“Global food system faces threats from climate change,” is a report from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and was issued at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP21). The report warns that exceedingly warmer temperatures and altered patterns of precipitation can threaten food production, distribution efforts, degrade food safety, as well as have other impacts. As a result, international progress in the past few decades toward improving food security will be difficult to maintain. The report was led by the US Department of Agriculture. It included contributors from nineteen federal, academic, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations in the United States, Argentina, Britain, and Thailand. This is a critically important news story of 2015 that will impact all populations around the world. However, some will be affected in worse ways than others, particularly tropical and subtropical regions.
The NCAR report also focused on identifying the role of climate change on global food security through 2100, and also offered steps to be taken to reduce food system vulnerability. NCAR scientist Claudia Tebaldi, a co-author of the report states that, “If society continues on a path of high emissions of greenhouse gases, there is no way around the fact that climate change is going to be a primary challenge for producing and distributing food.” The causes and coming effects of climate change have been a topic of debate but more and more scientific reports are coming forth to warn about their anthropogenic reality and significant long term consequences that will warrant major energy and environmental policy shifts from the most industrialized nations. Leading nations will have to spark the change, however. The US has not acted as expeditiously as it could nor have other major nations like China and India. Oil companies, like Exxon Mobil and others, are also obstacles to energy policy changes as they stand to lose the most when it comes to modifying our environmental habits and behaviors.
Since this report was only recently released, media coverage may still be limited, but due to the significance of the message, it warrants far greater attention from all media outlets. Mostly addressing this particular story have been science and environmental sites and online publications. However, so-called mainstream coverage has been minimal and left mostly to online articles that do not go into detail of the topic at hand. More interestingly, while this is a newer report, it is not a new theme. This is a topic that has been increasingly known about for years, but has since seen little follow up coverage. This story should be one the focal points of every major media outlet.
UCAR, “Global food system faces threats from climate change,” AtmosNews, Dec 1, 2015, https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/18185/global-food-system-faces-multiple-threats-climate-change
Student Researcher: Federico De La Cruz (Diablo Valley College)
Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)