Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Six Things We Know

One of the articles in the August 2 issue of Science that I wrote about earlier (Wheeler, Tim, and Joachim von Braun. “Climate change impacts on global food security.” Science 341: 508-513 (2013)) did end up with a list of six things we know that will happen to global food security as a result of global warming. This is concise and direct enough it could be put on little cards that could be distributed to Congressional representatives who would then ignore them. I wish to quote directly from the Science article here (page 512):

1. Climate change impacts on food security will be worst in countries already suffering high levels of hunger and will worsen over time.

2. The consequences for global undernutrition and malnutrition of doing nothing in response to climate change are potentially large and will increase over time.

3. Food inequalities will increase, from local to global levels, because the degree of climate change and the extent of its effects on people will differ from one part of the world to another, from one community to the next, and between rural and urban areas.

4. People and communities who are vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather now will become more vulnerable in the future and less resilient to climate shocks.

5. There is a commitment to climate change of 20 to 30 years into the future as a result of past emissions of greenhouse gases that necessitates immediate adaptation actions to address global food insecurity over the next two to three decades.

6. Extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent in the future and will increase risks and uncertainties within the global food system.

These nearly certain consequences of global warming are of interest not only to scientists but to everyone (and this should include religious people) who claims to care about what happens to people around the world. Do you care about people starving in Africa? If so, get ready: There will be more Africans starving as a result of carbon emissions to which they contribute very very very little. The full text articles are available only to subscribers, but I suspect the staff of Science will not be too upset if you copy and distribute the above six points (with appropriate attribution) to others.

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