The United Nations (UN) has hired you as a consultant, and your task is to assess the impact that global warming is expected to have on population growth and the ability of societies in the developing world to ensure the adequate security of their food supplies.
As the world’s population nears 10 billion by 2050, the effects of global warming are stripping some natural resources from the environment. As they diminish in number, developing countries will face mounting obstacles to improving the livelihoods of their citizens and stabilizing their access to enough food. The reason these governments are struggling even now is that our climate influences their economic health and the consequent diminishing living standards of their people. Climate changes are responsible for the current loss of biodiversity as well as the physical access to some critical farming regions. As such, these changes in global weather patterns diminish agricultural output and the distribution of food to local and international markets. These difficulties will become even more significant for these countries as the Earth’s climate changes for the worse. Temperatures are already increasing incrementally, and polar ice caps are melting, so the salient question is: what does this suggest for developing societies?The issue before the developing world is not its lack of food, but rather how to gain access to food. Simply put, changes in our climate are affecting the global food chain, and hence, the living standards of entire populations. Added to this is the fact that food is not getting to where it is needed in time to prevent hunger or starvation. In many developing countries, shortages are due to governments’ control over distribution networks rather than an insufficient supply of food itself. In effect, these governments are weaponizing food by favoring certain ethnic or religious groups over others. When added to the dramatic climate changes that we are experiencing even now, the future for billions of poor people looks increasingly dim.
- Climate change and global warming are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same phenomenon. What are the differences between the two concepts and what leads to the confusion between them?
- In 1900, the average global temperature was about 13.7° Celsius (56.7° Fahrenheit) (Osborn, 2021), but as of 2020, the temperature has risen another 1.2°C to 14.9°C (58.9°F). According to the Earth and climate science community, if the Earth’s surface temperature rises another 2°C (3.6°F), we will suffer catastrophic weather patterns that, among other things, will raise sea levels, cause widespread droughts and wildfires, result in plant, insect, and animal extinctions, and reduce agricultural productivity throughout the world (Mastroianni, 2015 and Lindsey & Dahlman, 2020). How much credibility do you place in these projections? Why?
- There is no question that the Earth’s food sources are threatened by changes in its weather patterns, but what specific challenges does climate change pose to the food security of people in the developing world?
- There is currently a debate among some multinational lending agencies like the International Monetary Fund, UNICEF, and AID over the financial support for food security that has been misused by recipient government officials. On the other hand, U.S. authorities insist that misuse of its assistance is not occurring because it has strict monitoring oversight in place. What is your position on this matter? Is there evidence that financial assistance to developing governments is being widely misused by government officials?
- Evaluate the impacts that climate changes are having on the growth of global populations and the security of their food sources.
Liz Osborn. 2021. History of Changes in the Earth's Temperature. https://www.currentresults.com/Environment-Facts/changes-in-earth-temperature.phpBrian Mastroianni. 2015. Why 2 degrees are so important. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/paris-un-climate-talks-why-2-degrees-are-so-important