Oxfam Report Says World Unprepared for Threats from Warmer Climate

By Chisaki Watanabe | March 25, 2014

The world is “woefully unprepared” for the threat to food security from drought and flooding brought on by a warming climate, the development charity Oxfam said.

In addition to extreme weather patterns, more marginal shifts such as small increases in temperature and changes in rainfall patterns are already harming food production, Oxford, England-based Oxfam said in a report.

“Climate change is the biggest threat to our chances of winning the fight against hunger,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement. “It could have grave consequences for what we all eat but the world is woefully under prepared for it.”

The Oxfam study was released as climate officials gather today in Yokohama, Japan, to wrap up the second part of a report for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN document, to be published March 31, is expected to say that climate change will lead to declines in global agricultural yields of as much as 2 percent each decade as food demand increases by 14 percent per decade, Oxfam said. The charity estimates world cereal prices could double by 2030 with half of the increase linked to climate change.

Existing Policies

“We policy makers must recognize that our existing policies for addressing climate change are reaching their limits, so those strategies must be changed,” Japan’s Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said at the opening ceremony of the climate panel. He said the report being compiled by the panel was expected to “lead to progress in climate change for all of the world.”

Developing countries surveyed received on average 2 percent of the financial aid they need, Oxfam also said. The group studied the gap between how much poor countries required to adapt to climate change and how much they received from the $30 billion of fast-start funding from rich nations between 2010 and 2012.

Gaps exist between what governments are doing and what needs to be done to protect food systems in areas such as crop insurance and weather forecasting, according to the Oxfam report.

–With assistance from Peter Langan in Tokyo.

 

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