fail to pursue appropriate adaptation strategies.

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